Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Monolith Monsters (1957)

Universal executives got together one day. What scares people, they asked. We've done aliens, giant bugs, monsters from the deep, and even a dude shrinking from radiation. What can we do now?

"I know!" a young board member said. "Rocks!" They all agreed that rocks were, indeed, very frightening.

I know what would have been more frightening. Anything OTHER than rocks. Despite the title, they're not even Rock Monsters. They are just rock crystals that grow very fast and kill people when they come in contact with them. They move by growing very tall, then falling over, breaking into tiny pieces, then growing again. Please.

To be fair, the script, acting, and overall production quality was up to Universal standards. It failed principally because the monster premise was lame. And it should be noted, it was an almost complete copy of Tarantula. Allow me to explain:

Scientist is working in lab in the desert/comet falls to earth in the desert
Giant spider escapes because of fire/comet fragment starts to grow when exposed to water
Local country doctor/geologist slowly suspects the menace but nobody believes him at first
Communication is hampered because giant spider/rocks have severed power and telephone lines
A first attempt to kill the spider/stop the rocks using dynamite fails
The small town is ordered to evacuate because the giant spider/giant rock is headed their way
Country doctor/geologist saves the day by dropping napalm on the spider/blowing up a dam

I wonder how I would have viewed the two movies had I seen them in reverse order. Either way, Tarantula was a better film. Monolith Monsters was, however, a very watchable movie and I still give it an AMRU of 3. The rocks kill by sucking the silicon out of the body, making them hard as a rock. Kinda interesting, but nothing compared to being eaten by a giant spider.

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