This is one of the most famous films of the 70’s wave of made-for-TV horror movies, although personally I can’t imagine why, since I’ve never been a big fan of this particular picture. The plot involves a writer/scientist and her daughter who are looking to write a book about weird supernatural phenomena. They get a call into the desert where a cooky old man is keeping the skeleton of what he calls a demon. Soon, these demons start popping up in their more ‘alive’ versions, and soon they start killing people and kidnapping the scientist’s daughter. It’s up to the scientist, the sheriff and a group of bikers to stop the gargoyles before the gargoyles reproduce more and start their war against humanity.
That would have been a great story, but sadly we are only previewed to the first part of the storyline. It’s a low-budget effort, and it shows. The acting is typical of Television at the time. Cornel Wilde and Jennifer Salt are neither very memorable as the two leads, and William Stephens isn’t very threatening as a gun-toting police officer. More interesting is Scott Glenn (Silence of the Lambs) as the biker/hippie stereotype. The best acting comes from the leader of the Gargoyles, played by Bernie Casey, but sadly his dialogue is so cheesy and distorted that you can’t really take him seriously.
The film’s directing of the typical sedate style that plagues many of these made-for-tv films, never really having any energy or life, although there are some intentionally funny moments, such as the Gargoyle Butt Slap (if you’ve seen it, you know what I mean). The film’s most famous characteristic was the fact that the makeup effects were done by Stan Winston, and for the most part they’re very good, although to be fair the monsters remind me of the Japanese kappa turtle monsters. So yes the film has historical importance, and I understand a lot of people love it, but this movie can’t compare itself to better TV horror movies like Salem’s Lot, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, The Night Stalker and Dark Night Of The Scarecrow. To me, this was neither frightening, nor motivating.