Welcome to the old west, Mexico style. South of the border Jimmy Ryan (Guy Madison) runs the Rancho Bonito with his buddy Felipe Sanchez (Carlos Rivas). They are doing their best to raise cattle in the shadow of the Hollow Mountain. Unfortunately many of the local villagers fear the mountain and the swamps around it. Few who enter the area are ever seen again. When some cattle disappear after wandering near the mountain, Jimmy figures that they sank into the quicksand. But Felipe is convinced that they were lead astray for a reason.
You see Enrique Rios (Eduardo Noriega) runs a competing ranch in the area, and he is pretty adamant that no gringo is going to get to succeed in the area. Throw in the fact that the local governor’s daughter Sarita (Patricia Medina) is engaged to Enrique but has the hots for Jimmy and you can see all kinds of trouble in the mix. So you have a standard western plot in Mexico. What’s the catch? Well there turns out to be a Beast of Hollow Mountain to contend with as well.
|Crow tries to be a buckeroo.|
But, if the Western elements of the story are good enough, they’ll hold our attention. Guess what? They aren’t good. They are very, very dull. If you’ve seen any Westerns of the era then you can pretty much figure out how this is all going to play out. All the tropes are included, fist fights, stampedes, and blazing guns. And yet, the whole thing feels lifeless.
|He's the only gringo for miles around.|
|Would you trust these two?|
So obviously the writers didn’t really care about the characters, or the Western plot elements, because they just took a template and slapped some character names in there. Sure they are missing a saloon brawl (replaced by a fist fight in a marketplace) and an old fashioned shoot out. But they have other things going for them – the beast!
|Way too much time spent on the love triangle.|
Now some of you Harryhausen fans may be saying to yourself, “This sounds kinda like Valley of Gwangi.” And you’d be right. You see Willis O’Brian, the creator of King Kong had this story idea about cowboys and dinosaurs knocking around for a while eventually he sold the idea and The Beast of Hollow Mountain was adapted from it. Years later Harryhausen managed to wrangle the rights to the concept. He considered O’Brian to be his mentor and he wanted to do the concept right. So Valley of Gwangi was born from the ashes of this stinker.
|Hollow Mountain looms behind the cows.|
|Indiana Jones or Tarzan? Sorry it's cowboy Jimmy.|
|Try not to look at the creepy festival masks.|
|The Beast arrives, and can't find his six shooter.|
No, this one is closer to Gunslinger, where the movie is just plain bad, but the riffing really helps get through it. And let me tell you, the movie is test for Jonah and the bots. There aren’t any interesting characters to latch onto. There aren’t any interesting plot twists. There isn’t much of anything. It really reminds me of a Season Six offering. It takes a riffing crew at the top of their game to get through this kind of beast.
|The Kirk vs Picard debate gets physical.|
There are lots of riffs commenting on how there is no monster to be seen for 85% of the film. At one point Jimmy is looking through some papers and Jonah quips, “I’m looking through the script to see if there is a Beast.” In another scene Tom has Panchito yell, “While you’re looking around, see if you can find a Beast for the movie.”
|Even Jimmy doesn't get the chinstrap fashion.|
|That tongue is both hilarious and obscene.|
|Tom and Crow bring the festival to the SOL. Jonah|
|The festival causes terror for all who see it.|
|"It all look so fresh. I don't know where to start!"|
I give it 3 wiggly dino-tongues out of five.