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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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Lesson Learned:
  • Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo'sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

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