Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A look at The Milpitas Monster

By Steve D. Stones

In recent years, Millcreek Entertainment has released a series of 50-movie DVD box sets with cheap public domain films that would normally be unavailable to buy or rent. These boxed sets are a real treasure for any serious film buff of low budget horror and monster movies. The DVD sets are very affordable and amount to around 40 cents a movie.

Chilling Classics is just one of many sets put out by Millcreek. This set contains an interesting and very rare mid-1970s film called: The Milpitas Monster. The small town of Milpitas, just forty miles past San Francisco, is experiencing a series of neighborhood garbage raids. Locals are waking up every morning to giant slimy footprints in their driveways and garbage scattered all over the yard. Meanwhile local scientists are conducting experiments on water samples of the nearby-polluted Milpitas Lake.

It turns out that a giant creature was spawned from the pollution of the lake, and is now terrorizing the local citizens. It’s up to the town drunk and some local high school students to save the day and destroy the beast.

The climax of the film shows the monster on top of a TV transformer as a helicopter knocks the beast off the tower, similar to the ending of the 1933 classic King Kong.

The most interesting aspect of this film is the cheap, yet strange-looking monster. The monster has bat-like wings, and wears a mask that looks similar to a gas mask. His eyes light up like many of the monsters that confront Godzilla in the Japanese monster movies.

Although the film ends with the monster’s claw rising out of Milpitas Lake after he has fallen from the TV tower, a sequel to the film was never made. Perhaps the locals of Milpitas were unable to raise the funds to produce a sequel?

It’s interesting to note that Ben Burtt, who created the sound effects for all the Star Wars movies, also contributed to the effects of this film. Burtt’s career after this film obviously took a much more successful path.

1 comment:

TheatreX said...

I don't know how many people can boast having actually BEEN to Milpitas, but since I lived in San Jose for 23 years, and it's kind of the next town over, I had plenty of opportunities to go there, mainly because they have a big flea market. That may be the ONLY good reason to go there, unless you work or live there. I also happen to proudly (?!) own a copy on DVD (released by Substance) of this fine film, which also features John Stanley, late night "Creature Features" host on KTVU Oakland, late 70's early 80's (and also the director of "Nightmare In Blood", his only film). I do rather enjoy The Milpitas Monster, and it's done with real enthusiasm by the participants, even if it can't be remotely considered "good", by most standards. Ah, but cult film aficionados have their OWN standards Fun stuff, indeed.