Giant from the Unknown

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

A peaceful little town in California is usually tranquil & serene, with the nearby mountain range offering a beautiful backdrop to the entire scheme. But that is all shattered when townsfolk begin to be hunted down & slaughtered, but some inhuman creature that defies all logic. This giant of a man was in suspended animation for hundreds of years, after he was searching for gold in the mountains, but now he is alive again and wants to kill all those in his path. In his previous life, he was a Spanish conquistador and a beast of one at that, but now he is an undead behemoth and he is very dangerous to all those around him. So as he stalks through the town with his ax, some unlucky residents are bound to fall under the blade and perhaps more each night. But is there a chance for the townies to stop this monster before all of them end up dead? Or is this beast destined to hack apart all those who dwell within his reach?

This film is geared toward the horror genre, what with the monster and the hacking and all that. But as a horror movie, it fails to no mortal end. It just isn’t scary in the least. I mean, minimal blood, a cheese laden monster, and of course, bad character acting that doesn’t make us like the innocent folks being killed. But in this case, the film works as an unintentional comedy and good news for us, it works very well in that vein. As I watch the movie, I can’t help but cheer for the “massive” 6’6″ monster as he hunts down various bad actors. The makeup used for the beast is decent enough, but then again given the low budget involved, I am surprised he has any makeup at all. It was done by the legend in the field of makeup, Jack Pierce, who also worked on films like Frankenstein for Universal. This one was made on less than a shoestring budget and it shows, but the film is still a lot of fun to watch if you ask me. If you like movies that are so bad, they’re good, then Giant From The Unknown is a flick you will want to check out.

This cult classic was directed by Richard E. Cunha, who knows how to make an entertaining low budget horror flick, that’s for sure. I’m sure some would scoff at the overall production values, but given the limited cash used I think Cunha delivered a terrific movie. Sure the effects aren’t advanced in the least and the acting is very over the top, but with a film of this type I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think we need to remember the lack of funds as we watch and instead of dissing the quality, we should marvel at how much Cunha and his crew did with so little. While Cunha might not have won any awards for his work in this film, I think he accomplished his goal of making a fun movie to watch. Cunha made five films in total and yet, he is remembered as one of the best cult directors of his time, which is a real compliment. If you want more Cunha classics then check out Missile To The Moon, Frankenstein’s Daughter, She Demons, and Girl In Room 13. The cast of Giant From The Unknown includes Ed Kemmer (Earth vs. The Spider), Bob Steele (Hang ‘Em High), Sally Fraser (North by Northwest), Morris Ankrum (Kronos), and Buddy Baer (Africa Screams).

Video: How does it look?

Giant From The Unknown is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the intended aspect ratio. This is a smooth transfer, much cleaner and sharper than you might expect from a low budget cult film from the ’50s. I saw surprisingly few instances of debris on the print, while the image shows no problems due to age in the least. This is a nice black & white image, black levels are dead on and detail level seems high at all times. There is some grain evident throughout, but never to the extreme that I was distracted. Another cult classic is given a terrific transfer, thanks to the folks at Image Entertainment.

Audio: How does it sound?

The original mono track is used on this disc and while it isn’t flashy, it gets the job done in fine form. The dialogue comes across very well, with crisp vocals and no problems with harshness in the least. Some sound effects can be found and while they don’t blow the speakers out, they have a rich sound to them. I also found no volume issues with this mix, so I never had to fiddle with the remote to be able to hear it all. You won’t be amazed with this track by any means, but you will hear a clean, clear version of this film.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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