March 4th, 2012: Giant from the Unknown

Cast and Crew:  Jack P. Pierce (Make-Up); Albert Glasser (Score); Bob Steele

What It’s About:  After a storm frees him from suspended animation, Vargas (Buddy Baer), a giant mutineer from an expedition of Conquistadors, terrorizes an isolated area in the mountains of California.  Can geologist Wayne Brooks (Ed Kemmer) and anthropologist Dr. Frederick Cleveland (Morris Ankrum) figure out what’s going on in time to stop Vargas?

Why Watch it Today?:  Director Richard E. Cunha was born today in 1922.  Cunha began his career shooting newsreel footage in the army during the Second World War, then made industrial films and commercials before moving to early television productions and finally low-budget features in the late 1950s, making six strange but memorable B-movies from 1958-1964.  In many ways Giant from the Unknown could be any low-budget Western from the time period, with an upstanding stranger wrongly accused of crimes, forcing him to prove his innocence, although the “giant” (just a very large man in a big helmet) adds in comically bad science.  Helping provide interest is the spectacle of Ankrum playing a tweedy scientist type instead of his usual military role, and the hilariously awkward scenes of Dr. Cleveland stopping just short of acting as his daughter Janet’s (Sally Fraser) pimp when he encourages a relationship between her and Brooks.

Where to Get ItAmazon and Netflix

Other Choices:  Richard E. Cunha was the cinematographer on Bloodlust!

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