The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)

Article #1723 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-2-2005
Posting Date: 5-1-2006
Directed by Irvin Berwick
Featuring Les Tremayne, Foreest Lewis, John Harmon

A lighthouse keeper knows the secret behind a series of grisly deaths that occur in the vicinity of his lighthouse.

This monster movie has a bit of a following, and I can see why. For one thing, it is unusually gruesome for a movie of its time, especially with the severed heads that pop up on occasion. Second of all, I remember thinking that the monster looked rather cool in the stills I saw of the movie. Unfortunately, it’s a lot cooler in photographs than it is in action, where its turgid, clumsy movement works against it and its hodgepodge design (it was thrown together from various bits and pieces of monsters from several Universal films) becomes rather apparent. The script is terrible as well; there’s no explanation for what the monster ate before the lighthouse keeper began feeding it, for one thing. It’s also loaded with clumsy, uninteresting conversations, and it’s quite dull when the monster isn’t involved. Still, I always enjoy the easy charm of Don Sullivan and the wonderful voice of Les Tremayne. On an interesting note of trivia, director Irvin Berwick was a child prodigy on the piano.


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