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Rated PG
Copyright 1959 Hollywood Pictures Corporation
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Chase - Cross a mechanic with Elvis and MacGyver.
  • Sheriff Jeff - Overworked county boy, he's still had time to tack on a spare tire.
  • Lisa - Appears to be some sort of foreign exchange student seeking asylum. Barely speaks English and loves Chase.
  • Harris - Alcoholic who loves his old car.
  • Mr. Wheeler - Rich guy, he is (of course) an asshole.
  • Steamroller Smith - The local radio disc jockey everyone loves, launches Chase's singing career.
  • Missy - Chase's younger sister who can't walk, she is just getting leg braces.
  • The Giant Gila Monster - It has grown giant in the undisturbed territory and now must feed!

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Despite being full of scenes where a normal Gila Monster wanders through model railroad sets this film was okay. Until Chase pulls out the Ukulele, then things get ugly. I still cannot figure out how a song goes from discussing a sad mushroom to a spiritual. Both times the song appeared I whimpered until it went away.

The Gila Monster comes out of NOWHERE. The thing is about seventy feet long and lives in the middle of a desert. What the heck has it been eating all this time. Jawas? Not bloody likely. It does start eating anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path. This is accomplished by showing the person, then the normal sized lizard on a scale model table, then the person screaming, and finally a clawed foot descending on the camera.

Plus, the whole film appears to be a drunken driving ad! Harris is always motoring around drunk, Chase meets Steamroller because the disc jockey is hammered and goes off the road into a ditch. Mr. Wheeler wanders through the film looking like he should be carrying a club and discovering fire.

Our star attraction finally crashes the barn dance and is rampaging through the heart of town (which means there is one house about every two miles) when Chase packs his hotrod full of nitroglycerin and rams it. Boom! Then it catches on fire for some reason... ...of course that's after the sheriff unloads about twenty rounds at it from his shotgun. Without stopping I might add.

Still, that song, that horrible song.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Getting married is just like visiting New York. (Harris bestows this one on us.)
  • Rich guys are Neanderthal jerks; big eyebrow ridges and all.
  • Before Breathalyzers policemen had to stick their nose in your mouth to check.
  • Heroic car mechanics bang out dents while singing.
  • Train wrecks are equivalent to party platters for huge lizards.
  • Demanding a "soberty" test is pointless.
  • Salt causes gigantic mutations.
  • Driverless cars will always travel in a straight line, even across a rough field.
  • Lizards are highly flammable.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - Hold on, what happened?
  • 21 mins - You have to be kidding me, a live Gila Monster walking through a model railroad track setup.
  • 26 mins - Hey, slow down!
  • 28 mins - That's your boy scout deed for the day Chase, pulling a drunk driver out of the ditch and putting him back on the road.
  • 35 mins - Chase, that is Gila Monster urine.
  • 54 mins - I wonder if that is HO scale...
  • 65 mins - For appearing to be a genetic backwater Mr. Wheeler sure is figuring things out.
  • 68 mins - NOOOO! IT'S THE UKULELE AGAIN! STOP! Something stop it! Yes, a big lizard! Eat him!
  • 70 mins - Just how many shells does that shotgun hold anyway?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note giantgila1.wav Narrator: "How large the dreaded Gila Monster grows, no man can say."
Green Music Note giantgila2.wav THE UKULELE SONG! ARRGHHHH!
Green Music Note giantgila3.wav Harris: "I demand a soberty test!"
Sheriff: "That does it. Go lock yourself up."
Harris: "I demand a soberty test 'cause I ain't been drinking."
Green Music Note giantgila4.wav Mr. Wheeler: "And I say it is possible for a giant lizard to have lived there for years without being seen."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 



 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgiantgila1.mpg - 2.5m
Please eat the guy who is singing!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Georgiann
This is pretty bad, effects-wise and acting-wise.  And my idea of hell would be to be tied up and forced to listen to that incredibly smarmy song "Laugh Children Laugh" for all eternity.  
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #2. Posted on June 18, 1999, 09:13:50 PM by
I too saw this movie on MST3K, and I thought it was hilarious.  It was bad as only a 50's B horror movie can be.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #3. Posted on July 23, 1999, 10:37:12 AM by
One of the most heartrending images I've ever seen in a film is when the 'giant' gila monster (surely the cutest monster yet to appear on screen) has it's head shoved through a balsa wood 'wall' to simulate its attack on the Barn Blow-Out Rock 'n' Roll Revue.  It's almost impossible not to visulize the gila rangler grabbing the poor beastie by the torso and ramming it through the miniature set.  And yes, both the Mushroom Song and Laugh, Children, Laugh (I think those are two separate songs, aren't they?) are some of the best bad tunes since Arch Hall, Jr.'s work in Eeagh!
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #4. Posted on August 04, 1999, 07:39:13 PM by Carl
"Laugh Children Laugh" is the hit of the sock hop. Those poor kids. Those *poor* kids --
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #5. Posted on October 26, 1999, 10:34:06 AM by paul westbrook
I had seen this film at a late night matinee when I was about twelve. It did not scare me then, and it does not now. Whose idea was it to use an ordinary lizard in this movie anyway? The most nauseating part, is the idiot with the banjo. It made me root for the creature to just put him, and us out of our misery. Still, it is an okay movie to see when there is nothing else to look at.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by JDD
This is one of the Best of the worst movies ever made in the
50`s! I loved it as a kid, I bought two... one for my cousin so we could each have a copy to embarass our kids with. They think we`re bonkers, anyway.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #7. Posted on April 11, 2000, 07:41:06 AM by Chris K.
Special effects are good, clear cinematography, nice acting, and atmosperic settings. THE GIANT GILA MONSTER is a good monster-on-the-loose film from good ole' 1959. Shot back-to-back with THE KILLER SHREWS, THE GIANT GILA MONSTER is better than THE KILLER SHREWS.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #8. Posted on March 03, 2005, 12:27:42 PM by hank
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