Wednesday, October 06, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Day 6 - Movie 2

The Monolith Monsters (1957) is more of a science fiction disaster movie than a science fiction horror movie, but it does have one aspect which allows it to cross genres. A meteorite composed almost entirely of silicates crashes in the desert spewing pieces of itself beyond the confines of its crater. Whenever any of these fragments come into contact they grow to enormous proportions and multiply. If a living thing comes into contact with one of these extraterrestrial crystals, it leeches the silicon from their bodies, turning them to stone. The first two activations are accidental, but when a torrential rainstorm arrives, the town of San Angelo finds itself directly in the path of the spreading minerals. It's up to a pair of geologists, a doctor and a news paper reporter to find a way of stopping them before it's too late.

Unique in its genre, The Monolith Monsters turns out to be a pretty exciting race against time for a movie in which the threat is essentially huge growing crystals which fall over when they reach a certain size. Like many 50s science fiction and horror movies, scientists become the glamorous men of action while police men and military types take a back seat and the orders of the men in the lab coats. The movie moves along at a pretty brisk pace given the subject matter, and in spite of a couple wobbly bits of exposition, and characters who seem unmotivated for much of the movie, particularly in their own lines of work (the reporter and the sheriff) the script is handled well. The cast is good. Grant Williams plays his part as the heroic geologist with conviction and care. The special effects are also pretty outstanding. There are even some genuinely creepy moments. The one at the Simpson house has a very similar feel to it as a similar scene in Them. And yes, San Angelo is the same time everyone knows and loves from movies such as Back to the Future and Gremlins only in this case parked out in the middle of the desert.


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