When Captain Street's best friend Dan O'Grady is murdered, Street enlists the help of Chinese detective James Lee Wong. Mr. Wong uncovers a smuggling ring on the waterfront of San Francisco... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Gordon McLendon, who owned a number of radio stations and theaters in Texas, was the uncredited executive producer and financier of this film. Some members of the McLendon family were given roles in this film. See more »
The locomotive pulling the train that crashes off of the bridge knocked down by the title creature changes from a switch engine to a streamlined unit, then back to the switch engine but pulling in reverse and then back to a head-on view of the streamliner just before the crash. See more »
"There was this big pink and black thing drove right in front of me...."
Hot rods and gila monsters! - now there's a mix that absolutely demands attention. "The Giant Gila Monster" opens ominously enough with sinister music but quickly turns into "At the Hop", at a pace that is repeated enough times in the movie to keep you off balance.
It's difficult to get a fix on just how monstrous our title monster is in the early going, as frequent close ups of the creature merely reveal a rather normal lizard. As the film progresses, the creature seems to grow in stature, as when he's sized up against oncoming vehicles or when he manages to destroy a railroad trestle causing a train wreck. Presumably this beast was responsible for the disappearance of two teenagers and an oil rig driver in the early going, as crack detective work by the local sheriff fails to uncover their whereabouts.
The movie actually has a lot going on, the film's hero Chase Winstead (Don Sullivan) befriends a local disc jockey by getting his car out of a jam; the DJ repays the favor by cutting a demo record for the would be singer. Chase's little sister needs a pair of braces in order to walk and they're provided by Chase's girlfriend Lisa (Lisa Simone). Comic relief is provided by the town drunk Harris (Shug Fisher), who happens to witness the creature up close and personal a couple of times, but who's buying his story?
I remember as a kid watching any number of TV shows and movies of the 1950's in which nitroglycerin was a major factor in the outcome of a story. With four quarts of nitro just hanging around, young Chase manages to steer his souped up hot rod into the path of the looming monster to insure a successful and fiery finale.
Even back in 1959, it seemed that corporate sponsors were a factor in movie production, you'll need more than one hand to count the number of times Mobil Oil gets it's message across.
With all said and done, "The Giant Gila Monster" is one of those campy 1950's gems that requires at least one viewing so you could say you've been there and done that. Try to get your hands on the DVD box set of fifty sci-fi and horror films neatly packaged with a mix of downright terrible offerings like "The Beast of Yucca Flats" along with screen classics like "Nosferatu". You'll enjoy yourself for weeks and increase your knowledge of "B" and "Z" grade films to the delight of your friends and neighbors.
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