The Giant Gila Monster
Ken Curtis, B.R. McLendon (executive), Gordon McLendon (executive) for Hollywood Pictures
directed by Ray Kellogg
starring Don Sullivan, Fred Graham, Lisa Simone, Shug Fisher, Bob Thompson, Janice Stone, Ken Knox, Gay McLendon, Don Flournoy, Cecil Hunt, Stormy Meadows, Howard Ware, Pat Reeves, Jan McLendon, Jerry Cortwright, Beverly Thurman, Clarke Brown, Grady Vaughn, Yolanda Salas, Desmond Doogh
screenplay by Jay Simms, based on a story by Ray Kellogg, music by Jack Marshall, Don Sullivan (songs), special effects by Ralph Hammeras, Wee Risser, cinematography by Wilfred M.Cline
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Smalltown, USA: When 19-year old Pat Wheeler (Grady Vaughn) and his
sweetheart Liz (Yolanda Salas) go missing, at first nobody thinks much
about it, as it is quite possible they just eloped. Only Pat's father,
rich man Wheeler (Bob Thompson) is furious, and he seems to be more
furious about the fact that his som might have married not as high up the
social ladder as him than he is worried about the fact that something
might have happened to his son.
... and something happen it did, as his car was thrown off the road by
a giant gila (about the size of a bus or something), which then
(supposedly) ate the teenagers.
The local Sheriff (Fred Graham) investigates together with garage
worker Chase (Don Sullivan), who is also the very responsible leader of a
gang of hot rodders Pat and Liz belonged to. But at first, the Sheriff and
Chase can come up with very little, only some cars thrown off the road
witht he drivers missing - just like Pat and Liz.
It's only eventually, when Harris (Shug Fisher), an old drunk,
witnesses the giant gila wrecking a train bridge (complete with ensuing
trainwreck), that Chase and the Sheriff even begin to suspect a
giant gila monster. But it's not until the gila monster crashes one of the
youngsters' parties - where Chase is performing a song - that they have
actual proof of the existence of such a creature ... but no idea yet of
how to get rid of it - until Chase remembers a few cans of nitroglycerine
his boss (Cecil Hunt) keeps in his storage shack, loads them into his car
and steering his car into the direction of the gila, himself jumping off
seconds before impact ... and boom goes the gila !
The film also contains a few cubplots, one concerning Chase caring for
his sick little siser (Janice Stone), another about Chase's French
girlfriend Lisa (Lisa Simone), who is also a maid at Mr Wheeler's place,
who just can't stand the guts of Chase, and then there's Chase meeting a
discjockey (Ken Knox), who gives him the opportunity to record his first
So-so 1950's drive-in fare, with too many subplots distracting from the
main attraction, which should read hot-rodders vs reptiles ... but somehow
that promise never fully materializes and so more time is spent with a
too-good-to-be-true but misunderstood youngster and his various good
deeds, with the giant gila monster - a regular sized gila that doesn't
seem terribly giant in most of the shots - basically only lurking around
until towards the end when it crashes the train and the kids' party - and
then it's blown up soon enough.
Now don't get me wrong, you might still like this one if you like
1950's monster drieve-in movies, but even in this genre there's much
better - and funnier - around.