When I say “Gargoyles,” what probably comes to mind — at least if you’re a millennial of a certain age — is the animated TV series that aired on ABC through much of the ‘90s. But did you know there’s another Gargoyles, one with less production value and more out-and-out cheese?
God bless ‘70s made-for-TV movies.
When you’re doing a monster movie on a limited budget, some of the accepted mythology tends to go out the window. Take ‘70s lesbian vampire movies, where vamps frequently weren’t all that bothered by sunlight. Shooting at night is expensive, guys. And then there’s 1972’s Gargoyles, wherein the eponymous monsters A) live not on giant buildings, but in caves in the middle of the desert, and B) would rather jog around than fly. They’re not even made of stone!
Are they even gargoyles? No, not technically! Is the lead gargoyle played by football player-turned-actor Bernie Casey? Yes, he is! Does he slap another gargoyle on the ass at one point, locker-room style? You betcha. Why is that funny? It just is!
Gargoyles might not be good, per se, but it’s notable for being the very first screen credit of the late Stan Winston, a pioneer of visual and make-up effects whose indelible contribution to film history includes work on the Jurassic Park and Terminator films, Edward Scissorhands, The Monster Squad, Aliens, Predator, and many more. He did the gargoyles’ makeup, which looks pretty damn good considering Winston probably had a buck fifty and a box of half-used Q-Tips to work with.