Giant Retro Lizards

The Giant Gila Monster

In 1959’s The Giant Gila Monster, a 70-foot poisonous lizard kills two 1950s teenagers looking for a place to park, smooch and touch each others’ “spots.” Talk about a mood kill. This lizard, grown to airplane proportions is a real reptile – the cars, trains and bridges he bangs into are fake. Why go to all the trouble of making the set smaller when they could’ve used one of those giant lizards they sell down in Mexico?

The Giant Gila Monster

A local teen with a hot rod and a singing voice that’ll melt your heart if not eardrums, assists the sheriff in finding the lizard, that, up to this point, has only left a debris field and maybe some poo in its wake.

The monster, hungry for something softer to eat than cars, sets his taste buds on high and goes after a barn full of teenagers. They were in there doing one of those teen dance gatherings. (They often called ’em “sock hops” back in the ’50s because everyone had to take their shoes off so as to not scuff the basketball court on which they were doing The Twist, The Jerk and the spine-cracking Hully Gully.)

The Giant Gila Monster

Gila crashes the party and the teenagers scream like Elvis just bashed his face through the wall. The sheriff shows up and shoots the lethargic lizard eight times, but the bullets, like the chocolate milk punch bowl, have no effect.

Leave it up to Chase, the singing car mechanic, to race back to his shop, grab six bottles of nitroglycerin (they were marked “XXX” to indicate its dangerousness), and zoom back over bumpy back country roads to the scene of screaming teens. Hitting the gas, he jumps out at the last second, letting his sweet ride crash into the monster and blow up everything.

The Giant Gila Monster

This was a disappointing end to the creature as there were no gila guts splattering the freshly-scrubbed teenagers. Therefore I cannot recommend you buying nitroglycerin and trying to explode a 70-foot lizard yourself.

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