Directed by: John Sherwood
Starring: Grant Williams, Lola Albright, Les Tremayne, Trevor Bardette, Phil Harvey
Nestled in the valley of a matte painting, is the sleepy little town of San Angelo. The residents of this outcropping of Norman Rockwelliana on the edge of the desert don’t know it, but they’re about to have a very big problem. Seems a very odd meteorite has crashed in the desert — a meteorite that has shattered into a lot of smaller rocks. And these are no ordinary rocks: Once they get wet, they spring up like an aquarium full of Magic Rocks — except they’re about the size of the Chrysler Building. Plus, they fall over and break into more rocks that, in turn, create more gigantic rocks that move inexorably forward, crushing everything in their path — and their path includes the town of San Angelo. Oh, and by the way, these big boys have the power to turn you into stone by sucking the silicon out of you. Don’t blame me, I didn’t write this. Fortunately, there are some intrepid geologists in town and they know a thing or two about rocks. Anything beyond that, however, requires outside help from a couple of guys who know more about these strange rocks. One of these boys gets himself petrified early on and, even with help, it takes the other one nearly half the movie to figure out that water is what activates the rocks. The question is can our heroes find a way to stop this marauding masonry before it’s too late? Well, you have to actually watch this kind of goofy bit of ‘50s B science fiction to find out. And really, it’s a little better than it sounds.
The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen The Monolith Monsters Thursday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.
In Brief: A meteorite crashes in the desert, breaks into pieces, which turn into skyscraper-sized protrusions when they get wet — which then fall over and break, growing more and more towering rocks. Worse, these rocks can turn any organism into solid stone. As concepts go, yes, this is pretty dumb even for 1950s sci-fi, but the idea is sufficiently novel to merit a look — and it’s played surprisingly straight-faced, which possibly makes it just that much more absurd.