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THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS (1959) **

A lighthouse keeper in the small California town of Piedras Blancas feeds a monster that lives in the ocean on a daily basis.  When he misses his regular feeding, the monster takes to ripping off the townsfolk’s heads. 

 

The Monster of Piedras Blancas takes a L-O-N-G time to get going, but once the monster shows up, things improve.  The monster itself looks very cool.  Imagine if H.R. Giger designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon and that will give you some idea.  The flick even features a surprising amount of gore as the creature likes to carry around its victims’ severed heads.

 

One cool monster (love that drool!) and a plethora of severed heads ultimately aren’t enough to keep the movie afloat.  Without them, the film is just another 50’s monster movie, and a pretty bad one to boot.  Too much of the movie consists of the townsfolk standing around TALKING about what to do with the monster and not enough of them DOING anything about it.

 

Les (The Slime People) Tremayne, Jeanne (Untamed Youth) Carmen and Don (The Giant Gila Monster) Sullivan are OK in the leads, although it’s Frank Arvidson who’s the most memorable.  He’s freaking hilarious as the superstitious shopkeeper with an accent thicker than the Swedish Chef Muppet.  Director Irvin Berwick (who was a piano prodigy as a child) went on to direct Malibu High.

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