Category Archives: Science fiction

Really Awful Movies: Ep 171 – The Giant Gila Monster



The Giant Gila Monster is not only a 1959 monster movie, there’s a sci fi component too. And hell, it’s a hot rod juvenile delinquent flick too.

The Giant Gila Monster was directed by Ray Kellogg and produced by Ken Curtis.

It’s a decidedly low-budget affair, meant to be an accompaniment to the equally less-than-spectacular The Killer Shrews (another Ken Curtis production), a film perhaps best known for being sent up on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The film stars failed matinee idol Don Sullivan, a veteran of several low budget monster and zombie films, and Lisa Simone, the French contestant for Miss Universe of 1957 (who had zero acting chops), as well as “comic relief” of Shug Fisher and KLIF disc jockey Ken Knox.

The effects included a live Mexican beaded lizard (not an actual Gila monster) filmed on a scaled-down model landscape.

A drive-in cash-in, the film is a pretty good example of the kind of creature feature the 1950s were famous for.

In our discussion of the film on the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we delve into 50s sensibilities, the singing abilities of Don Sullivan (and the infamous Mushroom Song), our total inability to speak Spanish (which we butcher like a hog), language use, and of course, spinning platters.


Really Awful Movies: Ep 168 – Plan 9 from Outer Space



Its reputation precedes it. But does Plan 9 from Outer Space (original title Grave Robbers from Outer Space) deserve all the derogation? Some say it is the worst film ever made. This is patently false. We’d go to our graves (speaking of robbing them), saying Dana Carvey’s The Master of Disguise is worse.

Plan 9 is a 1959 independently made American black-and-white science fiction-horror film that was only released theatrically in 1959 by Distributors Corporation of America (as Valiant Pictures). The film is the product of an auteur. It was written, produced, directed, and edited by Ed Wood and stars Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, legendary Scandinavian wrestler Tor Johnson, and hostess with the mostess, Vampira.

And most people know that Hollywood icon Bela Lugosi died mid-production, only to be replaced by a larger gentleman covering his visage with a cape.

The plot concerns extraterrestrials who are seeking to stop humanity from creating a doomsday weapon that could destroy the universe. The aliens implement “Plan 9”, a scheme to resurrect the Earth’s dead, referred to in the movie as “ghouls”. By causing bedlam, the aliens hope the crisis will force humanity to listen to them. If not, the aliens will then destroy mankind with armies of zombies. Or something. It’s a tad confusing.

And there are continuity errors aplenty. Viewers will have a blast noting day for night issues, the number of times the narrator says “my friends,” and of course, the infamous string allowing the flying saucers to…not so much fly, as hover in the frame.