Plot: What’s it about?
When a salvage ship is shaken by an underground explosion, the crew has no idea what is about to surface. Instead of rock fragments, volatile waves, or even sharks, a massive sixty-five foot tall creature emerges and starts to rumble with the boat and its crew. But the creature seems to lose in that battle and it is taken back to London, where the crew hopes to sell it to some circus folk. Of course the circus people are more than happy to purchase the instant crowd drawer, but they have little idea of is on the way to reclaim that creature. As if the sixty-five foot version wasn’t enough, now the creature’s mother is en route and it stands at over two hundred feet in height. As she makes her way toward her child, anything that stands in her way is turned into rubble, including people. Before this is all over, Big Ben will be reduced to scrap and other monuments will be ruined also, which is A-OK by me. Can the mother creature rescue her small child, or will the nasty humans turn out to be the victors in this clash?
Call me crazy, but I love a movie with a guy inside a rubber reptile costume. I like some fancy special effects now and then of course, but sometimes I just need the giant rubber costume design to kick me into fun time. I mean you can tell that it’s just some guy in there, but it’s so cool and so much fun to watch. But then, I also understand not everyone likes this type of thing and as such, I won’t hold it against you if you despise this movie. But for those of you who love this type of camp cinema (and you know who you are!), then Gorgo is nothing less than required viewing material. Right alongside the Gamera flicks and some of the classic Godzilla adventures, this one is loads from fun from start to finish. All the elements we love can be found here with Gorgo smashing cities on a whim, excellent pops and explosions, and of course, screaming people running around in utter chaos (though no bad dub job is present here). In other words, run and I mean run to your local video store and demand a copy of this disc, as this is the best version of Gorgo we’ll see for some time to come.
Of course the real focus of this cinematic delight is the monster himself, Gorgo the magnificent. Ok so I made up the magnificent part, but he is one cool creature and he makes quite an impact in this film. Sure he might be a Godzilla clone, but so long as he does what we love to see, he is cool in my book. He stomps on cars and leaves them like pancakes, he smashes up office buildings, and sometimes he even squishes folks under his massive hamhock-like feet. He delivers each roar with passion and conviction, and he is the true star of this epic in the field of rubber suit monsters. Directing this monster movie classic is Eugene Lourie, who also helmed a few other pictures of this ilk. Lourie seems to handle the pressures of this style of film well and delivers all the good we fans love to see. Lourie also directed such films as The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, The Colossus Of New York, and Behemoth The Sea Monster, so genre fans will want to check those out too. The cast of the film includes Martin Benson (Angela’s Ashes), William Sylvester (Heaven Can Wait), Vincent Winter (The Dark Avengers), and Bill Travers (Counterspy).
Video: How does it look?
Gorgo is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This isn’t a pristine transfer to be sure, but I’ve never seen the movie in such fine form, so I won’t be too harsh in the end. You will see some grain, damage, and debris on the source print, but this is still much cleaner than previous editions have been. The colors seem bold, but natural and I found no instances of bleeding, while flesh tones looked warm and normal also. The contrast is sometimes a little too light (due to the grain), but on the whole it is well balanced and more than adequate. Some small compression flaws also surface, but again this is as good as Gorgo has ever looked on home video.
Audio: How does it sound?
I wish a full surround remix were used, but this track does a fine turn in replicating the audio too. I just think the destruction scenes could rock the speakers, but they still sound good in this mix. The effects won’t wake the folks upstairs, but they do come across loud and clear so no worries. The elements sound clean in this track and show little distortion, which is good for a track of this nature and age. I never had a problem with dialogue either, this is a very solid audio presentation.
Supplements: What are the extras?
You’ll find theatrical trailers for this and other VCI Home Video releases, as well as a couple other supplements. A ten minute behind the scenes featurette is included, which uses stills, clips from the film, and even some real behind the scenes footage to offer some insight into this production. I am pleased VCI went to the trouble of making this piece and hope to see more of the same on future releases. The final extra is a selection of still photos, which are nice but should be much larger in terms of screen size.