The Monolith Monsters (1957)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 6/14/15
Cast: Grant Williams, Lola Albright, Les Tremayne, intro by Paul Frees (?)

Science fiction films that take place in the desert were very popular in the 1950's. This time, the small town of San Angelo is threatened by a strange meteor that crashes in the desert. The fragments of the meteor multiply when exposed to water, and they have a nasty habit of turning people into stone. Everything is fine until a torrential rain storm hits, which causes the meteor fragments to go on a rampage heading straight for town, and possibly the rest of the United States if they're not stopped in time. Geologist Dave Miller (Grant Williams) and a group of doctors and scientists manage to find a way to stop the monsters, which involves a considerable amount of collateral damage.

While a bunch of crystalline towers slowly crashing towards a small desert town isn't especially exciting, the story is interesting and the characters are fun to follow. Grant Williams is a charming hero, and of course there's a requisite babe involved (Lola Albright). Early on, a little girl asks her "Why aren't you and Mr. Miller married? You love him, don't you?" Well, maybe after surviving this horror, they'll finally get hitched. That is, if Dave learns how to brew a decent cup of coffee. The delightfully grumpy newspaper (Les Tremayne) man adds a nice touch to the script as well. It's a good looking and well made movie, and the miniature photography is fun and effective. The biggest problem happens to be with the flood scenes, which in black and white don't offer enough contrast with the surrounding elements. The result is a confusing and muddy looking mess. Otherwise, the film looks great.