The Monster Of Piedras Blancas (1958)

Rating: **
Review Date: 10/1/16
Cast: Les Tremayne, Jeanne Carmen, Don Sullivan, John Harmon

The 1950's were full of daft science fiction and horror films, but most of them were presented with a straight forward scientific attitude and were remarkably forward thinking for the time. That level of logic and intellectualism (regardless of how goofy or misguided it may have been) is sadly missing from contemporary films, where science is shunned in favor of religion and ignorance.

When a couple of young men turn up decapitated on the beach, foul play is suspected. An eccentric lighthouse keeper (is there any other kind?) knows more than he's letting on, and it soon becomes apparent that a bloodthirsty monster is prowling the streets. For some reason, the monster takes a fancy to young Lucy (Jeanne Carmen) and decides to kidnap her rather than rip her apart and eat her. That gives her sweetheart Fred (Don Sullivan) ample time to demonstrate his intelligence, masculinity, and bravery by rescuing her and killing the beast.

It's a typical by-the-numbers monster movie featuring all of the standard stereotypes. The monster itself looks silly and is just a tall man in a rubber suit with big hands and long claws. The acting is mediocre and Jeanne Carmen's delivery tends to be a bit flat, but it's obvious she wasn't cast for her acting abilities. Veteran actor Les Tremayne plays the town doctor, and he's always delightful to watch. The most surprising elements of the film include some implied nudity and lingerie shots of Ms. Carmen, and a couple of gruesome decapitated heads. The funniest scene involves a meat cleaver that is clearly made of styrofoam. Fans of classic drive-in horror fare may find the film enjoyable, but I found it a little dull.