Movies and Film

Hokey Fun – The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

The Giant Gila Monster is the perfect example of your average low budget, 1950`s science-fiction schlock.  It has everything you would expect with cheesy acting, terrible jazzy rock music and a fairly plausible, yet implausible story.  And despite it all, it is actually really enjoyable.  For all of its camp and hokiness and its laughable effects, the film manages to entertain for its nearly seventy-five minute running time.  Of course, most people will most likely never even give this movie a shot, as literally every other movie in the world is better than this, but it is fun to see just what a studio and director could do with a low budget when given a chance.

giant gila monster25This particular film finds a giant lizard, a Gila monster in actuality, killing random people not out of malice or whatnot, but simply because it is in its nature.  As it is, like most things in life, nature gets in the way of humanity and thus what would seem like a perfect opportunity to find this rare specimen a home instead ends in its death.  Although you could not expect a lot of originality from a small film like this, it treats its abnormally sized monster much like every other giant monster from every other giant creature feature ever made.

giant gila monster23The film would star Don Sullivan, actor of other fine grade Z pictures like The Monster of Piedras Blancas and Teenage Zombies.  He is not as one would surmise, terrible in this film but the dialogue does sort of paint him as if he popped right out of an Archie comic book.  It adds to the already absurd nature of the film, but out of everyone in the film including Fred Graham, Lisa Simone and Shug Fisher, Sullivan was the best of the bunch.  One thing that did help was having Ray Kellogg behind the camera, as inexperienced as he was as a director.  Having worked on special effects for years in film, he knew what to expect from his cast and he did a decent job of it.

This will not be everyone`s cup of tea.  Far from it.  But, if you give this little movie a chance, you might just be pleasantly surprised.  Again, it is far from the best, but you could do worse.

2.5 out of 5

First entry – Giant Monster Gamera (1965)
Second entry – The Monolith Monsters (1957)
Third entry – Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
Fourth entry – Tarantula (1955)
Fifth Entry – Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
Sixth entry – Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Seventh Entry – Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
Eighth entry – The Cyclops (1957)
Ninth entry – Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
Tenth entry – Monsters (2010)
Eleventh entry – Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
Twelth entry – The Killer Shrews (1959)
Thirteenth entry – Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
Fourteenth Entry – The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Fifteenth Entry – Space Monster Gamera (1980)
Sixteenth entry – King Dinosaur (1955)
Seventeenth entry – Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
Eighteenth entry – The Black Scorpion (1957)
Nineteenth entry – Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
Twentieth Entry – Them! (1954)
Twenty-First entry – Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999)

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