3.6/10
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The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 1959 (UK)
A giant lizard terrorizes a rural Texas community and a heroic teenager attempts to destroy the creature.

Director:

Ray Kellogg

Writers:

Ray Kellogg (original story), Jay Simms (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Sullivan ... Chase Winstead
Fred Graham ... Sheriff Jeff
Lisa Simone Lisa Simone ... Lisa
Shug Fisher ... Old Man Harris
Bob Thompson Bob Thompson ... Mr. Wheeler
Janice Stone Janice Stone ... Missy Winstead
Ken Knox Ken Knox ... Horatio Alger 'Steamroller' Smith
Gay McLendon Gay McLendon ... Mom Winstead
Don Flournoy Don Flournoy ... Gordy
Cecil Hunt Cecil Hunt ... Mr. Compton
Stormy Meadows Stormy Meadows ... Agatha Humphries
Howard Ware Howard Ware ... Ed Humphries
Pat Reeves Pat Reeves ... Rick
Jan McLendon Jan McLendon ... Jennie
Jerry Cortwright Jerry Cortwright ... Bob
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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. After a series of tragic motor accidents, it becomes apparent that a giant Gila monster is roaming the area depleting the town of its citizens and visitors, including two hot-rodding teens, and planning to attend the BIG record-hop party. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Biggest Terror Ever Unleashed on the Screen! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The voice you hear on the other end of the phone, when Chase eavesdrops on a phone call to the police department, is that of Ken Curtis, who served as producer on this film. He is more famous for having played scruffy deputy Festus Hagen on Gunsmoke (1955). See more »

Goofs

Just before the train crash, there's a shot of Shug Fisher, playing Old Man Harris, in his car, reacting to the sight of the Giant Gila Monster. Reflected in the windshield is director Ray Kellogg giving Fisher the cue to turn his head. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Alternate Versions

A colorized version was released in 2007, as part of a double feature with The Killer Shrews. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Indestructible Man (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Classic B-Movie of old
29 May 2006 | by jluis1984See all my reviews

"The Giant Gila Monster" is one of those films of old that despite its numerous flaws retains a certain charm that adds a special mystique to the experience of watching them. Often labeled as one of the movies with worst special effects in history of cinema, this small Drive-In classic shines among similar movies due probably to the same naiveté that made Ed Wood's movies legendary. Like Wood's movies, "The Giant Gila Monster" has more good intentions than talent behind the camera, and that probably is what makes it so special.

The plot starts when people starts disappearing in the roads near a small Texan town. The sheriff Jeff (Fed Graham) is puzzled by the case as the victims seem to vanish leaving no trace. With the aid of his good friend Chase (Don Sullivan), he starts an investigation that will lead them to discover that a monster of huge proportions has been hiding and is eating its victims.

The movie is centered around Chase and the Sheriff's friendship, and the parental relationship that exists between them. Despite having no father and with a handicapped sister, Chase never loses his optimism and is willing to help everyone, from his best-friend the Sheriff to his girlfriend Lisa (Lisa Simone), who is an immigrant and wants to get a job. All this is charged with the 50s innocence and that naiveté that gives the film its charm.

Acordign to history, this movie was the brainchild of Gordon McLendon, a Texan millionaire who wanted to make movies with good Christian values and moral lessons to fight against the movies that were "corrupting" the youngsters of his time. This purpose is notorious through the film as the victims of the monster seem to be punished because of their sins, and becomes blatantly obvious when Don Sullivan sings the movie's theme.

While the movie may have failed as a Christian movie, it has gained a popularity among fans of 50s B-movies because it presents the classic elements of the Atomic Age creature-features. The primitive and simple special effects and the poorly written dialogs are really obvious flaws but the film as a whole has a certain charm due probably to the innocence of its makers and probably of the 50s as a whole.

Don Sullivan is a good lead, and also performs his songs with natural ease. Fred Graham and Lisa Simone are also quite good despite the silly dialog the movie has. Director Ray Kellogg handles the movie with the typical 50s style probably to make it appealing to mainstream audiences. The special effects are indeed poor and it is easy to notice that the Giant Gila Monster is nothing more than a normal Gila Monster walking over a cheap scale model.

To judge "The Giant Gila Monster" under the standard of our times would be a mistake, so it's better to say that the film delivers entertainment and a good glimpse to the idealized society of the 50s. People expecting a classic horror movie will definitely be disappointed, but fans of Atomic Age monsters or of B-Movie classics will find a minor gem to enjoy. 5/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1959 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Giant Gila Monster See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$138,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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