The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

Hahahaha, oh wow. This was…well it was something all right.

A regular Gila monster is let loose on a miniature landscape, drunk driving and alcoholism are used repeatedly for comic effect, a singing mechanic wunderkind gets on his way to success, and apparently the town is riddled with toxic salts that makes everyone put their legs up on EVERYTHING. And there’s rock music, fast cars, and nitroglycerin to boot! Woo! It’s a regular teenage scream dream.

This movie is pretty bad, but then it’s from the same guy who brought us The Killer Shrews, so I expected it. At least they didn’t put rags on a dog to make it look like a lizard. But this is exactly the sort of C-list ’50s schlock that I occasionally enjoy laughing at, and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of this movie definitely fits the bill, even if it is a Joel episode (I’m a Mike kind of man myself). The acting is pretty awful, the plot jumps all over the place, the special effects are laughable, and it’s all public domain.

Look, if you’re watching this, you’re probably doing it because you’ve heard how bad the movie is. You know what? It is bad. Yet it also featured a former Miss Universe and a real live DJ. Yes, you can ooh and ahh now. Also, the Gila monster was actually a Mexican bearded lizard, so the movie wasn’t even able to be consistent about that. There’s something stupidly charming about all of it, and I applaud the idea of loading a hot rod up with nitroglycerin to take out a giant monster. More towns should do this to stop giant monsters. Japan should keep a supply of hot rods and teen angst ready to go at all times.

You know you’re in for a good ride when a movie poster takes the time to point out the soundtrack as a selling point. Also, this trailer is subtly racist.

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