The Giant Gila Monster
Written by Jay Simms
Directed by Ray Kellogg
When two of his friends go missing, hip young hot-rodder Chase grows concerned, believing their speed demon tendencies has finally caused an accident. While investigating with the sheriff (not a very believable partnership), they find evidence of another missing person. And then another…but no sign of the victims anywhere, only their wrecked and empty cars. What on earth could be going on?
One need only to see the title to figure it out. A Giant Gila Monster is lurking in the woods, sneaking onto the highway and causing traffic accidents, then devouring the vehicle’s occupants and leaving no trace. Quite the clever creature. Evolution has done him good.
Curiously, our cool crooning mechanic hero is played as a talented, caring and responsible role model, not exploited as a violent aimless wanderer like so many other films from the era did. The special effects are pretty good, all things considered: The gila monster is an actual gila monster, super-sized by painful close-ups and miniature props. This type of drive-in fare is almost always a lot of fun, and this film is no different, increased by the presence of hep cat speedsters and a swingin’ radio DJ. How hip is the music? At its worst, the soundtrack is tame and folksy, at its best, jazzy and energetic. A real mixed bag, baby.
Black & White
"That squirrel is just the one that could do it!"