Rise of the Gargoyles (2009) poster

Rise of the Gargoyles (2009)


Canada/Romania. 2009.


Director – Bill Corcoran, Screenplay – Andy Briggs & Steven Horvath, Producer – Francois Sylvestre, Photography – Pierre Jodoin, Music – Ned Bouhalassa, Visual Effects Supervisor – Mario Rachiele, Visual Effects – Oblique FX, Special Effects Supervisors – Nick Allder & Adi Popescu, Prosthetics Supervisor – Erik Gosselin, Production Design – Guy Lalande. Production Company – Muse Entertainment/Media Pro Studios.


Eric Balfour (Jack Randall), Caroline Néron (Nicole Ricard), Justin Salinger (Walsh), Nick Mancusco (Father Grable), Ifan Huw Dafydd (Inspector Gilbert), Tanya Clarke (Carol Beckham)


Jack Randall is a professor of cultural studies who is working in Paris after ridicule was poured on his book theorising that mythological creatures used to be real animals. His girlfriend Carol Beckham takes him to visit a church that is in the process of being demolished. Jack becomes fascinated with the gargoyles in the crypt but they are forced to flee as something stirs. Carol takes home some stones she finds there. Afterwards, they are witness as a body is thrown from a roof. Carol is then attacked in her apartment and beheaded. Jack has difficulty convincing police that she was killed by an animal. He goes to tabloid journalist Nicole Ricard with video from the crypt that proves there are gargoyles alive in the catacombs and that these are now emerging into the streets at night to attack.

Rise of the Gargoyles was one of the numerous low-budget Monster Movies made for the Syfy Channel, who regularly churned out a good many monster movies, dinosaur, killer shark, giant bug and animals attack films during the 2000s/2010s.

In the wide-ranging search that went on among these films for new and interesting creatures, the production team alight on gargoyles as its source of monsters. This is somewhat of an oddity in that gargoyles are not creatures that come from a mythological backdrop but are statues from Mediaeval architecture that were in fact created as ornamented designs used to drain water from the rooftops of churches and the like. That said, we have sporadically seen gargoyles turn up as creatures with the likes of the tv movie Gargoyles (1972) and the animated series animated tv series Gargoyles (1994-6), as well as in the Doctor Who episode The Daemons (1971).

Amid these Syfy monster movies, Rise of the Gargoyles is not particularly badly made. Reasonable care and attention has been placed into it. The film gets a particularly good jolt out of doing a Psycho (1960) of sorts on us and establishing Tanya Clarke as Eric Balfour’s girlfriend and the potential female lead only to then abruptly behead her part way into the film.

Gargoyles in the streets of Paris in Rise of the Gargoyles (2009)
Gargoyles in the streets of Paris

The gargoyles are kept to the shadows for the most part, allowing them to work with some effect. It is only when they start to emerge and we see more of them that that the effects become evident. It is all reasonably made, has a decent cast but the main failing is that the film never transcends being anything more than a formula Syfy Channel monster movie. Nothing particularly interesting is done with the gargoyles such as exploring the hinted at mythological backdrop – they are just standard movie monsters.

The film stars Eric Balfour, who I have always maintained is a far better actor than some of the B movie material he has ended up stuck in. He has a natural handsomeness and charisma that far outshines everyone around him. Especially embarrassing among the rest of the cast is Nick Mancusco, normally a decent actor, who here gets the part of a wild-eyed and frothing at the mouth crazy priest.

Bill Corcoran has a long history directing television going way back to the 1980s where he delivered episodes of shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985-9), Friday the 13th (1987-90), Wiseguy (1987-90) and 21 Jump Street (1987-91). Corcoran has made numerous tv movies and/or films that have received video/dvd release including Portraits of a Killer (1996), Atomic Twister (2002), Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002), A Job to Kill For (2006), The Unquiet (2008) Vipers (2008) and Death Warrior (2009).

Trailer here

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