The Great Gila Monster (1959)

Filmed near Dallas, Texas, this movie was produced by Dallas drive-in theater chain owner Gordon McLendon who wanted his own movies. This was shot back-to-back with The Killer Shrews. Unlike most regional drive-in films, both received national and even foreign distribution.

This movie is also a lie. That’s no Gila Monster. It’s a Mexican Beaded Lizard.

A young couple are pre-arrdvarking as they overlook a ravine when the giant Gila Monster appears and murders them. The rest of the movie is spent with their friends alternatively looking for them and running from the lizard.

If you ever wanted to see a small lizard play with a model train set and then bother some teens as a sock hop, then this is the movie for you.

Luckily, Chase Winstead is on hand, ready to drive nitro-filled hot rod dead center into the monster, blowing it, as they say, up real good.

Ray Kellogg, in addition to the previously mentioned The Killer Shrews, also co-directed The Green Berets. He got to direct this movie in exchange for creating the special effects. It was produced by Ken Curtis, who played Festus on Gunsmoke.

This movie features Don Sullivan (The Monster of Piedras Blancas), French Miss Universe 1957 contestant Lisa Simone (she’s also a Moon Girl in Missile to the Moon), former Sons of the Pioneers member Shug Fisher, Fred Graham (who falls to his death at the beginning of Vertigo) and local disc jockey Ken Knox, who helped pick the music for the movie.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime or download it from the Internet Archive. There’s also a colorized version on Tubi. You can also watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.