Saturday, January 19, 2013

OH MEGAERA! -- WHAT SCARED ME


Contrary to the 1964 Hammer Film's title, THE GORGON, the monster named Magaera (a.k.a. Megara), who menaces Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in the movie, is more accurately known as one  of the "Furies" from Greek Mythology.

The most famous of the gorgons (which means "dreadful") of course, was Medusa; the other two were Stheno and Euryale. Magaera, on the other hand, means "the jealous one", and was aptly named for her role in the Hammer film. Never letting a man out of her sight (pun half-intended), she made sure anyone gazing at her horrifying visage was turned to stone. Even one of the men, who was able to avert his gaze after looking at Mageura only for an instant, eventually found himself literally cracking up.


Publicity still from Hammer's THE GORGON (1964).

Detail of a reference shot taken for make-up artist Roy Ashton.


After watching this movie on TV for the first time, this impressionable young Monster Kid, was properly creeped out by the ugly hag with snakes for hair, made quite terrifyingly real by make-up wizard Roy Ashton. The grotesque incongruity of female-gone-ugly and frightful image was enough to send the hairs on the back of my neck standing up!

You may like to know that I reconciled myself with THE GORGON after another couple of viewings years later, and it has since become one of my favorite Hammer horrors. Ironic, ain't it?

A publicity still from THE GORGON.

The film was featured in CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN #6.


3 comments:

Dick said...

Man, I love that great "reference" still. This is one of my great childhood monster memories also (along with that close-up of Herbert Lom's eye in the opening credits of Hammer's Phantom of the Opera). Great post.

Wobble The Witch Cat said...

I have always been fascinated by the make up. for The Gorgon although amazingly I have never seen the movie itself! I loved the Hammer version of The Phantom of The Opera with Herbert Lom and I remember the striking score by Edwin Astley for Phantom which I recorded on a reel to reel tape recorder and used to play over and over!

Steve Iverson said...

Man, this brought back memories. I saw this movie, late at night, on Horror Incorporated in Minneapolis when I was a kid. It scared the hell out of me. I've seen it since, and can't really know why it scared me so much as a kid. It must have been the suspense and anticipation of what would come next. This movie was really an eye opener for a kid in that it did not feature the "classic" monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. I think it is a bit of an overlooked classic.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...