Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Giant from the Unknown (1958)

Poster for Giant from the Unknown (1958)

Giant from the Unknown (1958) by #RichardECunha
#EdKemmer #SallyFraser #BobSteele #BuddyBaer

A very large, degenerate, Spanish conqueror is freed from suspended animation by lightning and goes on a killing spree in a small town.

“It Came From Another World to Terrorize the Lives of Hundreds”

“A Hideous Monster from Beyond the Grave!”

#Horror #SciFi

What can I say about Giant from the Unknown (1958)? It’s a step up from the last couple of movies I wrote about, but not a huge one. I had seen it once before, but had no memory of it. This may be a reflection of how unmemorable it is. When someone shared the poster for it on Twitter a while back, I got excited and thought “There’s a cool looking movie from 1958 that I’ve never seen!” And then I looked in my collection and discovered that it was there, in the definitely-watched-before-pile. This may be a reflection of how overly large my collection of movies is…

The problem with Giant from the Unknown (1958) is that the giant isn’t really big enough. You look at the poster and think, that guy’s the size of King Kong! He’s picking that woman up with one hand like she’s a rag doll. But when you watch the movie, you discover that he’s really just Buddy Baer without any kind trick photography to make him look bigger.

Don’t get me wrong, Buddy Baer is a big guy. He’s over 6’6″ according to the IMDb. But he won’t be picking up delivery vans as if they’re toys and eating their entire shipments of food in one gulp (see War of the Colossal Beast (1958)). No, he’s really just an ordinary (albeit larger than average) man.

The finny thing is, they don’t even make any effort to make him look as big as possible. They could have had him stand on a box whenever he’s next to other actors (or at least given him boots that add a few inches to his height). They could have dug a ditch for other actors to stand in when next to Buddy. Hell, they could have just had him stand up straight at all times.

There’s one scene in Giant from the Unknown (1958) in which Buddy leans through an open window of a cabin to grab someone outside the cabin. Now, he’s inside and we’re outside with his victim. He could have easily been standing on something inside the cabin. But I’m pretty sure he wasn’t. And because he’s leaning through the window, he’s not standing up at his full height. As a result, he basically looks like he’s the same height as the person he’s grabbing. This is a giant?

There are things to enjoy about Giant from the Unknown (1958). It has many of the stylistic touches that I like in a giant monster movie from the late 1950s. It just doesn’t have a giant monster. Still, it’s definitely the kind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that I used to watch on TV as a kid. And I do recall seeing Buddy Baer in other movies (often with Abbott and Costello), so there’s a bit of nostalgia in that. I wouldn’t rush into it, but you could certainly do worse than add Giant from the Unknown (1958) to a double or triple feature on some #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.