The Milpitas Monster (1976)
Article 5530 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Robert L. Burrill
Featuring Paul Frees, Doug Hagdahl, ‘Crazy George’ Henderson
What it is: Low-budget monster mayhem, Milpitas style
What is causing the disappearance of all the garbage cans in the town of Milpitas? And what is making those giant footprints around town? And what about the mischievous high school kids and the town drunk? Will the authorities solve the mystery?
Currently I’m watching a collection of extreme low-budget independent movies called “Tomb of Terrors”, almost all of which were made from in the years 2004 through 2006. I’m thinking that this tiny-budgeted movie from the mid-seventies might be that decade’s equivalent to the movies on this set. However, there is a difference; while I find going through that set of movies rather painful, I found this one a lot of fun. It’s not that this movie is so much better (its 2.8 rating on IMDB is about right); it’s more that its badness is the fun type of badness that makes this project enjoyable for me. The movie is clearly intended to be a comedy (that’s apparent from the opening logo), and the fact that most of the intended laughs are pretty awful (you’ll see way too much of the comic-relief drunk) doesn’t really kill the fun. There’s a giant winged monster made of garbage on the loose, and many of the scenes suffer from bad sound and/or bad lighting. The story is pretty unfocused, but individual moments are pretty amusing; I like the monsters encounter with a garbage truck and the machine known as the Odorola. It took three years to make this movie, and though the movie is a mess and it stinks, it’s also aware that it is. Paul Frees contributes only opening and closing narration, with the final bit ridiculously reprising a modified version of the last line of KING KONG. It’s the type of low-budget independent film that makes me smile; I have yet to see a single movie on that movie set that has entertained me this much.