The ‘Jolly Green Giant’, Jack’s beanstalk Giant, and the New York Giants. What do they all have in common? They are all both figuratively and literally giants. What does the Giant From the Unknown (or Giant of Spain if we’re being honest) have in common with them? Nothing, because he’s only six foot six! After the mighty U.S. Government claimed ‘Monopoly’ on the gargantuan studio bosses, the 1950s were ripe for the tiny independents to flood our cinematic valley with all sorts of creatures great and small. As such, indie producers Marx Fredric and Arthur A. Jacobs earned their PGA cards when they unleashed this plot-holes-filled leviathan by creating a massive production on a gargantuan pile of 1.52mm pennies!
The film’s poster grossly states “it came from another world”, yet if you focus on the plot of the movie (which is hard without huge coke-bottle eyeglasses) the giant comes from our planet and has been buried in the mounds of dirt for centuries when it was supposed to have mutilated cattle and killed one man. How this slipped by the filmmakers is beyond the dark forest of understanding, yet Giant From the Unknown does its best to keep your attention. Lensed in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest in black and white, I do feel the production could have benefited by spending a couple of silver Washingtons on color Kodak stock to bring the luscious foliage to life on screen. However, in a film where the feet of the giant disappear via bad rear-screen projection, you get what you get and you don’t get upset. A huge hit (or miss) on late-night TV screenings and Drive-ins circuits, this film is best known for being one of the post-Universal make-up jobs by too big for his britches Jack Pierce, the herculean artist behind Frankenstein’s monster, The Wolf Man, and countless Universal Monster designs.
The plot for this whopper begins with the mysterious slaughter of local cattle and the impalement of a local merchant. This perplexes the townfolk (along with every audience member who thinks of the logic later) and they turn to local geologist Dr. Brooks (played well by western TV veteran Ed Kemmer) for answers. The only issue is he has no answers and they begin to listen to a local Native American, who tells prominent tales of ancient burial grounds and curses. Through mighty 1950s science fiction movie logic, they awaken a Spaniard Giant (played by mountainous former boxer Buddy Baer) from the grave, who wreaks havoc upon the vast wilderness. Throw in the screaming blonde heroin for the (average height) giant to lug around, add a few rounds of buckshot from the village idiot named Charlie Brown, and you got yourself a Friday night schlock buffet that would satisfy any humongous so-bad-its-good juggernaut appetite.
Stomping around at a jumbo seventy-seven minutes, this film was placed in the mammoth hands of director Richard Earl Cunha (with other directorial credits as Red Rock Outlaw and Bloodlust!) who was the director of photography for this film and went on to have a monster career as DP for TV westerns like Death Valley Days. You can find this film on most streaming services like Pluto TV and Tubi, but look out for the Film Detective blu-ray with monumental audio interviews from the cast and crew. So hang upside down on some pole bars to make yourself taller, slow cook some canned greens from the ‘Happy Blue Behemoth’ cheap brand, and get lost in the wild of the unknown… or at least in the conquistador-claimed national parks of California.