“Incorporating themes from horror films of both the ’50s and the ’70s, this suspenseful TV movie stars Cornel Wilde and Jennifer Salt as an archaeologist and his daughter, who discover a strange skull on display at a roadside tourist trap. After the museum owner is killed during an attack from an unseen foe, the pair are subsequently pursued across the American Southwest by a tribe of humanoid creatures that bear a striking resemblance to the gargoyles of myth, leading to a manic game of cat-and-mouse across the desert. This enjoyably spooky film essentially riffs on this one-note premise for over 70 minutes — sort of an inversion of Night of the Living Dead’s claustrophobic scenario — and fortunately comes off quite well thanks to superb use of the desert locations, an eerie score, uniformly good performances, and Emmy award-winning monster costumes from Stan Winston. A young Scott Glenn appears as a roguish biker who throws in with the good guys after taking a shine to the professor’s daughter.” – Rovi’s Allmovie Guide.
So here’s the deal. If, like myself, you were in elementary school during the 1970’s, loved monster movies, and happened to catch Gargoyles on one of its many late night showings, then you know it’s next to impossible to write an unbiased review of this movie. So I’m not even going to try. I loooove Gargoyles.
First off, I love the setting. The barren outskirts along the Texas/New Mexico border give the movie a weird isolated vibe (which is important since the story asks you to accept that a bunch of six foot tall gargoyles have been skittering around unnoticed), while the Carlsbad Caverns gives the creature’s gargoyle hive nicely authentic. It just goes to show how a talented location scout can go a long ways towards making a low budget look good.