The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)

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The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)

Post  BoG on Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:59 pm

(this above is not widescreen and poor quality)

stars Guy Madison, Patricia Medina
Directed by Edward Nassour,Ismael Rodríguez / writer: Willis O'Brien
The Beast of the title is a predatory Tyrannosaurus Rex, inexplicably still exisiting in a mountainous region of Mexico in the early 20th century, preying on cattle and, sometimes, humans.

I should mention the specific kind of stop-motion animation; I wasn't really aware of it - a process called "replacement animation", a technique involving several different models of the same character, each slightly different to represent a particular action.There was one scene near the end when the T-Rex gallops (as I described it) after two of the cowboys, who are on foot now, and that scene is what prompts mention of the technique. This was work by Willis O'Brien, by the way - some of his last work, followed by The Black Scorpion and The Giant Behemoth. Ray Harryhausen later provided the dino FX for The Valley of Gwangi (1969) which, I believe, was also a concept of O'Brien's.

The weakness to the film, for me, is a very uneventful 50 minutes or so after the film begins. The locations are nice, sure, but the T-Rex - the Beast - doesn't show up until the final half-hour. I was also struck by how silently the Beast moves, such as when it's after the little kid (again, near the end). Contrast this with the earth shaking when the T-Rex in Jurassic Park moves! But, the stuff that really made me want to turn away in embarrassment were the insert shots of the Beast's feet when it's walking - obviously fake rubber feet employed by some guy. Ugh. Still, when the T-Rex does show up, it's almost non-stop action & adventure for a few cowboys, a kid and the lady in peril. I liked the long shots of the T-Rex as it circles a little cabin, trying to get in.
BoG's Score: 5 out of 10