The Monster Of Piedras Blancas

The Monster Of Piedras Blancas (Irvin Berwick, 1959)

The monster, which looks like a nastier version of "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," invades a sleepy lighthouse town. The superstitious lighthouse keeper is worried for the safety of his beautiful teenage daughter, so he leaves food for the monster, who dwells in a nearby cave. When bodies wash up ashore, the locals take notice.

Recently released on a luscious Blu-Ray by Olive Films, The Monster Of Piedras Blancas is an Independent Horror movie that stars Jeanne Carmen, Les Tremayne, John Harmon, Don Sullivan, Forrest Lewis, and Pete Dunn. In the vein of the Universal monster flicks and the Hammer Films’ popularity, Irvin Berwick wrote and directed an Horror cult classic of schlock. With a taint of the good thing that made Ed Wood Jr.’s films pure enjoyment, MOPB has a violent monster, gore, nudity, and even the proposition of adult sexual encounters. Which was not as light as with today’s standards.

This 71 minutes feature film was presented in double bills with Okefenoke, a Bayou melodrama. The length of the movie makes it an entertaining ride that goes places you wouldn’t expect for a B-movie of the time. In fact, the B-movies of the 1950’s have some memorable moments like with Kiss Me Deadly. Smaller budgets demanded for more creativity to make more with less.

What’s important here is how MOPB is a Monster movie and doesn’t try to be anything else or deny its influences of The Creature Of The Black Lagoon. The visual signature is well rendered with the Blu-Ray transfer and Philip H. Latrop’s superb cinematography is one of the reasons to actually take this film more seriously. Latrop had a couple of Oscar nominations in his career and it is noticeable how he got to film the exterior with ease and how he used the light in these scenes. The lack of means is somewhat noticeable but more in the few takes they probably had and the few rehearsals. There is no second level to read the film and it is really and guilty pleasure but also a nice little cult movie that may have its own life in the initiated circles of film buffs.

Honestly, before receiving this in my promo bin I never heard about the film and this makes it more interesting to actually discover such an obscure film that just got released on Blu-Ray. 

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