Giant From The Unknown - The Original Schlock Classic

4.61 h 17 min195813+
A giant, degenerate, 16th century Spanish conqueror named Vargas, is freed from suspended animation by lightning in 1958. He then goes on a killing spree in a mountain town. A riot!
Richard E. Cunha
Buddy BaerEd KemmerSally Fraiser
Science FictionComedyHorror
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Bob SteeleMorris Ankrum
Legend Films
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4.4 out of 5 stars

179 global ratings

  1. 66% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 11% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

paul hammReviewed in the United States on January 20, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Sci-Fi GIANT is a nostalgic Creature Feature romp
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If you were a kid who grew up with those Saturday afternoon(or evening) Creature Features that played films from the classic horror and sci-fi eras, you might do yourself a favor and check out this release of GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN, a low-budget '50's that doesnt get as much exposure as other '50's sci-fi programmers do, but that doesnt mean it doesnt have charms of its' own.

Nicely restored by FILM DETECTIVE, it deals with a revived conquistador who goes on a rampage in a small mountain town and the film goes by in a fast-paced, but enjoyable trip through the drive-in era staples of the past. It's also got some decent special features such as an informative commentary by film scholar, Tom Weaver, as well as a feature or two on the supporting cast. Ad to this, a makeup job from film legend Jack Pierce, and you have got yourself some entertainment for a late-night film viewing. Recommended!
12 people found this helpful
James C SmithReviewed in the United States on February 8, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Film Detective Nails It
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(1,500 COPIES)


This is an extremely nice package. First, this is a pressed/stamped disc, not burned. The lithography on the disc itself is the same as the colorful, fun case-insert artwork. And it comes with a nice 10-page glossy booklet that regales the reader with behind-the-scenes stories about the film's creation process.

The special features include the original movie trailer, but more interestingly, two insightful interviews. One is with Gary Crutcher, who played the young Charlie Brown. That interview is excellent.

The other is with film historian C. Courtney Joyner covering the background of Bob Steele, and it's importance to the success of this film. That, too, was highly interesting and well done.


Simply put, Criterion has nothing on this disc. The picture is refreshingly clean, clear, and crisp, as is the audio, which is strong, even, and just plain natural sounding. It is as though I was seeing the film in its very first run back in 1958 on the local big screen. It is virtually perfect in every way. I had to purposely watch like a hawk for the occasional, fleeting slight imperfection. I was on my third viewing before even noticing a single one. I'd say that is extremely good.

So hats off to The Film Detective for knocking this one out of the park. I wish they get many, many more from this era/genre, and give them the same deluxe treatment and care. (They did a great job with "Eegah!", too, which they also released as a stamped Blu-ray. )


This was the first time I really watched this film, so there's no nostalgia to color my opinion. I had read the premise on Amazon Prime, and it just didn't sound all that alluring. But, I was wrong!

The story was well written, and had a very good flow to it. The casting was excellent. Ed Kemmer as the solid, handsome, very likeable leading man. Bob Steele as the raspy, old sheriff. Morris Ankrum as the wise, old scientist, with Sally Fraser as his daughter and Kemmer's love interest. Even supporting-role actors were very good, like those that portrayed the outspoken cafe owner, and Anne and Charlie Brown. Everyone was solid in their roles.

And let's not forget Buddy Baer playing the dreaded, killer giant. Max Baer, Jr's (Jethro) real-life uncle. Simply put, he was great. And while he was indeed physically intimidating, you could tell he was actually a gentle giant.

My two favorite lines from the film were both delivered by the handsome lead actor Ed Kemmer.

"That man was born with a badge instead of a brain.";


"Where's Charlie Brown?!"


Great movie. Great HD transfer from a phenomenal source. Great overall package. Just plain fun.

Highly recommended for fans of this genre.

7 people found this helpful
Retired Soldier/Sailor.Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazon ALWAYS comes through with their "price guarantee"!
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I ordered this last year for over $50.
When it arrived this year, it was less than h-a-l-f that.
That's "Jethro's", real-life, father playing the titular-man-beast.
While it cost less than the car I drive, when this film was made,
it delivers with Saturday-morning-matinee quality from when I
was a kid in the fifties, myself.
This might not satisfy today's crowd, but if you are of retirement
age, in your twilight-years, this "Twilight-Zone-ish" film with make-
up done by the same man that invented the make-up for the, or-
iginal Frankenstein/Mummy/Wolfman movies through 1945. By
the time Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein came out, and one
of the Westmores took over that job, Jack Pierce was reduced to
doing his work on TV's "Mister Ed".
Great Entertainment!
5 people found this helpful
Blake PowellReviewed in the United States on February 21, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Top Notch restoration by Film Detective !
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A movie I had not seen before but I decided to dive in based on some great reviews and past quality of other Film Detective releases. It was definitely a good choice on my part... a fairly effective little black and white "resurrected Conquistador Giant" movie. I wont really go into a detailed description of the movie since most people would really only buy this since they already have seen it at some point.

Great Image and sound ABSOLUTELY crisp and clear.

Some nice interview extras
*I noted the extras menu has a bit of a lag loading on my bluray player , but it does load and work so no need to panic *

Booklet with behind the scenes photos...

This gem was produced in 6 days for around $50,000 and if you love 50s and 60s b movie horrors, this belongs in your collection.
3 people found this helpful
SciFi-Kaiju-Guy @ TeePublicReviewed in the United States on March 17, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Clearly the greatest Spanish zombie conquistador movie EVER made!
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BOTTOM LINE: A beloved 'monster kid' favorite. It's hard not to like this innocent little horror flick, created by an enthusiasticly earnest bunch of first-time film makers. It has the benefit of being shot almost entirely on location in & around the gorgeous Big Bear of California, plus a likeable, engaging cast who really give their all. What it lacks in polish it makes up in genuine heart and an unabashed desire to simply be entertaining - not perfect. Better by light years than piles of cinematic offal excreted by the seemingly brain dead, idea-starved no-talents in Hollywood nowadays. The terrific 4k restoration Blu-ray of GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN, courtesy of The Film Detective label, is also packed with bonus goodies to appeal to monsterphiles & film fans. 5 STARS

THE STORY: Strange goings on in a remote mountain community have the locals understandably uneasy; animals & people alike have been slain in savage fashion by... something. The residents have their suspicions and no shortage of theories …but what is really happening? When an archeologist and his daughter show up to do some research, they uncover an inconceivable, ages-old terror - returned from the grave to lay waste to anything and anyone in its path. Can the ancient evil be stopped... and if so, how??

THOUGHTS: I am an unashamed fan of this rustic, off kilter little chiller. The lead actors are all engaging and enjoyable, the scenery beautiful yet somehow eerily unsettling, the story well done, (all things considered), if unoriginal. The oddball subject matter alone is reason enough to give it a watch. I mean, honestly, how many movies about massive militaristic mutilating mummies can you rattle off the top of your head?? Granted, you have to be a fan of this kind of film to really appreciate and enjoy it. Those who rate the quality of their motion pictures wholly according to the count of corpses, buckets of blood spilled, tally of balloonish bosoms bounced across the scene, ferocity of fiery explosions, cacophony of gunfire and quantity of bone-crunching fistfights & careening car chases will no doubt find themselves bored to tears by fare such as GftU. More's the pity for them.

THE BLU-RAY: The fine folk at The Film Detiective are to be applauded for their efforts. The 4k remaster of this film results in a truly rewarding viewing experience. The movie looks simply marvelous. Rich, inky blacks, strong mid-tones and sharp focus throughout. No video villainy (edge enhancement, pixelation, interlacing issues, or other botched transfer technocalities) to ruin your viewing enjoyment. Adding to a truly impressive restoration of the film itself, a nice set of supplements are packed in to make this a no-brainer purchase for fans of this type of film (and this movie in particular). First up are two audio commentary tracks, followed by two on-camera interviews; one with costar Gary Crutcher (who plays Charlie Brown in the film) reminiscing on this project and his career and another by historian C. Courtney Joiner, reflecting on legendary cinematic cowpoke Bob Steele. Liner notes are also thoughtfully included, although regrettably covering the exact same ground as Weaver’s commentary. All in all this is a very respectable hi-def edition of this well-worn Boomer-era creepshow. Definitely worth a look, a real keeper for fans and well worthy of a double-dip if you already own it on VHS tape or in one of its many, inferior DVD editions. This Film Detective Blu-ray release of GIANT FROM THE UNKNOWN comes very highly recommended.
Looking CloserReviewed in the United States on June 29, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Might have played better 500 years ago
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Not a lot of action, mostly chasing down this 500 year old conquistador who kidnaps women, but mostly menaces the people of this rural town. Some unanswered questions in the film, the first being why is the title Giant from the Unknown? They know his history and found his gravesite. One of the cheapest sci-fis, but campy and fun. I feel for the women in these film, who are not only victimized by the monster, but are laden with the task of cooking and looking beautiful. Not that I'm complaining about the beauty part! I gave it one extra star for nostalgia, and one for the clever reason behind the phenomenon of the Diablo.
One person found this helpful
EinsatzReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
“Everyone is under suspicion!”
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There are some mighty strange things happening around Pine Ridge. The local yokels get together to discuss the latest outrage, the death of Harold Banks. Poor Harold was killed offscreen in the same manner as the neighborhood sheep and cattle. Everything from a crusty old legend to the supernatural is blamed. As luck would have it, the local sheriff (Bob Steele as Nosy Parker), is willing to blame anything that moves but sets his sights on local geologist Wayne (Ed Kemmer). He’s too smart for his own good! Sadly, the sheriff is also the village idiot. “That man has a badge instead of a brain.” Wayne joins forces with a visiting scientist (Morris Ankrum) and his lovely daughter Janet (Sally Fraser). They plan to discover the whereabouts of the Diablo Giant. And they do, with mixed results. Naturally, the idiot sheriff compounds one glaring mistake after another. He also indiscriminately shoots at anything he pleases, and it pleases him greatly to shoot at Wayne.

Not much in the way of a horror movie or a creature feature. The giant shows up late and isn’t nearly as impressive as the moniker suggests. He’s only six feet tall, if he’s an inch. In Conquistador armor he looks even smaller. But he has an axe to grind!

For a film made in 1958, on a budget of a buck fifty, it’s not half bad…which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s half good! I found it amusing. Loved the fake metal detector they used!
4 people found this helpful
Michael HaykoReviewed in the United States on January 20, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A masterpiece from this genre!
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Perfect restoration, the visual and audio is astonishing. I would have never thought that anyone would waste their time or the money on this great old masterpiece from the science fiction schlock film genre! This was a real treat when I was a kid and it played on TV Friday night or Saturday nigh, it scared me and all of us. It was great fun then and it still is! Fans of this genre this is a must-have!

Disregard the bad reviews, people that have bought this DVD without knowing the story or having seen the movie, they all get five stars for stupidity.
One person found this helpful
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