Cult Movie Essentials

Cult Movie Essentials: The Monolith Monsters (1957)

Years ago, as a kid, I sat down in front of the TV and was enthralled by a film where big tall black rocks grew and fell only to grow again and were stumbling towards a quaint American town, endangering it, and the town had to do something about it.  Like I said, I was very young, and I couldn’t remember much about the film nor its name but thanks to Google, I found it by typing in “film where rocks fall down” and low and behold it came up with a link on IMDb to a film called The Monolith Monsters.

The plot of the film is simple, a meteorite hits a canyon in the desert just outside of the town.  The meteorite is smashed into pieces and pieces of it get collected and, when introduced to water, they expand and, if they come into contact with human, start turning them to stone too.  And not too long into the film, it rains, and these small pieces become huge monolithic beasts, growing and crashing their way down the canyon towards the town.  The town folk, with the help of the hero who just happens to be a Geologist and his lady and a couple of professors work out a possible way to stop the monoliths from reproducing, each time the grow and then fall over, they smash into pieces and thus they grow and then reproduce until instead of ten monoliths you have hundreds.  I won’t spoil the film for you by telling you how it ends, if you ever get to watch it, but it has a really well paced storyline, and also credible for a film of its age where it’d predecessors and successors of the same era have been less pleasant to watch with rather unbelievable storylines.  This film has a possible factual resonance to the possibility we could get hit by a meteorite that has these attributes.

If you’re a fan of old school black and white Hollywood 50’s sci-fi then this film is right up your alley, or canyon.  I love silver screen films like this one, and this version was Blu-ray quality, it was great to immerse myself into the storyline.  The acting wasn’t over the top nor understated, it was just right.  The film stars Grant Williams and Lola Albright, two briefly shining stars during that time.  The special effects were created by Clifford Stine, known for working on the original King Kong film in 1933.

Verdict:7/10 – In a world where many great films have been remade, I’d love to see what today’s Hollywood would do with this story now, where the bad guy doesn’t speak, grunt, even think, it just persistently and tirelessly continues on and on, rather like the volcanic lava flow did in the 1997 film Volcano but with more destructive momentum and accentuated hopelessness for the victims on its path. I love this film for its resolute and artistic story and for the production of a film that is now over 60 years old, it has aged remarkably well.

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