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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Monolith Monsters (1957)

Starring Grant Williams, Lola Albright, Les Tremayne, Trevor Bardette, Phil Harvey
Directed by John Sherwood
(actor & director credits courtesy

A geologist in a small western town discovers a lethal menace in the remains of a meteor that when combined with water turn into deadly towers of rock.

The "monsters" of the film, tall towers of dark gleaming rock that rise and fall in advancing towards the town, are very unique and make this sci-fi effort from Universal stand out among the alien and giant bug pictures delivered by Universal and rival studios during the 1950s.  Director Jack Arnold, known for helming Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man, is credited with contributing towards the story, and the screenplay is well-structured, balancing the investigation of the rocks with the drama of their dangerous effects on people.   Williams and Albright make a cute couple, and Tremayne and Bardette add professional performances that ground the film.  The special effects, which look very convincing, are cleverly showcased in well-edited sequences that build suspense accompanied by menacing music from Universal's uncredited staff of composers, which per music historian David Schecter, included Irving Gertz, Henry Mancini, and Herman Stein.  With so many winning elements assembled together, this makes for fun and entertaining viewing, and a definite departure from the usual.

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