Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Monolith Monsters!

The Monolith Monsters is another of those Universal classics which played often in the television market I grew up in. This downright weird sci-fi monster flick featured some of the most curious aliens ever seen on the big screen.

The story is simply that a black glistening meteor comes to Earth and its unique qualities cause the fragments to grow in contact with water and these stones then leech the silicon from human bodies sometimes killing the unsuspecting individuals who innocently gather these unusual specimens. The rocks then take advantage of some rainfall in the desert to grow to immense size, becoming monoliths which fall and shatter from which more monoliths rise. They then begin a relentless march down a valley directly toward the small town of San Angelo which will allow them to spread in all directions threatening the whole of country if not the Earth.

The threat of the Monoliths is faced down by Dave Miller (Grant Williams) a geologist who lost his partner Ben Gilbert (Phil Harvey) to the meteor's threat. Cathy Barrett (Lola Albright) is a teacher and her student Ginny comes into contact with the meteor and is rushed to a hospital for elaborate treatment in an iron lung.
Dave's teacher Professor Flanders (Trevor Bardette) is along for the ride giving Dave the value of his sage experience. Along with mopey news reporter Martin Cochrane (Les Tremayne) and smart-ass Sheriff Dan Corey (William Flaherty) this gang beats down the threat of the monoliths before they get to the town. How they do it is the mystery of the movie.

The movie can be criticized for offering up a too clever-by-half solution to the menace, but I find I like how the threat is analyzed and then ultimately put to rest. This is one where brains are the only weapon able to even slow down the threat, let alone do it in. Coincidence may play a larger role than some are comfortable with, but it works for me. But it has the virtue of a solution which is hidden in plain sight, and that's always fun when it unfolds before you.

This is a vintage effort of its time, full of good actors going about their craft with precision. There's a perhaps too chummy tone at times, especially at the end, but overall this is a good cast in a decent movie with a really excellent menace.

I highly recommend it. Here's a peek.

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  1. Great movie! Along with "The 27th Day," This film tops my list of the most original and imaginative sci-fi flicks of the era.

  2. It's a shame we won't ever see another alien invasion film as original and different as this one. A remake would have the threat be giant, semi humanoid rock monsters I'm sure.

  3. It is a smart movie in many ways, and different. A remake would probably have people go all zombie before they ultimately froze up from lack of silicon, just to amp the gore.

    I have The 27th Day on VHS around here. I haven't seen it in quite a while. It might be time.

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