The Milpitas Monster (1976)

The Milpitas Monster (1976) movie poster

director Robert L. Burrill
viewed: 10/04/2015

Easily the best of the “small-town California landfill kaiju made by high school students” genre. – J. Wiese

Crazy as it is, The Milpitas Monster is indeed the product of a Northern California town’s high school students in the 1970’s, essentially a kaiju (giant monster) film about a beast that rises from the local dump.  While a lot of kids made movies, some even with some great home-made monster FX, not many made feature-length films.  This is an awesome piece of cult obscurity.

Okay, the film is amateurish.  I’ve already told you that it was made by high school kids in the 1970’s.  That it’s watchable at all is to its credit.  God knows I’ve watched many worse films made by relative professionals.

It seems that they managed to get the whole town of Milpitas in on the film, employing firetrucks and at times a fairly large cast.  There are even some aerial shots of Milpitas and the outlying area.

The monster, humble as it may be and having as little screen time as it does, is the coolest part of the film.  A variety of odd effects are used for the monster’s flight, destruction of the town, and other moments of catastrophe.  Now obviously director Robert L. Burrill didn’t go on to become a Rick Baker or a Dennis Muren and this doesn’t feature quite as impressive stop-motion FX as the latter’s 1970 feature Equinox, but I’m erring to the side of giving credit rather than casting aspersions.

It is interesting that this isn’t the only 1970’s Bay Area teenage ecological monster movie.  Sunnyvale’s 1970 The Monster that Everybody Created is available in two parts on YouTube.

Those kids were alright.

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