The Monster of Piedras Blancas, 1959. Dir. Irvin Berwick Watched on YouTube, so you don’t have to.
I was attracted to this film by the title, which sounds more like a holiday destination than a monster movie. It was a toss-up between this and The Eye People, which sounded… I don’t know… too ophthalmic. Apparently the monster suit in this one was made by the same person who did The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Mole People, which is nice to have on your CV, along with clean driving licence and contact number.
By the way – talking CVs – I see that the actress who plays Lucille Sturges is Jeanne Carmen, listed on Wiki as ‘model, actress and trick-shot golfer’. Which is quite possibly the greatest three line CV I’ve EVER read.
Opening shot: A moody looking lighthouse. Are they ever anything other than moody? And whilst we’re talking about lighthouses… and CVs…. you’d really have to modify your work history and character profile pretty carefully to stand a chance of getting a job in one. ‘Fully qualified electrician with a head for heights, beards and clay pipes; enjoys raging on stormy balconies, battling with demons, knitting…
The music enhances the moodiness, of course. A lot of brass & timpany. Low note, thunderous stuff. A piccolo would give you COMPLETELY the wrong idea.
00:07 Cut to: a claw reaching up over a rock to grab what looks like a chamber pot. I mean – when you gotta go, you gotta go…
00:15 But then the pot gets chucked back, empty (thankfully).
00:20 Back in the lighthouse, a knock-off Gene Hackman on the ketone diet – actually Sturges, the lighthouse keeper – steps outside, scans the horizon, checks his watch. Buttons up his lighthouse keeper jacket (which is just like a normal jacket, except it’s got a huge collar, and deep pockets for pipes, knitting needles and the collected poems of William Blake)
00:36 Two men are walking along the cliff edge with fishing rods (I hope they’ve got enough line then). Sturges tells them to beat it, then he wobbles off into town on a bike with a basket on the front. The music is blaring, like wobbling off on a bike with a basket on the front is about as heroic and dangerous as crossing the alps on an elephant. Which it may be, I’ve not done it.
01:00 We get a piano run as the camera falls over the cliff and crashes into the waves as the title comes up in block letters: The Monster of Piedras Blancas. Which I google translated and apparently means: The Monster of White Stones (which sounds less terrifying, more medical)
01:11 The cast list is all ‘The Doctor’ or ‘The Storekeeper’ etc, which sounds like they’re keeping the characters at arm’s length. Which may or not be a good thing.
01:18 BTW, The Monster of Piedras Blancas is played by The Monster of Piedras Blancas, apparently. Who I haven’t seen in any other movies, so maybe they gave up acting and went into politics.
Favourite name so far? Lighting by Tom Ouellette. Sounds like one of those joke books: A Short History of Lavatories by T. Ouellette.
01:47 Cut to: a bunch of people on the shore standing round a small boat (really more like a tin bath if I’m honest). A guy with a hat looks inside it, takes off his hat and scratches his head, so I’m guessing he’s a cop. ‘Never saw anything like it in my life’ he says.
‘Head ripped clean off’ says Jake, a lunk in a leather jacket, with a measure of respect in his voice, like he appreciates a job well done. ‘Wha d’ya think, constable?’ he says to the ha guy.
‘I don’t know what to think,’ says The Sheriff (so I suppose Jake was just being Jake when he called him Constable, then). ‘We’ll know better after an autopsy’
02:03 Sturges stops by on his bike.
‘I bet ol’ Sturges knows more than he’ll tell’ says Jake, grimacing and nodding at the same time, which is good for Jake. They talk about how the boat must’ve drifted. One of the other bystanders says he doesn’t think Sturges knows anything.
‘You wanna bet?’ says Jake.
‘Oh…’ says the guy, batting the air between ‘em (the approved way of flagging dissent amongst guys on beaches).
02:38 Sturges wobbles up to Kochek’s Store: Meat AND Groceries (which explains the basket – although – wouldn’t you need TWO baskets?). An extra walks by like a robot, her arms straight down by her sides. A huge key in her back (I wouldn’t be surprised). No doubt that was the best take of ninety.
02:54 ‘I need some supplies’ says Sturges.
Kochek slaps a ledger down on the counter. He’s got a pencil gaffered to the side of his head, so I’m guessing it must get pretty windy out that way.
‘You see what happened to the Renaldi brothers?’ he says, quite cheerily. ‘It was me that found them. I went out on the pier to look at my lobster traps… I saw the boat low in the water… their throats cut… funny thing, there wasn’t much blood…’
‘Did that lens cleaner come in I ordered?’ says Sturges.
BTW : listening to Kochek speak, I think he was born in Italy, lived in Poland a while, moved to Newfoundland via Brooklyn. All with a pencil gaffered to his head.
‘Anyting else?’ says Kochek.
‘Just my week’s meat scraps,’ says Sturges.
Kochek mentions the legend of the Monster of Piedras Blancas. ‘It would explain many things that have happened around here in the last thirty years.’ (Including the lack of lens cleaner?)
Looks like Kochek gave the meat scraps to someone else.
‘You’ll be sorry for this,’ says Sturges.
‘That’ll be three dollars,’ says Kochek.
Suddenly Jake and another lunk come in, pushing a handcart with a tarp over it.
‘Where do we put ‘em?’ he says.
‘The ice room,’ says Kochek.
Which might explain the meat scraps.
05:35 Sturges wheels his bike fifty yards to The Wings Cafe: Steaks, Seafood. Lucille is behind the bar.
‘Good morning Dad’ she says, helpfully.
‘You left early this morning, Lucille.’
‘I had to open up.’
‘I got the supplies so you won’t have to shop’
(The subtext to all this is killing me. The actor playing Sturges manages to convey so much with such a small moustache. It’s a masterclass).
‘Be home before dark,’ he says. ‘I got some nice liver. You always like that.’
But Lucille has to work late (great excuse to swerve the liver).
‘I don’t like you coming home after dark.’
‘Oh – I’ll be alright. Fred’ll bring me.’
Close up on Fred, a guy with slick hair who’s either smouldering or having a stroke.
The Sheriff is at the end of the bar. He wants a word. The Renaldi boys always fished out at the point. Had he seen them?
‘There was a squall last night,’ says The Sheriff. ‘What time did you activate the foghorn?’
‘I blew from 11:30 til dawn,’ says Sturges. (I bet he blows longer than that).
The Sheriff talks to Lucille. (His ears trouble me. They bend out at the top, like he’s been shoving his hat on too vigorously all these years).
08:11 Fred invites Lucille to come out to the point to ‘pick some specimens’
‘Gee I’d love to, but…’
(I’m guessing she’s picked specimens with Fred before).
But then she changes her mind and says she’ll come. And she’ll bring sandwiches. Because you can work up quite an appetite picking specimens.
08:41 The Sheriff goes to see The Doctor. You can tell he’s a doctor because he’s got no hair and a bow tie. He comes out of the autopsy room shaking his head, which is never a good sign from a bald-headed, bow-tie wearing doctor. He’s followed by Kochek, with an even BIGGER pencil gaffered to his head.
‘The heads were severed from the trunks’ says The Doctor. ‘Death was instantaneous.’
Somehow The Doctor manages to write on a notepad whilst talking to The Sheriff. (Have you ever tried to write something and talk about something else? I wanna see that pad!)
‘It may have been a freak accident,’ says The Doctor, ‘…or we may have a lunatic on our hands’
(I like the way his eyebrows go up in the middle when he says this. I could never be an actor because I don’t have such precise control).
10:04 Cut to: Lucille and Fred walking along a cliff top, arm in arm, Fred carrying a basket filled with sandwiches and whatever else you need to pick specimens – don’t know – never done it.
‘Let’s try this,’ says Fred, looking out over some rocks. Violins are playing, everything romantic and lovely – a million miles away from a liver dinner with her grumpy lighthouse keeper dad.
It does look cold, though, like they shot in November. Another reason I could never be an actor. OR a specimen picker.
10:44 They make themselves comfortable on the freezing cold beach. Fred actually takes his jacket off. AND his t-shirt. Is he going swimming? Jesus Christ! At this point I’m more worried about hypothermia than any monster.
Lucille takes out a danish pastry the size of a dustbin lid, takes a tiny bite, and then pretends to chew it a lot – which is another reason I couldn’t be an actor, because I couldn’t resist tucking into a Danish pastry and then screwing my lines up because of the icing.
Fred goes straight for the pickles.
‘The whole town’s against Dad and all HE wants is to be left alone,’ says Lucille, fake chewing.
Fred gnaws his pickle thoughtfully.
‘Well sometimes in a small town that’s asking too much,’ he says.
Then tosses the pickle.
‘I better get going or I’ll never get any specimens,’ he says.
He picks up some jars, a pair of goggles and strides heroically towards the water.
12:12 Cut to: Sturges, coming out of the lighthouse with the old chamber pot we saw in the first few frames. He scrambles down the cliff. Chains it to a rock and scatters the contents – some old fish, maybe some liver (probably – Lucille doesn’t want it).
12:53 Back on the beach, Fred is crawling through the surf towards Lucille, who’s sunning herself (WHAT sun?) on a rock. She falls in the water and they kiss. Racy for 1959, I suppose. If two characters kiss, they have to do it in the surf.
13:19 In the cafe, The Sheriff is telling The Doctor he doesn’t know what to think, he hasn’t got one thing to go on except ‘two mangled corpses and a busted-up boat’ (which sounds like quite a bit, to be honest, but that’s why I couldn’t be a Sheriff, because essentially I’m too optimistic).
The Doctor is also confused because there was no blood left in the bodies, like they’d been pumped dry or something. He says he doesn’t think it’s a monster, though. Just ‘a logical explanation we haven’t found yet.’ (Which doesn’t rule a monster OUT, though).
14:23 On the beach again. Lucille is lying under a blanket and Fred is resting against her at right angles – which sounds weirdly geometric, but that’s the level of thought that went into sex scenes in the 1950s. If Fred reached for another pickle at this point the censors would go NUTS.
14:35 Back to Wings Cafe. The Sheriff striding out and pushing his hat too hard down on his ears. He goes into Kochek’s store. Kochek is warning a customer about monsters, then hands her a bag of meat scraps or something and wishes her a pleasant afternoon.
The Sheriff orders Kochek to stop spreading rumours or he’ll lock him up to prevent riots. (America hasn’t changed much in sixty years, I’m afraid, give or take a monster).
16:04 Lucille and Fred pull up outside Wings in a battered Jeep (which looks perfect for specimen picking). The Sheriff follows them inside. He seems to spend half his life in Wings, half in Kochek’s. Doesn’t he HAVE an office?
16:30 Sturges is busy cleaning the lamp.
‘That Kochek’s an idiot!’ he says.
(Who’s he talking to? The LAMP? Mind you – he IS a lighthouse keeper, so…)
Actually – he’s talking to his dog, Ring.
‘I ordered that cleaner a month ago’ he says. Ring shrugs. He knows only too well the distribution problems coastal towns can be prone to. It was the subject of his PhD.
Sturges tells Ring he’s worried about Lucille coming home after dark. Ring agrees. It’s a difficult problem, but not one he’s especially worried about, being a dog.
17:42 Okay it’s dark now.
Fred drives Lucille home in his jeep. He puts the handbrake on and they kiss (safe sex, people). When they stop kissing, Lucille has a look that suggests she’d rather be kissing a whole other specimen. Maybe it’s the pickles.
We get some back story. The Doctor had refused to come out to see Lucille’s mum during a storm. In the morning she was dead. Not a great look.
Lucille invites Fred down onto the beach, but he has to go home and prepare his specimens. He offers to walk her to the lighthouse but she says she’ll be alright. (Erm…). He drives off.
It’s such a lovely, freezing evening, Lucille decides to go down to the beach. She goes behind a rock and chucks off her clothes for a skinny dip. Her pants blow away (which isn’t surprising – they’re enormous).
Whilst Lucille revels in the appallingly cold water, the claw appears from the rocks and fondles her clothes. A bit like Fred, then, but with claws.
Her Dad calls to her from the cliff top.
Lucille runs out of the sea back to the rocks.
We can hear heavy breathing off camera whilst she gets dressed. Or maybe that’s the film censors, not sure.
But no – Lucille can hear it, too. She speeds up.
21:35 Cut to: Sturges in a rocking chair, reading a book on lamps, or Dogs and Urban Planning or something. Checks his fob watch. Where’s Lucille?
She’s made it back up to the lighthouse, approaching the front door. She looks back, like she thinks she’s being followed.
She walks into the parlour.
‘You’re late, Lucille’ says Sturges.
‘Tonight I had the strangest idea I had a visitor…’ says Lucille.
Sturges stops rocking and looks worried.
‘What do you mean?’ he says, closing his book.
‘I just got the feeling someone was watching me,’ she says.
She goes to bed.
Sturges grabs his jacket.
23:38 Meanwhile, we see the shadow of The Monster on a wall in town. It looks like it’s attempting a dance routine, which might explain the heavy breathing. Kochek is working late in his store, trying to find his pencil. The Monster heads for the store. Close-up of Kochek looking up and seeing the claw rear over him. Kochek looks horrified – the Monster doesn’t have store credit, I’m guessing.
24:07 Cut to: the bell on the town church ringing. Never a good sign.
Townspeople come out carrying a coffin that looks more like a boat than the boat did in the opening scene. Actually – make that TWO coffins. Which is either the Rinaldi brothers, or Kochek and his pencil.
The guys have hats but the women don’t. Why?
They carry the coffins past Kochek’s store. Where are they taking them? To Wings Cafe? (Might explain the Steaks sign…)
I beg your pardon. You see some women coming out of the church and they ARE wearing hats. But fashionable hats. Not practical hats. Why?
A woman stops with her nine year old son outside Kochek’s.
‘Jimmy? You don’t have to come to the cemetery,’ she says. Then leaves him.
He sits outside the store, takes out a lockknife and starts whittling a stick. (Different times).
He sees a quarter on the pavement, so he picks it up and goes into the store to buy some bullets for his handgun or maybe some gum. He seems to have a limp, which may or may not be significant.
Goes up to the counter and rings the bell.
Limps out back.
Sees Mr Kochek’s feet sticking out from the counter.
Hops back out in a hurry.
Hops all the way to the cemetery.
Just as The Doctor is about to read from the bible, Jimmy hops over the horizon calling ‘Murder!’
‘It’s Mr Kochek! I went into his store to buy some candy, and he was lying in his office. And mum… he didn’t have a head!’
All the mourners want to rush back to town, but The Doctor says they’re not done yet and he needs to read the Lord’s Prayer. The Sheriff runs back with a guy in a plaid shirt I think I’ve seen before but don’t know his name sorry.
Actually it’s Eddie.
Eddie looks like he’s going to be sick. He’s never seen his boss Mr Kochek without his pencil like that.
Fred rocks up in the jeep (hardest working jeep in the business). He runs inside the store, ignoring poor Eddie sitting outside mopping his brow.
‘Is that Kochek?’ says Fred. ‘The same way?’
‘Complete transection of all the veins and arteries, plus the oesophagus, the trachea and the spinal cord…’ says The Doctor. (Showing off, but he’s worked damn hard for that bow tie and bald patch, so why not?)
‘I couldn’t have done a cleaner job myself,’ he adds. Worryingly.
The Doctor finds something on the counter.
‘Fred! What d’you make of this?’
‘It looks like a fish gill but it’s too big!’
They march out of the store.
‘Put the body in the ice room, Eddie!’ says The Doctor. (Poor Eddie! He’s the one feeling queasy and they give him the worst job).
30:32 The Doctor and Fred are examining the fish gill back at the Doctor’s place while The Sheriff smokes a cigar and taps out an irritating tune on the piano (he HATES taking a back seat in anything).
After a lot of peering into microscopes and comparing slides, eventually they come to a conclusion. The gill is the same as one from a diplovertebron.
‘What is a diplovertebron!’ says The Sheriff, half choking on his cigar.
‘It’s a prehistoric, amphibious reptile thought to be extinct…’ explains The Doctor, who knows about this shit. As well as all the neck shit.
The Sheriff gets so riled up his ears flap.
‘I’m no good here!’ he snaps. ‘I may as well get back to the cafe..’
Suddenly Lucille runs in. Someone’s hurt (she says his name – no idea who it is – names don’t seem to work in this film). Apparently whoever it is got hurt and is lying on some rocks. (Sorry to be so vague. I’m worse than The Sheriff. But at least my ears are in better shape).
The Doctor gives her a sedative, then they all jump in the jeep, The Sheriff and Doctor perched on the back. In fact, when Fred takes off I’m worried they’ll just roll right off it – which they probably did a few times and would’ve definitely made it to the blooper reel.
33:12 Actually the injured party is Sturges. He’s lying on his back at the bottom of the cliff with his jeans all ripped up. Which can definitely happen if you fall off a cliff.
The men all rush down to him (Lucille’s too sedated so she stays up top).
They help him up. Then we cut to them helping in the front door of the lighthouse, which is convenient, as it must’ve been difficult manhandling him up a goddamn cliff (although I’m grateful for the cut, as there’s only so much cliff action I can take. Without sedatives.)
They lay him on the sofa.
‘Would anybody like some coffee?’ says Lucille. I mean – her Dad’s lying on the sofa, critically ill but still, she knows what The Sheriff’s like.
She comes back in with a tray of coffee in the time it takes for The Doctor to get his stethoscope out. So the sedative must be wearing off.
Lucille notices that Ring isn’t around. Hasn’t been all morning. (Maybe has an office job he hasn’t told ‘em about).
Lucille goes outside to call Ring (I know – just heard it). Nothing.
Goes back inside.
The guys discuss what may or may not have happened. Then The Doctor gives Lucille some pills for her Dad to take and after some mutual hat handling they leave. Fred stays with Lucille. They have some cold coffee. Talk about her Dad not being sick that much and how’ll he handle this. Listen. I DON’T CARE. Forty minutes into a seventy minute monster movie and all we’ve seen are two shots of a claw and a dancing shadow on a storefront. It’s not good enough. I demand action. Ring had the right idea. Ring is probably in a Lassie movie right now, living it up. God damn you all to hell.
38:02 Lucille is drinking some coffee.
Fred puts his hand on her shoulder – almost making her spill the coffee. AND THIS IS THE MOST EXCITEMENT WE’VE HAD IN THE LAST TEN MINUTES.
38:15 Sturges wakes up.
‘What happened?’ he says.
(Honestly? Not much)
Lucille goes to make her dad some broth (he’s too sick for liver).
Fred chats to him.
‘There’s been another murder.’
‘He talked too much.’
No wonder Sturges doesn’t have many friends.
Fred asks him about the legend. Sturges talks about the old rocks, settlers, superstitions blah blah, snore. Apparently there are caves at the point no-one’s allowed to look in because it’s government land or something. Fred wants to take a look but Sturges doesn’t want him to go. Then falls asleep. I prefer Sturges when he’s asleep. Or on his bike. Most other situations, shrug…
41:09 The Doctor and The Sheriff pull up outside the Cafe in Fred’s jeep (does he KNOW?)
The townspeople approach them, someone carrying a body wrapped in a sheet. They lay the body on a table in the cafe. It’s the body of a child.
‘Where was she going?’ says The Sheriff, like it’d be worse if she wasn’t going anywhere particular.
‘Her mother sent her to the store’ says the man, the child’s father. The script probably asks that he act ‘shocked’ – but what we get is someone utterly without motivation or plausibility. Or maybe that’s how shock manifests itself. I don’t know – I’m not bald or wear a bow tie. Although I am a BIT bald. I don’t know why you’d even mention that. Especially at a sensitive time like this.
‘C’mon. Let’s go check with Eddie,’ says The Sheriff – giving the child’s father a squeeze of the shoulders as if to say – don’t worry, we’ll getcha some acting lessons.
42:22 ‘The broth’ll be ready in a minute’ says Lucille, sitting on the sofa with Fred. (Broth is more complicated than coffee).
Lucille tells Fred why her dad sent her away to boarding school. Apparently she went off to play in the caves even though he said not to.
Fred wants to check out the caves to see if there’s anything to the legend. Lucille doesn’t like the idea because it means disobeying her father. In fact, Lucille is so mad with him she says he shouldn’t come here again.
She’s crazy. I’ve never seen a man handle a pickle with that level of confidence. She’s throwing her chances away.
44:55 The Sheriff, Doctor and two assorted townspeople are in Kochek’s store shouting for Eddie. The Sheriff goes into the ice room – starts screaming. Something roars (I’m guessing not Eddie). The Sheriff staggers back out clutching his stomach. He’s followed by The Monster, swinging Eddie’s head like it’s a Gucci handbag (read that last phrase back very slowly – it adds to the effect).
At last! Some monster action!
A townsperson goes to swing an axe, but the claw thumps him one (the sound effect is just like the sound of Ring jumping on the sofa).
The Monster must’ve left the store, because the injured Sheriff and the Doctor have time to inspect the axe blade. It has a giant gill stuck to it.
46:37 The Doctor stays to help the injured townsperson-who-swung-the-axe (look in the credits); The Sheriff staggers out to the jeep to drive off and find Fred.
46:48 Fred is actually down on the coast about to explore the caves. He examines the chain Sturges uses to fix the chamberpot. Fred picks up a stick and heads further in.
47:19 The Sheriff runs into the lighthouse.
‘Lucille! I’ve got to see Fred!’
‘There’ve been two more murders!’
‘Oh no,’ she says. ‘Who?’
She sounds peeved. I suppose depending who he says has been murdered will determine the level of her next response.
‘Eddie, and Will’s little girl,’ says The Constable.
‘How did it happen?’ says Lucille, still needing a little more info before she’ll commit.
‘I haven’t time now,” says The Sheriff. ‘Keep the door locked. There’s a creature on the loose.’
‘Alright,’ says Lucille.
She doesn’t sound convinced.
47:45 Fred heads into the cave with his stick. The Sheriff taps him on the shoulder and Fred almost hits him with it (the stick, not his shoulder).
‘We’ve found our killer!’ says The Sheriff. ‘He’s almost seven feet tall! He’s inhuman – got tremendous strength…’
They head back up the cliff to the jeep.
I know, right.
The Sheriff seems to have gotten over his terrible injuries. He runs like he always did, like a heifer with a split hoof.
48:46 Lucille takes some broth into her dad. I mean, I know there’s a monster on the loose and a film to shoot and everything, but good nutrition for the sick is very important.
49:05 The Sheriff and Fred rock up to Wings Cafe, where Jake is standing with some other guys. They’ve all got rifles. The Sheriff and Fred run inside Wings, dodge behind the counter, and pull out a rifle and some pistols for themselves (what kinda town IS this?)
They all head off to the beach.
The Sheriff gives orders to the posse. They all run in different directions; The Sheriff and Fred head for the caves.
50:13 Standing outside one of the caves, they hear something that sounds like bones crunching. The Sheriff nudges Fred; they raise their weapons and head in.
The Sheriff turns his torch on. They see Eddie’s head being snacked on by a crab.
Fred shoots the crab.
They hear warning shots from the other guys.
50:34 A strangely speeded up shot of the guys running across sand. Although to be fair, it takes so long running on sand it might try the audience’s patience. More than the broth, the coffee and well… the rest of the goddamn movie.
One of the posse is dead, the other badly injured.
‘Let’s take him back for medical attention,’ says Fred, hauling him to his feet. The Sheriff says they’ll look for The Monster in the morning. He tells the other guys to bring the dead body with them. He’s got his hands full, what with the torch, his cigar and everything.
51:02 Lucille is still trying to get her dad to eat the goddamn broth. She spoon feeds him it. Which is weird. I think Fred had a narrow escape there. Lucille puts the spoon down and asks her dad what he knows. We get a big moustache-grade monologue about how he used to go for long walks after his wife died, found a cave at low tide, went through, thought he was being watched, heard heavy breathing, put his pants back on, swam back out again, left fish out for The Monster yaddah yaddah. Started having feelings for the Monster. Started getting meat scraps from Kochek’s. Then Kochek gave the scraps to someone else. So Sturges feels responsible. But he had a protective feeling, like it was his own Monster.
Lighthouse keepers. Am I right?
BTW – the soundtrack is mostly saxophone, which is kinda sexy for someone saying they were lonely and that’s why they shacked-up with a monster.
Lucille helps her dad up to trim the light. He says if a ship wrecks, the Monster will eat them all and it’ll be his fault. Erm…
I think all this is an elaborate ploy to avoid eating any more broth.
57:00 Back at The Doctor’s place. One townsperson stretched out on the counter with a ‘concussion and a mashed hand’ says the Doc, convincingly.
Meanwhile Fred is looking in his microscope.
‘Definitely a member of the diplovertebron family’ says Fred. I’m guessing he only wants to get The Sheriff to try saying it and choke on his cigar again.
‘Does he have a brain capable of rational thinking…?’ says Fred, meaning The Monster, I suppose.
‘What d’you think, Doc?’ says Fred.
‘I think we should try to establish a pattern from his actions….. offhand I’d say primarily he operates on a sense of smell.’
They chew over what happened in the store – whether The Monster could hear them and hid in the ice room, or whether he went in there for snacks.
‘We have a thinking monster!’ says Fred.
‘I’m afraid so,’ says The Doctor.
‘I want to take him alive!’ says Fred.
‘I’m responsible for the welfare of the people of this town!’ says The Sheriff, without a shred of irony or self-awareness.
‘We’ll use our brains!’ says The Doctor.
‘We’ll get a net. And we’ll put it at the bottom of the cliff with a side of beef in it…’ says Fred. The Doctor nods approvingly and his eyebrows go up in the middle.
‘He’ll answer questions on evolution – as well as putting our town on the map!’
The Doctor’s having a great time, never mind the collection of murdered townspeople spread out on tables in Wings cafe or Kochek’s ice store.
1:01:30 Lucille is standing outside the lighthouse with a bowl of meat scraps.
‘Here Ring!’ she shouts.
(Which sounds like ‘hearing’. And could be confusing, if the dog was in earshot. Because it might just nod and think – yep – I’m hearing. And carry on ignoring you.
It’s one of those inappropriate dog names. Like our dog’s called Stan. Which is fine, except when you say: Stan – SIT! And he looks at you like he doesn’t know what you want. And that’s exactly the reason why it’s been so difficult to train him, and nothing to do with his intelligence, which is obviously OFF THE SCALE)
Back to the film.
I’m worried (or hopeful) that instead of Ring, The Monster will rock up for dinner. In a tux with flowers. Because that was the routine between him and Sturges any night of the week.
1:02:00 Fred and The Sheriff drive into town. Jump outta the jeep. Ask Jake for a net. About ten by ten oughta do it. Jake says sure. The Sheriff jumps back in the jeep to go to his office (seeing as how Wings and Kochek’s are both temporary morgues these days.
1:02:32 Meanwhile, the shadow of The Monster is sashaying in a mock-sinister way across the front of the lighthouse. Rears up – to look through the window at Lucille getting undressed. (First the rock on the beach, now this.)
We see the back of The Monster as it stands at the door. It looks so much like a wetsuit I’m sure I can see a zip. The Monster pushes through the door and waddles in. Lucille hears it and laughs. She calls out ‘Dad? I’ll be right there – just changing.’
Opens the door. Sees The Monster – which raises up its claws and vomits at the same time. (So not unlike her Dad these days, then). She screams, of course. Sturges hears all this from up in the tower – and faints.
1:03:32 Fred, Jake and The Doctor are sitting outside the store knotting-up the net. (Try saying THAT quickly after a few glasses of red). They have a chat about what they’ll do with The Monster when they catch it.
The Sheriff pitches up in the jeep. He says he’s worried because the lighthouse light isn’t on. Fred rings the lighthouse.
‘There’s no answer’ he says.
‘Did you use the right number?’ asks The Sheriff. (I mean – we’re seven minutes from the end of the film. Did he REALLY need to ask that?)
‘Try it again!’ he says. (Shut up. SERIOUSLY??)
OMG – Fred DOES try it again. And it takes ages because it’s a dial phone, being about a million years BC when they shot this piece of shit.
The phone rings and rings.
‘Something’s wrong!’ says Fred.
Fred jumps in the jeep with The Doctor. The Sheriff says he’ll round up some men. Jake grabs the net.
1:05:12 The Monster carries Lucille out of the lighthouse. He grunts – whether because he’s sexed-up or she’s put on a little what with all the broth, it’s impossible to say. Sturges wakes up in the tower. Sees The Monster. Chucks a lantern down that hits it on the head. The Monster puts Lucille down then flexes its arms and roars because I’m guessing a lantern from that height would hurt like a sonofabitch. Stomps off back to the lighthouse. Sturges struggles down the spiral staircase with a rifle. Shoots The Monster, which doesn’t help matters.
Lucille wakes up on the cliff where The Monster dropped her. Finds Ring, dead.
Sturges shoots The Monster again, just as Lucille runs up the stairs behind it.
‘Run Lucille! Run!’ he shouts (Sturges, not The Monster).
She does (all that way just to turn round and go back?)
The Monster doesn’t know WHO to go after at this point. And neither do I.
Sturges tries to shoot The Monster again but he’s run out of bullets.
Sturges turns and staggers up to the top of the lighthouse, The Monster following.
Meanwhile, Lucille is running along the road in her nightie.
Stops the jeep.
‘The Monster’s in the lighthouse with dad!’ she says.
Squeezes in between them and they drive back.
They arrive at the lighthouse at the same time as a big car with lots of assorted townspeople, including Jake with the net.
Sturges waves from the balcony of the light.
‘Stay there!’ he shouts. ‘He’s in the tower! Barricade the front! We’ll have him trapped!’
Fred throws a rope to Sturges. He wants to rig-up a bosun’s chair and get him down. Or something. I’m sure Fred knows. Meanwhile The Monster keeps trying to shoulder through the door.
It stands on the balcony with its arms in the air screaming like me when I take a cold shower (these days – the price of fuel – don’t get me started).
Sturges climbs up on the roof, followed by The Monster.
The Monster grabs Sturges and throws his mannequin-like body from the tower.
Fred goes out on the balcony.
He shines a light in The Monster’s face, which is very annoying for anyone. The Monster backs away, waving his claws.
Lucille runs up the spiral staircase to help again.
Fred sees his chance: he butts The Monster with his rifle. It overbalances and falls screaming from the tower into the ocean, where it floats like another mannequin. Possibly the same one.
Lucille and Fred embrace on the balcony, as the music swells
That’s it! So what’ve I learned?
- Small coastal towns are nice to visit but hell to live in.
- Lighthouse keepers are crazy. The spiral staircases don’t help.
- A diplovertebron is an extinct reptile that looked like an angry surfer who got covered in kelp and tried to dance it off.
- Broth is good for concussion and multiple fractures, but is an ineffectual treatment for monster obsession.
- Liver night. Just say no.