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Giant from the Unknown (1958) - Blu-ray Review

Giant from the Unknown (1958)

“Wayne!  Coffee break!”

Everything about Giant from the Unknown leads me to believe that it might be one of the films that influenced David Lynch to do what he does with film.  You've got buckets of hot coffee, a lizard in a rock, hallowed out lodges, crazy creatures walking out from thick forests, and a rather ridiculous sheriff trying to gather the usual suspects and they are all a bit touched in the head.

"It’s goofy.  It’s charming.  And, in a weird way, this film is very, very ripe with its fair share of cult cinema Americana"


If you’d live as long in the small mountain town of Pine Ridge, California as some of its sun-fried citizens then you’d understand their hysteria.  Devil’s Crag is cursed and the cattle mutilations are only the tip of the iceberg.  One of their own is found dead there and “Indian Joe” is rattling up the locals with a reminder of the alleged curse.

Something is happening in this town. 

Sheriff Parker (Bob Steele) suspects everyone in the town of breaking every bone in Harold Banks’ bruised body, especially Wayne Brooks (Ed Kremmer), a local geologist who once had strong words against Banks.  But Parker keeps casting about in the hopes to snag anyone and everything who might know anything about the gruesome happenings around the town.

When an archeologist, Dr. Cleveland (Morris Ankrum) and his daughter arrive in town, Brooks makes fast friends with them in an effort to deflate the bullheadedness of the sheriff and shore up his interest in the scientific.  The two start talking about the murders and the occurrences in the town over dinner and, when the burial ground is discussed and the evil spirits therein, both Brooks and Cleveland wind up discussing the whereabouts of the “Diablo Giant" Vargas and his Spanish expedition from 500 years ago.Giant from the Unknown (1958)

Coincidence?  It can’t be.  Not in this B-movie.  From lizards sealed inside rocks for a number of years thanks to suspended animation to robbing Native American graves in the search for a giant’s armor, the logic is skewed in favor of loading up the shovels again.  The horror is hollow throughout Giant from the Unknown, but that doesn’t make this quickie any less thrilling.

Everyone knows something is out there and, thankfully, we have the awesome make-up effects of Universal's Jack Pierce to guide us along the rocky edges of the unknown as we move closer and closer to the burial ground.  Warnings go unheeded and the long arm of the law tries to hold everyone in place as these two scientists attempt to go looking and lurking about for what ails the community.

Directed by Richard E. Cunha and produced by Marc Frederic and Arthur A. Jacobs, Giant from the Unknown is well-acted in that pulpy sense and competently made as horror gets sliced up in favor of science fiction shenanigans atop of the wilderness at San Bernardino National Forest.  We have electrical storms, Spanish trinkets, stone crosses made by Native Americans, and the resurrection of one pissed off giant who wears his old armor with pride.  It’s goofy.  It’s charming.  And, in a weird way, this film is very, very ripe with its fair share of cult cinema Americana as a Giant from the Unknown lives again!

This cult classic is back on blu-ray thanks to the Film Detective, but move quickly.  With only 1,500 Blu-ray copies made, you aren’t going to want to miss out on this gem.  Order your copy today!

5/5 beers

 

Giant from the Unknown (1958)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: The Film Detective
Available on Blu-ray
- January 21, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

A 500-year-old Spanish conquistador rises from the dead in this cult class you won't want to miss!  Dr. Frederick Cleveland (Morris Ankrum) and his daughter Janet (Sally Fraser) are joined by scientific researcher Wayne Brooks (Ed Kemmer) in the pursuit of ancient artifacts from Vargas, a giant 500-year-old Spanish conquistador. When a lightning storm interrupts their search, the team finds much more than artifacts when the long-lost Vargas returns to life, with a murderous rage and an axe to grind! Adding to its status as a classic sci-fi B-movie, Giant from the Unknown (1958) features make-up design from horror mainstay Jack Pierce, known for his work on Frankenstein (1931) and The Mummy (1932) and music from prolific B-movie veteran, Albert Glasser.

Video:

Resurrected from the original camera negative with a new 4K Transfer, the image looks incredible.  The scenes are loaded with crisp details never before noticeable and the locations are just as pebbled with new depth and clarity.  Sure, it’s a low budget film and was probably shot in less than 7 days, but none of the matters when you see the hand of the giant start to reanimate itself and shake off the dirt and the leaves of its burial in the ground.  The scene is amazing and so, too, is the work of The Film Detective in bringing this B-movie back from the dead.

Audio:

A LPCM Mono track provides the chills and spills on top of the hill in this flick.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Special Features:

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars


Film Details

Giant from the Unknown (1958)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
77 mins
Director
: Richard E. Cunha
Writer:
Frank Hart Taussig, Ralph Brooke
Cast:
Ed Kemmer, Sally Fraser, Bob Steele
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
A Hideous Monster from Beyond the Grave!
Memorable Movie Quote: "All white men die!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Astor Pictures Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 3, 1958
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 19, 2021.
Synopsis: Dr. Frederick Cleveland and his daughter Janet are joined by scientific researcher Wayne Brooks in the pursuit of ancient artifacts from Vargas, a giant 500-year-old Spanish conquistador. When a lightning storm interrupts their search, the team finds much more than artifacts when the long-lost Vargas returns to life, with a murderous rage and an axe to grind!

Art

Giant from the Unknown (1958)

 

 

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