You know Medusa from mythology (or Clash of the titans)? Yeah, the snake haired woman that turns people to stone. So let’s say Medusa had a sister who was human at times and let’s say she was living in some European village full of frowning types who hated outsiders and fun. Okay that’s where this Hammer film is coming from. So we get a mythological monster plopped into a gothic setting. Young women are being turned to stone and then it happens to dudes too. This one poor sap Paul loses his brother and his daddy and then he comes to this village to see how al that happened. On top of that he falls for this pretty, but odd acting nurse Carla (Barbara Shelley). Odd enough to be…? Yeah, could be. Anyways Hammer regulars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are in this. Only this time around Cushing plays a doctor named Nameroff who is a real cold fish and a bit of a snake while Lee (under a shag wig and ridiculous mustache) is a professor by the name of Meister. Meister is friends with Paul, okey dokey so far. While in Gorgon land Paul views (or thinks he does) a gorgon or snake headed woman by way of reflection first in the water and then in a mirror. So it’s a like a double dose of second hand sightings of a beast that can turn you stone. So Paul doesn’t get turned to stone but he gets some grey hairs and some wrinkles. Hus buddy Meister shows up to help and tells him he looks like crap. Meanwhile Carla tells Paul she wants to get away from Nameroff even though he likes her. Paul plans to take Carla away, but Meister and everyone watching this films has already realized what Carla really is. Carla leaves Paul waiting, oh what a cold hearted woman or is something else behind this? Eventually Paul, Nameroff and Meister all descend on these old ruins. Paul and Nameroff battle but both catch site of old snakey head and boom they are both down. Meister being a professor uses a sword and a mirror to WHOP off the head of the gorgon and plunk it falls and poof hey Carla was the gorgon. Almost everyone is dead but hey roll the credits.
The negatives-The plot stretches things a bit and the pace can be slow.
The positives-The film looks pretty good for it’s small budget. The lighting, sets and costumes are all reasonably good. The film is also helped out by a very capable cast.
I first saw this on AMC on Halloween in the late 90’s and loved it and have ever since. It took a while to get a proper DVD release here in the states, but I watch it maybe twice a year at least.