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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 #9. Posted on May 14, 2000, 05:09:58 PM by Link Digger
This is a true cult classic!  The scary music alone is a hoot.  Plug your ears with the ukelele (sp?) song though!  What a cute lizard!
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #10. Posted on July 06, 2000, 07:32:30 PM by Ron
I have the GIANT GILA MONSTER on video tape and have watched it many times.   It is most entertaining and humerous.  Don Sullivan, who played Chance, had a much better role in THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS.  
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #11. Posted on August 02, 2000, 08:30:55 PM by Joe
I had to watch this movie for my college history class ... let me tell you this has to be the worst film showed to students EVER!  Whats with those songs?  Oh, and how cool was it to drink and drive in the 50's?  oh well ... I guess I could make up stuff for my paper about "what does this film tell us about the 50's?"
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by chadzilla
This drive-in bottom feeder from the 50's is actually endearing in its own cheesy way.  The pace could be a bit quicker, but I still find it a pleasent Saturday afternoon time waster, which is where I saw it a lot as a kid.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Cham
One of the worst movies of the 50s. Some fun scenes but not worth a second viewing. The lizard is obviously a regular-sized one made to look large with some "excellent" effects. I give it a 2/5
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Matt
I saw this on the afternoon creature feature when I was about 9...I loved it then (except for that "Laugh" song...ugggggh). Didn't catch the MST3K version.THey must have had real fun with it.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Paul Westbrook
It's a bird! It's a plane! No. It's a giant reptile-amphibian in a movie, with rotten actors, and a Ricky Nelson wannabe.
The Giant Gila Monster
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Green Hornet
It's really a shame that the lizard was blown up in the end. NOW what will that jerk-water town do for a tourist attraction? It would have been a gold mine! What
now? "Lizard Burgers" for a week?
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