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The Monolith Monsters (1957)
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:08 am    Post subject: The Monolith Monsters (1957) Reply with quote




Famed director Jack Arnold penned the original story on which this stand-out sci fi film was based, directed with style and competence by John Sherwood from a screenplay by Norman Jolley and Robert M. Fresco.

The concept is quite original. In an isolated desert town, the fragments of a meteorite cause a series of mysterious deaths. When water comes in contact with the meteor fragments, they begin to grow like crystals.










When people touch the fragments, it converts their bodies to stone. Unaware of the meteorite's properties, hero Grant Williams ("The Incredible Shrinking Man") and his fiance Lola Albright try to discover the cause of the bizarre deaths.







A brief rain shower dramatically escalates the crisis, causing the meteorite fragments at the impact sight to grow rapidly out of the ground, forming tall black monoliths hundreds of feet high. When each monolith becomes too tall to stand, it topples over and breaks, crushing buildings and people. New crystals grow from the pieces, and the whole process repeats itself. The rapid rate of the crystals' expansion threatens to cover the surface of the Earth if their growth isn't stopped.







Fine music by Joseph Gershenson. Excellent makeup by Bud Westmore. Amazing special effects by Clifford Stine ("This Island Earth", "Tarantula", many others). The literate script uses scientific references much more accurately that most 1950s films.





Despite the film's intelligence, it doesn't make the mistake of taking itself too seriously. Watch for a funny scene with William Schallert as a meteorologist. The superb acting and the eerie atmosphere make "The Monolith Monsters" one of the true treats of the 1950s science fiction genre.
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has been one of my more fondly remembered movies from childhood that hasn't lost its appeal with age as so many others have. The scenes of the towering crystals in the distance, slowly advancing on the town, seemingly unstoppable, evokes an eerie feeling akin to that of the "slow zombie" movies popular today. You know you can outrun 'em, but you also know you can't keep it up forever.

I also get a kick out of the old '50s sensationalism in the movie's poster. "SEE: The monsters feeding upon water!" Ooh! Ooh!

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Oh my, how I envy you, Wayne. Sad

I've loved this movie since the day I first saw it — which was in 1979 when I was 31 years old. And this was what I watched it on, a 1965 Magnavox 12" TV I'd had since I was 17.



However, I'd read about it for years, and I knew enough of the film's technical details to appreciate what a marvelous movie it was, so I enjoyed it tremendously.

But if I'd seen it at drive-in with my family in 1957 at the tender age of 9 (instead of the more jaded age of 31), I'd probably have become a geologists, and this message board would be called All Geo Facts instead of All Sci-Fi.

But one thing we can definitely agree on: this movie rocks! Wink

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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was one of the rare "monster" movies in which I didn't have to "cover my eyes". Very Happy
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Enjoy the exciting trailer for this great movie.


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_________ The Monolith Monsters Official Trailer


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Zackuth
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw this for the first time in my late teens, 15 or 16, and have been a fan ever since. While not really monsters, the crystals do pose a monstrous threat. I hadn't seen it for many years, late 80's or early 90's until about 6 months ago. It's still an effective movie.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2016 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Give me a good solid science fiction story any day over a horror movie with little more than just a monster! This one offers a concept worth pondering. and a story that requires intelligent problem solving to save the world.

Okay, not the world. Just all the Americas.

The story makes it clear that the crystals would continue to grow up and crash down until they had covered every square meter of the land directly connected to the area where the meteor landed, wiping out all life in North America, Central America, and South America.






The birds would survive, of course, but the ecosystem would collapse and they would have to migrate to the parts of the world where the crystals hadn't covered the land.

Sea life would survive no matter what, since the crystals don't grow in salt water. And for that reason the rest of the world would be safe.

Hopefully.






But wait a minute . . .

What about the possibility that foreign nations would try to use the crystals as a weapon against their enemies. Crystal fragments dropped from several airplanes at night into a large lake would become a wave of destruction by morning, and stopping them before they had destroyed hundreds of square miles would be almost impossible.






If the county that dropped the crystals was located near on the coast of an ocean or sea and had planned their attack carefully, they could be ready to pump sea water onto the advancing crystals when they approached the borders of their own country.

Sound crazy? Of course! But people are crazy. War is crazy. Dropping nuclear weapons that poison the land and cause massive clouds of radiation to drift across the globe . . . is crazy.

So, I think the threat of weaponized crystals could happen. What do you guys think? Confused

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The Monolith Monsters are real!

Watch this video of the ice in Minnesota moving onto shore from the lake, pushed slowly by the wind. Look closely when it shows a close-up of the leading edge fo the advancing ice at about the 40 second mark. Slender shards of ice are falling forward in front of the mass, just like miniature Monolith Monster!








___Glaciers Visit Izatys Resort - Mille Lacs Lake, MN


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While watching that video I was amazed by the way nobody seemed to realize that if there was enough force to shove tons ice along the ground, the houses were NOT going to completely stop it when the moving mass reached them!

This news report of the event shows what happened to the houses we see there (and in other places) as the ice continued to advance. Yes indeed, this is a lot like the Monolith Monsters!!!


'Ice Tsunami' Video, Photos: Wall of Ice Rises Out of Lake, Destroys Homes


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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

And just what would I do if my house stood in the way of these advancing ice crystals?






Well, I actually suggested a solution to that problem in my posts above about the weaponization of the Monolith Monster crystals. I said that seawater could be pumped onto the advancing crystals when they reached the border of the country they had destroyed, to prevent them from advancing into the country which had used them as a weapon.

With that in mind, here's how I'd stop the advance of the destructive ice crystals shown above and save the real estate along the lake shore.

Large amounts of salt could be deposited by dump trucks in the path of the advancing ice, and then fire trucks could spray water onto the piles of salt when the slowly moving ice reached them.

The salt would be dissolved by the relatively warm water from the fire hoses, and the leading edge of the ice crystals would be melted by the warmer salty water. Since the air temperature during these events is barely below freezing, the salt water would not freeze, because salt water has a freezing point of 28?? instead of 32??.

As the ice continued to move forward and merge with the salt water, it would eventually dilute it to the point where it would begin to freeze. But in doing so it would form a solid wall of ice several feet high that stopped the advance of the ice crystals! Very Happy

At this point, more salt could be dumped atop the wall of solid ice, and more fresh water could be sprayed onto the piles of salt. The moving mass of ice crystals would again merge with the salty water as it was forced over the top of the ice wall, and the wall would grow higher!

Eventually the conditions causing this bizarre wind-driven phenomenon would cease to exist, and the Monolithic Ice Monsters would be defeated by the wall of solid ice!

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

After finding newspaper ads for double features of 20 Million Miles to Earth / The 27th Day, The Colossus of New York / The Space Children, and Earth vs the Flying Saucers / The Werewolf, I went looking for double feature ads for this movie.

I found these two. Very Happy








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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GETTING TO KNOW OUR FAVORITE MONSTERS!
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I love the concept in this movie, and I wondered if there was a video that showed something similar to the crystal-growing process we see in the film.

This one is pretty close. Enjoy! Very Happy

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_____________________ Crystal Time Lapse


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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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________ The Monolith Monsters | Trailer | 1957


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Bill Warren, in his book Keep Watching the Skies, calls this "one of the last reasonably serious SF films from Universal."

I found it to be on the slow side when I watched it as a kid, and not even very comprehensible, but I think that's because it is a bit more adult in nature than usual with these films.

This has an unusual alien invasion — alien rocks that grow when it rains, and that's when it gets really serious, as the alien rocks grow to the size of skyscrapers.




This takes place in one of those desert town locations, a la Tarantula. It all begins with a meteor.

A geologist (Phil Harvey) is the first victim of the (currently) small mysterious black fragments of rock. Another geologist (Grant Williams, the star of The Incredible Shrinking Man) finds him in a petrified state.

It's eventually discovered that the alien rocks absorb silicon. Silica is a substance in human skin which keeps it supple.

So, don't get these rocks wet! But, then the rains come . . . Shocked

This is the weird concept. The now-huge rocks topple, and the broken fragments grow into new huge monoliths. That's how they move.

BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10



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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

This is yet another fine review by BoG, but his rating of 6.5 out of 10 certainly does not agree with my high opinion of this excellent science fiction movie.

His comments are complimentary, but he doesn't praise the merits of this fine film as he should have. Confused

This is a "pure" science fiction story, with admirable concepts and fantastic scenes that I found very exciting the first time I watched it — and this didn't happen until the early 1980s when I was in my thirties! Shocked

I'd read about the movie for years, and the premise fascinated me! But it was one of the very last 1950s sci-fi movies I manage to finally see — and one of the most intelligent movies from the Golden Age!

I can only imagine how I would have loved this movie if I'd seen it at a drive-in in 1957. But despite my late exposure to it, this movie remains one of my favorites from the 1950s.

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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great movie this was to a teen-age sci-fi fan!

First of all....No creepy crawlers or alien bad guys....Just a realistic chemical, dare I say, environmental, source of disaster! Great characterizations, good acting, convincing special effects....This had it all!

I first saw it while babysitting for a cousin of mine in the 60's. I was so impressed by the sheer intelligence of the story that I refused to take any payment for the duty. The chance to see this film was payment enough.

Definitely a "B" movie...But one worth watching....And re-watching. A perfect example of the BEST of it's genre!

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Maurice
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, the entire film is up on The Internet Archive (link).

One thing I find funny about the film is that they say everyone who comes in contact with the rock dies, and they keep handling the stuff. Smile
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