The Monster Of Piedras Blancas
is an independent monster movie made in 1959 that has ties to Creature From The Black Lagoon
. It was produced by Jack Kevan, who helped create the Gill-Man suit, and employed several Universal employees who had been laid off. Pin-up star Jeanne Carmen and Don Sullivan starred.
Lighthouse keeper Sturges has been feeding a local sea monster. When the monster starts attacking people on land, his daughter Lucy and her boyfriend Fred, as well as the police, investigate. The monster kills people and kidnaps Lucy at the lighthouse. Fred, Sturges and the police encounter the Monster at the lighthouse and, after Sturges' death, are able to free Lucy and cause the Monster to fall into the sea.
I first heard of this movie when researching The Creature From The Black Lagoon
for these Creature Feature
posts, so this is the first time I've seen it. It's a definite B-movie. It has the usual deficiencies: wooden acting, poor dialogue, and questionable pacing. It lacks in atmosphere, which is a shame since it deals with a lighthouse, turbulent surf and shoreline caves. The only horror movie I can think of that really takes advantage of the lighthouse setting is The Fog
. It reaches its high points with a pretty good monster suit and some good shock scares. There is some darkness including the murder of a child which recalls the scene in Frankenstein
when the man carries his dead daughter. There's also a cheap From Here To Eternity
beach scene rip-off which will make you either chuckle or groan, or both. Jeanne Carmen is nice to look at and you can find enough unintentional humor to make the movie worth watching but the non-monster scenes can get boring. The Monster Of Piedras Blancas
isn't really a lost classic nor a "so-bad-its-good" movie, but it is worth watching for its shocking gore scenes and it's Creature-like suit.
The Opening. The scene shows the Monster taking meat scraps and then leads to two men in the monster's territory, setting the stage for the movie. It's a cliched beginning but it gives the viewer all he needs.
The authorities dealing with the two dead men. The corpses are described as having been decapitated and drained of blood. They are then brought in a wheelbarrow to the local store where they are kept in the fridge awaiting an autopsy. Small town life in the 50s.
The Monster appearing from the fridge carrying a severed head. This is THE scene of the movie and it was a shocker.
The ending. As The Monster carries Lucy to the ocean, her father chucks a lantern from the lighthouse and hits the Monster in the head, causing it to put her down and go after Sturges. Fred and the police show up. The Monster throws Sturges from the lighthouse and is later knocked from there itself.
The Monster Of Piedras Blancas trailer
The movie boasted that it won Famous Monsters Of Filmland
magazine's Shock Award. There is an article on the movie in issue 3
of that magazine but no mention of any award.
Jeanne Carmen was a pin-up model and trick-shot golfer. She would hustle people in Las Vegas who didn't believe she could play. She appeared in "A Merry Mix-Up" which is probably the only good Joe Besser Three Stooges
short. According to E! True Hollywood Story
, she was a friend of Marilyn Monroe and was told to leave town by mobster Johnny Rosselli after her death.
The Monster suit was worn by Ricou Browning in the Flipper
episode "Flipper's Monster" (1965).
You can watch The Monster Of Piedras Blancas
The Monster Of Piedras Blancas
Next time: The Uninvited