Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mono in Stereo

We got The Incredible Shrinking Man/The Monolith Monsters (1957) Grant Williams double feature because I hadn't seen The Monolith Monsters, but of course we watched The Incredible Shrinking Man.

This is my first time to see Mono-Mon. A geologist picks up a piece of a meteorite in a small desert town. The next day, his partner, Grant Williams, finds him in his lab petrified under a pile of boulders. Newspaperman Les Tremayne can't figure out where all the rocks came from. Meanwhile, Williams' sweetie, Lola Albright, takes her kindergarten class out to play in the desert and one of the girls picks up another piece of the meteorite. They soon find her traumatized in the ruins of her house, with her petrified parents crushed under giant rocks. All she can say is, "Them!" or "Rocks!" or something.

So, the meteorite rocks have two evil superpowers: They grow to enormous size, and they petrify people. These are linked - they grow by absorbing the silicone that keeps humans flexible. (Skip the jokes about implants, the monoliths have heard them all.) I kept feeling that they should have had a single killing mechanism, preferably crushing. But these monsters are somewhat passive - they don't chase you or eat you. They just kill you when they grow too close to you. It's just what they are.

Finally, they grow to enormous size, and come storming down the valley towards town, in a special effects process shot that is both crude and effective. I won't give away the ending (sodium!) but rest assured that the fact that everyone seemed to carry one of these rocks around, even after they realized how dangerous they are, did not harm anyone in the least.

I've been listening to a lot of comedian Greg Proops' podcast, and he has one important piece of advice: Never touch the science rocks from outer space. They could have germs or radiation. Sound thinking that could have saved a lot of lives.

I've seen Inc-Shrink-Man a few times, but always worth seeing again. Seeing Grant Williams go from being embarrassed by his shrinkage, to sullen, to midget-love-curious to outright threatened and finally, to transcendence, is always awesome.

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