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“It is as I foretold. Gwangi has killed Carlos, just as he killed his brother Miguel. In a dream, I saw it…the great jaws snapping, the riderless horse. He was doomed and so will you be doomed, ALL OF YOU, unless the evil one is set free!” Yup. There are definitely great jaws snapping. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr, along with a return visit from Joseph Perry – as they revel in the wonders found in Ray Harryhausen’s The Valley of Gwangi (1969)!
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 116 – The Valley of Gwangi (1969)
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A cowboy named Tuck Kirby seeks fame and fortune by capturing an Allosaurus living in the Forbidden Valley and putting it in a Mexican circus. His victim, called the Gwangi, turns out to have an aversion to being shown in public.IMDb
- Director: Jim O’Connolly
- Writer: William Bast (screenplay), Julian More (additional material), Willis H. O’Brien (earlier film project “Gwangi”) (uncredited)
- Special Effects by:
- Antonio Baquero (uncredited)
- Manuel Baquero (uncredited)
- Visual Effects by:
- Ray Harryhausen (creator of visual effects)
- John Grant (matte camera) (uncredited)
- Peter Harman (matte camera) (uncredited)
- Arthur Hayward (creature sculptor) (uncredited)
- Gerald Larn (matte painter) (uncredited)
- Music by: Jerome Moross
- Selected Cast
- James Franciscus as Tuck
- Gila Golan as T.J.
- Richard Carlson as Champ
- Laurence Naismith as Professor Bromley
- Freda Jackson as Tia Zorina
- Gustavo Rojo as Carlos
- Dennis Kilbane as Rowdy
- Mario De Barros as Bean (as Mario de Barros)
- Curtis Arden as Lope
The Valley of Gwangi is Chad’s pick. He has a special love for the film, having watched it with his dad, and it’s still one of his favorite monster movies. For him, the stop motion animation sells the whole film and he has a special fondness for the eohippus. Despite the lack of Mexican representation in a film that is supposed to take place in Mexico, Whitney loved the characters of T.J. and Lope, adding that Ray Harryhausen’s work is always fun. Despite having a strong aversion to cowboy movies, The Valley of Gwangi scores on all counts for Joseph. The Valley of Gwangi reminded Daphne of how her Opa got her into watching westerns with him. She loved watching cowboys and cowgirls lassoing dinosaurs and is very impressed with Harryhausen’s work in this movie. Jeff chimes in with the rest, lauding Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation, and enjoys seeing some familiar faces in Richard Carlson and James Franciscus.
You know you want to see The Valley of Gwangi again! Cowboys and dinosaurs and Ray Harry hausen! What’s not to like? At the time of this writing, The Valley of Gwangi is available to stream from various PPV services, and on physical media as a Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next on their very flexible schedule is one chosen by an upcoming guest host: Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare (1968), aka The Great Yokai War. It’s time for some tokusatsu!
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