Gargoyles aren’t just for curb appeal and for rain to goosh out of ornate cement orifices. They can also be the subject of hilariously goofy made-for-TV movies. Such is the case of Gargoyles, a 1972 horror “classic” that maintains its campy appeal to this very day.
The premise: An anthropologist/paleontologist and his bra-less daughter, travel through the southwestern US, stumble upon a colony of living, breathing gargoyles in the Southwestern part of the United States. The gargoyles just want to be left to do whatever gargoyles do, like vent rain water. But these mythical creatures, when threatened, want to end human life as we know it. Have to say, I’m with the gargoyles on this one.
The movie cuts right to the chase and tells us gargoyles have been here for thousands of years, or “millennia.” They were born of that satan dude and get uppity every 600 years to turn mankind into decorative rain spouts. Good luck with that.
The anthropologist and his bra-less daughter come across a strange skeleton of some as yet undetermined animal thing. They take it with them. Guess who wants the bones back? Clues come in the form of the sound of flapping wings in the night. (I thought it was seagulls, but hey, what do I know?)
The classic part comes when the gargoyles, looking like a hybrid of snakes, frogs, goats and seagulls, abduct the bra-less daughter and take her to their cave dwelling, where she discovers a big pile of about-to-hatch baby elephant-sized gargoyle eggs. The females must have really strong birthing hips.
In a bold rescue attempt of bra-less daughter, the gargoyles are hunted down by barking dogs and riled humans with gasoline and cigarette lighters. Having earlier taught himself to speak English, the head gargoyle lays out a veiled manifesto in a gravelly voice as he attempts to flee with the last surviving breeder gargoyle: “How clever you are; your choice has allowed your and your (bra-less) daughter to survive. It also allows me and my kind to survive, perhaps at the price of your supremacy on Earth one day!”
The English-fluent gargoyle makes a scary face at the humans, picks up the wing-wounded female gargoyle and flaps away. They’ll be back. Then we’ll see what’s what.