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The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

Passed  -  Horror  -  27 November 1962 (Mexico)
3.2
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Ratings: 3.2/10 from 2,410 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 41 critic

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

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(original story), (screenplay)
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Title: The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

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Cast

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

Storyline

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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 November 1962 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Gila el monstruo gigante  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$138,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Chase Winstead: Where's Pat and Liz?
Bob: Maybe their car broke down?
Chase Winstead: Hey! I worked on that car myself!
Bob: That wouldn't make any difference if he goofed the speed shift or something!
Chase Winstead: And that squirrel is just the one that could do it!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Rat Race (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

My Baby, She Rocks
(uncredited)
Composed and Performed by Don Sullivan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"There was this big pink and black thing drove right in front of me...."
9 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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