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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] 4 5
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Dude
I am still puzzled as to why when the monster blows up there wasn't a shower of lizard guts covering everything
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by jim brown
As much as I liked Kellogs "Attack of the Killer Shrews".

I luved the Gila Monster the best.It was the interaction with the characters that really got me.

Like when the cop helped out the hero of the movie instead of busting him.Because the kid spent his money on his sisters braces instead of replacing his light.LOL!

Kellog knew how to make characters & scenes that you can't help but like.& relate to.:oDJim
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by HardPressed
To clear up the confusion, the instrument in question is called a banjo-uke. Essentially, a small banjo, no resonator, steel strings, tuned like a ukelele, and louder than f**k! In real life, a banjo-uke will completely drown out any unamplified guitar, bass, and human voice around it. A remarkable instrument, in it's own demonic way. My absolute favorite part of the movie--I fast forward through the monster stuff just to get to the banjo-uke bits. (And you thought YOU were twisted....)
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by larry
I loved this movie when it first came out. I thought it was made near Houston so I thought that was so cool. (The DJ was from KILT radio in Houston, a real station here.) Also, Gordon McClendon was a producer of the movie and he also owned KILT. (He also co-starred in The Killer Shrews) I bought the movie on vhs and found I still enjoyed it, even with all the horrible, stupid, dumb acting.  So bad it's good. I even found myself humming along with that song. UUUUGGGGH
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by James Perry
A MST3K favorite.  I couldn't watch this without them.  It's like Daddy-o with a bigass lizard.  Speaking of...a long time ago my dad told me the town drunk's joke (about his car decreasing then increasing in value..and THAT'S when he'll sell it) and I just about fell out of my chair the first time I watch this MST3K episode.  My dad was probably in the drive-in with somebody who was NOT my mom and actually WATCHING this movie!  Ha ha!!  

The worst thing about this film (MST3K version of not) is that stupid, freaking song!  It never leaves your head!  You wish you could climb in there and beat the guy to death with his own ukulele.  
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #22. Posted on June 09, 2004, 11:44:25 AM by night heron
I saw this movie and i can remember the sceen in which the car gose rolling down the embankment and the big lizard paw comming down and i also remember when the big lizard tries to disrupt a dance and how it seemed to be pushing matchbox cars around as it went
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #23. Posted on July 18, 2004, 08:28:53 PM by thunderbird
I saw this movie when i was ether 8 or 9 on KHSL channel 12 from chico calfornia on the afternoon play house it was at 2:00 in the afternoon and i can remember the part of the couple in a car the car rolling down a embankment then the big lizard paw comming down and i can also recall the giant lizard trying to get at the teens in a dance hall
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #24. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Dr. E. H.
I rather liked this film.  Chase is a solid sort of citizen-- setting a good example for the other teenagers, working
hard to buy Missy's braces, and noble enough to sacrifice
his beloved hotrod to save civilization from the dreaded
giant Gila monster.  The sheriff is a paragon of decent,
balanced practicality other law enforcement officials might
benefically emulate.  I must say, however, that when it
comes to ukulele-accompanied vocalization, Chase doesn't
have a patch on George Formy, O.B.E.
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