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The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

Not Rated  |   |  Horror  |  27 November 1962 (Mexico)
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Ratings: 3.3/10 from 2,564 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 42 critic

A giant lizard terrorizes a rural Texas community with a heroic teenager attempting to destroy the creature.



(original story), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Sullivan ...
Fred Graham ...
Sheriff Jeff
Lisa Simone ...
Shug Fisher ...
Old Man Harris
Bob Thompson ...
Janice Stone ...
Missy Winstead
Ken Knox ...
Horatio Alger 'Steamroller' Smith
Gay McLendon ...
Mom Winstead
Don Flournoy ...
Cecil Hunt ...
Mr. Compton
Stormy Meadows ...
Agatha Humphries
Howard Ware ...
Ed Humphries
Pat Reeves ...
Jan McLendon ...
Jerry Cortwright ...


A couple of teenagers are reported missing in a small Texas town, and it is thought they eloped. Sheriff Jeff turns to his friend, Clarence Winstead, a garage mechanic and leader of a hot-rod gang for help. A series of tragic motor accidents occur and it becomes apparent that a giant gila monster is roaming the area and depleting the town of its citizens and passer-throughs, including two hot-rodding teen-agers. And might have plans on attending the BIG record-hop party. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Only Hell could breed such an enormous beast. Only God could destroy it!




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 November 1962 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Gila el monstruo gigante  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$138,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was one of two features produced by an independent company in Texas and meant for release as a double feature. The other feature was The Killer Shrews (1959). Unlike many such features produced in the South, these films received national distribution. See more »


As the freight train crashes, you can plainly see the string pulling the engine off of the tracks. Once it goes off, the rest of the train follows. See more »


Sheriff Jeff: *What* did you hit him with?
Chase Winstead: My brand new, 100% completed hot rod.
Sheriff Jeff: You'd have had to start in the next county to get up enough momentum to do that to him.
Chase Winstead: Not with 4 quarts of nitro glycerin riding with me.
Mr. Wheeler: You drove across that rough field carrying nitro?
Chase Winstead: Yes sir!
Sheriff Jeff: Do you realize what could have happened?
Chase Winstead: It did. I lost my car!
Sheriff Jeff: Don't worry about that, the railroad will be *glad* to buy you a new one.
See more »


Remade as Gila! (2012) See more »


I Ain't Made That Way
Composed and Performed by Don Sullivan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good-spirited drive-in fare.
18 April 2002 | by (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

The Giant Gila Monster is another creature feature from Ray Kellogg (The Killer Shrews) that usually gets passed over with bad reviews. The story is about a giant, people-eating gila monster, which usually lurks in the thick brush near an isolated community. The main character, Chase Winston, (Don Sullivan) is a teen leader, car mechanic, and rockabilly/folk singer who sort of reminds me of singer Jimmie Rodgers. The acting is fine to passable for this type of low-budget movie, and the film is well shot. The Giant Gila Monster may be too slow for younger audiences used to today's action-packed fare, but for older audiences it might be a fun reminder of the era in which it was made. The music is creepy and nicely captures the mood of the isolated areas. The special effects (like the gila monster attacking a wrecked train) may bring on some good laughs. Throw in some rock & roll, teen lingo, a French exchange student (Lisa Simone, who was also in Missile To The Moon), a big city disc jockey, and some hot rods, and you've got a late 50's, drive-in flick which can be easily enjoyed for the type of movie it is.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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