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GARGOYLES ($25) is amongst the rarest of all horror classics- one that actually originated on television. I saw this movie when it first air on TV in 1972 and instantly fell in love with the monsters. Hey, I've watched it every chance I got over the last 25 years. GARGOYLES stars Cornel Wilde as anthropologist Mercer Boley. Boley pays a visit to a desert tourist trap after receiving an innovation from its proprietor. It seems that the old man found an unusual skeleton in the desert, which he thinks, would interest the scientist. At first, Boley is convinced that the skeleton is a hoax that the old man cobbled together from the bones of a man and various animals.

However, as the sun goes down, the tourist trap comes under attack by parties unknown. A fire breaks out and Boley only has time to salvage the skull before the raging inferno consumes the entire building. The following night, creatures resembling the skeleton are able to track down Boley and retrieve the skull. Using the legends of various cultures as his guide, Boley soon figures out that these creatures are gargoyles and that their latest generation has begun to hatch after a five hundred-year gestation period. Only after his daughter Diana (Jennifer Salt) is kidnapped by the Head Gargoyle (Bernie Casey) does Boley discover the demonic creatures' true intentions. The cast of GARGOYLES also includes Grayson Hall, Scott Glenn, William Stevens, John Gruber and Woody Chambliss. Other than being an entertaining horror outing, GARGOYLES is notable for the award winning special effects by Stan Winston, who later went on to JURASSIC PARK.

VCI Home Video has done a good job bringing GARGOYLES to DVD. GARGOYLES has been mastered from the longer European theatrical version of the film, which runs 74 minutes. The movie looks better than it has in syndication, with the DVD providing a clean, relatively sharp and detailed image. Color reproduction is a bit more vibrant that I remember seeing, although the image is never over-saturated. Flesh tones appear healthy and natural. Blacks are pretty solid, plus shadow detail is better than I expected from this 25-year-old made-for-television production. Digital compression artifacts are never distracting.

Although one would expect monaural sound from this type of production, the Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack decodes to Dolby Surround. Robert Prince's musical score gets most of the benefits of the Dolby remix, however there are a number of sound effects that have also been enhanced, which makes the presentation a lot more fun.

The interactive menus are basic, providing access to the standard scene selection feature, as well as cast biographies and coming attractions for upcoming VCI DVDs.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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