Plot: A meteor crashes into the earth and in the process, spreads a host of black crystals all over the area near the point of impact. In the wake of the event, damage is drastic and things seem to be taking a turn for the worse, as the crystals are causing some odd things to happen. Those who come into contact with the mysterious crystals endue incredible changes, turning into strange, crystalline beings, as if they’re now living versions of the black crystals. The spread of the crystals has raised the concern of even the government, who assist the push to unlock the secrets of the new arrivals. This begins a race against time, as a geologist tries to figure out the science behind the crystals and find a way to stem the tide of their spread. If he is unable to do so, it seems as if they will soon cover the entire globe and crush mankind in the process. Is there a way to stop the march of these crystals or is the world doomed?
Entertainment Value: The monster movies of the 50s gave us all kinds of wild creatures, aliens, and monsters, but in The Monolith Monsters, the threat is a unique one, even by b movie standards. I mean, an ever encroaching menace that isn’t some beast, but a chemical process is a strange foe to be sure, but the movie manages to make the crystals a more than effective villain. After all, you can’t reason with or even try to trick a crystal, so it offers a nice change of pace. The slow, gradual encroachment of the crystals is also a fresh element, as the spread seems almost inevitable and that keeps the suspense up, as well as an eerie atmosphere. For those who appreciate reused footage, a few scenes from other b movies crop up, to save some cash on meteor special effects. The pace is a little slow perhaps, but I appreciated all the science lingo and folksy attitude from the locals, as well as our expert geologist.
The cast offers solid, sincere performances and to me, that enhances the movie and adds even camp value. As the cast goes through the motions, the sillier elements of the narrative really light up thanks to those serious turns. Grant Williams is a capable lead and is likable, even if his performance is middling in this case. I don’t think he could do much more however, as the script only provides so much for him to do and what is there, he performs in passable fashion. The same can be said for Lola Albright, but she is handed even less to work with. This is the real shame of The Monolith Monsters, as she is such a fun performer but the movie fails to give her a real chance, so she just kind of stands around most of the time. Les Tremayne has a fun role though, so at least one person was able to showcase some personality here. The special effects are good, better than you might expect and include a few very cool moments. So the b movie fun is solid here, I just wish the cast was better used. But for fans of 50s sci/fi and horror b movies, The Monolith Monsters is worth a peek.