***Top Television Horror Movies of the 1970’s***
The Gargoyles (1972)
Directed by Bill L. Norton
Can you say Stan Winston? This film is slow paced by today’s standards but I remember being scared when it had first aired on television. I was a youngster and the alpha gargoyle was quite convincing, due to the make-up effects of a young Stan Winston. Combine his incredible make-up work with a powerful voice put through a voice filter and you have a threatening character. The story is simplistic but I still find this watch-able once it get rolling. It has some PG violence which includes smashing through walls and doors, ripping car doors off their hinges and turning over a station wagon. It also uses slo-mo to make the gargoyle beasts seem to have unnatural movement. It is totally obvious but aesthetically pleasing. What I find interesting is similarities found in horror flicks which would follow; the early scene where the farmer has a skeleton in his barn/warehouse reminds me of Jeepers Creepers. Also, the beasts come alive every so-many years then go dormant for a long period. Another early scene has a gargoyle jump on the station wagon roof from behind in a scene filmed quite like a similar scene in Halloween. And, burning the lair of eggs reminded me of a similar scene in Aliens. Love for this film is probably more nostalgic than anything, but it does have cult horror flick status. I still enjoy watching it but I like all those 70’s horror flicks.
The entire film was shot with a single camera in 18 days.
Vic Perrin did a voice-over for the head gargoyle in post-production because they didn’t think Bernie Casey’s voice fit the character.
Bill Norton remained an active TV director to date directing episodes of Law and Order, Angel, Medium, The Guardian, and an episode each of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ghost Whisperer.
No doubt this film had some influence in a Halloween costume design I set up some years later:
Its a bit fuzzy but I got the horns and fangs, I’m carrying snakes, I have skulls hanging from my “wings”…lotsa’ fun stuff!