THE GIANT GILA
STARRING: Don Sullivan, Lisa
Simone, Shug Fisher, Jerry Cortwright, Beverly Thurman, Don Flourney, Pat
Simmons, Fred Graham
1959, 74 Minutes, Directed by: Ray Kellogg
The tranquility of a small Texas town is ruined when an enormous lizard begins
to terrorize the place! At first, the adults dismiss the kids' hysterics as
nonsense. The sheriff is helpless and the adults fail miserably to defeat the
thing, so it's up to the teenagers to take it on.
A misleading title actually.
There is a Gila monster (“a large, venomous lizard of the south-western U.S. and
north-western Mexico, covered with beadlike scales of yellow, orange, and black”
according to Webster’s) in it, but it is a normal-sized one that is aimlessly
crawling along scale models.
Yeah, I kid you not: Giant
Gila Monster has a real-life lizard (looking as disinterested as hell!)
harassing scale models of cars, trains and a barn. Something in me would have
preferred a stunt man in a rubber suit like in those
Godzilla movies, but that’s probably just me! But you gotta hand it to that
lizard: it out-acted everybody else in this movie . . . it really made me
really believe that it was indeed a Gila monster!
The Giant Gila Monster
may sound as if it has all the elements of a fun bad movie: hot-rodders in
souped-up old cars, ‘Fifties teenagers, an over-sized lizard destroying tiny
models and a spiritual song played with the sole accompaniment of a banjo
(twice!). Unfortunately the movie is a real drag (no pun intended) as it focuses
too heavily on its dull human protagonists and only comes alive in the few brief
scenes that feature our titular lizard.
The acting is poor, the pacing
languid and the ending is abrupt and anti-climactic. Ultimately The Giant
Gila Monster is an exercise in tedium and boredom that makes similar fare
such as Attack of the Giant Leeches and
Teenagers from Outer Space look quite good in
(Yes, it was a
Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode and it
is probably best viewed in that context. Otherwise, avoid.)