Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)

Allosaurus menaces Cowpoke, Cowpoke menaces Allosaurus


The Review

I was about to say it's the one and only Mexican Dinosaur Western, but I remembered The Valley of Gwangi also takes place (mostly) in Mexico. So I guess there are two.

And while Gwangi is a (much) better film, The Beast does have it's own little charms. One of those charms is that it's open-source and can be downloaded for free at Archive.org. (Ding!)

The first hour of the movie is pure western - you've got the square jawed hero, the mustachioed villain, a beautiful woman for 'em to fight over and an affable town drunk providing comedy relief. You don't even see the Beast until over an hour into it, and 15 minutes after that the Beast is dead.

Here's the story:

Straight-shooting Jimmy (Yaaay!) and his faithful compadre Felipe are south of the border on their cattle ranch. They're a little worried over the livestock they keep losing - cows just up and disappearing - more and more often as time goes on. Felipe suspects rival rancher Enrique (Boooo!) is behind it. Enrique would like nothing better than to see Jimmy get the hell out of Dodge.

Why? Because Enrique is engaged to Sarita (w00t!), and he sees how she looks at Jimmy when they pass in the town square. Enrique, incidentally, is a lying cheating bullying bastard who pretty much rules the town with an iron fist. Sarita is marrying him out of some family obligation, but she's had the hots for Jimmy since he first rode in. And... Jimmy's sweet on her, too.

So that's pretty much how things stay for the first 60 minutes of the film. Jimmy and Enrique fistfight... Enrique schemes his revenge... a little comic relief from the town drunk...Sarita moons over Jimmy... Jimmy moons over Sarita... more laughs with town drunk... few more cattle go missing....

Now, it turns out Enrique's not behind the disappearing cattle (much as he'd like to be). You see, there's a LEGEND: Hollow Mountain is rumored to be... hollow... and home to a ravenous BEAST. This beast (it's said) comes out in times of drought (and yes, the village is currently in the midst of one) and kills livestock.

I didn't quite get why it would come out and kill livestock during droughts. Seems it would more likely slurp up the town's water supply or something. But anyway, no one around now has ever actually SEEN this beast (probably hasn't been a drought in a long time), so it's just a legend and probably doesn't exist anyway. (Or... DOES it?)

So anyway, things between Jimmy, Enrique and Sarita finally come to a big dramatic head on she and Enrique's wedding day. Which is also the day the Beast decides to rear *it's* ugly head. (Dramatic head... ugly head. I seriously did not intend the pun but, there it is. So be it.)

The Beast comes out just as Enrique and Jimmy are having their big showdown. Much cracking of pistols and thundering of hooves ensue, with Enrique showing what a dastardly coward he is by running away and leaving people to die, while Jimmy shows true hero-ness by risking his life to save Enrique from the Beast's GAPING MAW.

And when everybody realizes they can't kill it with their guns (guess no one had a Gatling on hand), Jimmy has the bright idea of luring the Beast into a convenient bog of quicksand. And so the Mighty Beast's short screen career ends.

Speaking of Mighty Beast, I'm not sure just what the Beast is supposed to be. It's arms are too big, and have too many claws, to be a T Rex. Allosaurus had three claws... bit big for an Allosaurus though. Maybe it was a previously UNKNOWN type of dinosaur. Most people call it a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So I'll call it an Allosaurus. A big one.




The Trailer





The Details

Directors: Edward Nassour, Ismael Rodríguez
Writers: Willis H. O'Brien (story), Robert Hill (writer)
Release Date: August 1956 (USA)
Genre: Western | Horror | Sci-Fi
Tagline: One Day After A Million Years It Came Out Of Hiding To... Kill! Kill! Kill!

Cast
Guy Madison Jimmy Ryan
Patricia Medina Sarita
Carlos Rivas Felipe Sanchez
Mario Navarro Panchito
Pascual García Peña Pancho
Eduardo Noriega Enrique Rios
Julio Villarreal Don Pedro
Lupe Carriles Margarita
Manuel Arvide Martínez
José Chávez Manuel
Roberto Contreras Carlos
Armando Gutiérrez Employee
Margarito Luna Jose
Jorge Treviño Shopkeeper

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