Director: Irvin Berwick
Cast: Les Tremayne, Forrest Lewis, John Harmon
Production Company: Vanwick Productions
Runtime: 71 minutes
The 1950s were a wonderful time for monster movies. Most of them were meant to be nothing more than entertaining creature features. Some of them warned us of the dangers of radiation and war. The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959) may have predicted the sexual revolution.
In the movie, the people of a quiet coastal town are shocked when two local boys are found dead. No logical explanation can be found, so the townsfolk turn to legend to explain the event. Many believe that a monster is responsible…
The beast in this film is very reminiscent of the one in The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). That may be because Jack Klevan was the makeup artist on both films. However, there’s a more subtle correlation that goes beyond appearance. Both monsters likely represent sexual desire.
In both films, the monsters find themselves aroused by the female lead. They watch the women at first, and then eventually move on them. Their desires are primal, and represent the exact opposite of what civilized society would consider acceptable.
The Monster of Piedras Blancas takes the idea of sexuality beyond the confines of the film’s monster. Lucille (Jeanne Carmen) is a free spirit that openly loves Fred (Don Sullivan). She does this without any feelings of regret or shame. Their scenes together are provocative for the time.
Lucille’s father Sturges (John Harmon) is aware of the monster and tries to keep it secret. He tries to control the monster by privately feeding it. He tries to keep Lucille safe from the beast by sending her away to school. Through these events, the monster comes to represent his repressed sexuality.
The monster is nothing more than raging desire and eventually breaks free from Sturges’ control. Its former state of repression now leads to acts of violence. It eventually finds Lucille and carries her off. Her father fails once more to control the beast and its desires.
It should come as no surprise that the beast is defeated by Fred and Lucille, who represent a new way to express sexual desire. It’s also interesting that they overcome the monster by exposing it to a bright light. Lucille achieves all this dressed only in a negligee!
The ancient Romans presented white stones to the winners of athletic games. The monster is defeated, and the “piedras blancas” are rewarded to the victors of the movie’s sexual revolution. Then again, the film might just be a really cool creature feature…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…