Sunday Matinee: The Beast Of Hollow Mountain

beast_of_hollow_mountainThe Beast of Hollow Mountain is a mediocre 1956 western horror science fiction. It has some entertaining moments but it’s overall a forgettable film. But watching it did bring forth something that Hollywood is missing today. Where are the dinosaur movies?

Based on a idea from Willis O’Brien who was the special effects master for the original King Kong, the film was the first cowboys and dinosaurs movie. Yes that was a genre. A small genre with The Valley of Gwangi being the other.

Guy Madison stars as an American cowboy running a ranch in Mexico. He ranches near the Hollow Mountain where legend has it that a mysterious beast lives. Madison has been losing cattle and he blames another local rancher Eduardo Noriega who is trying to run him out of town. Noriega thinks that the American should go back to Texas where he belongs. Patricia Medina is the woman torn between the two men. As the melodrama reaches a boiling point where Noriega tries to thwart Madison’s plans to sell his cattle, the beast finally emerges, eating cattle and locals alike.

O’Brien was supposed to do the effects on this film but didn’t for some reason. The stop motion is just OK. Some scenes look terrible while others look decent. The dinosaur’s behavior is kind of modeled after a lizard, with its tongue flicking out constantly.

Back in the ’50s, ’60s and even the ’70s there was a steady stream of dinosaur themed movies. The beasts were on lost islands, underground valleys and frozen in ice only to be released by nuclear testing. Now that we have the technology for such effects, there has been a drought of dinosaurs in film. Other than Jurassic Park and its sequels, the last time I saw a dinosaur on the big screen that wasn’t in a cartoon or an IMAX film was in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. With Hollywood pumping out B movies as summer blockbusters you’d think there would be more dinosaurs. Oh well, I guess there’s another Jurassic Park on the way.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.