GILA! (2012) Reviews and overview


Gila! is a 2012 science fiction horror feature film directed by Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall; Sorceress; Transylvania Twist;  Piranhaconda; et al) from a screenplay by William Dever, Steve Mitchell, Jim Nielsen and Paul Sinor. It is a remake of The Giant Gila Monster (1959) and a pastiche of ’50s monster movies in general.


The movie stars Bruce Munson, Adrienne Atkins, Brian Patrick McCulley and Brian Gross. Terence Knox and Kelli Maroney have cameo roles.


A young couple is parked in a bleak, rural locale when a giant Gila monster attacks the car, sending them running for their lives. Chase Winstead (Gross), a young mechanic and hot rod racer and his girl Lisa (Voges), meet up with Chase’s former nemesis, Waco Bob (Janzen) and his sidekick Carla (De Rosa).

Prompted by calls from Mayor Wheeler (Pauwels), the local Sheriff (Knox) enlists the help of Chase, locates the crashed car in the ravine and finds evidence of the giant lizard. They attempt to destroy the creature, but that only makes it more vicious…



“Looking more cheaply made than your average Syfy channel movie, Gila! is undemanding and fairly entertaining with an amusing CGI creature (designed by Killer Klowns from Outer Space’s Charles Chiodo) and a cast imitating the cheesy earnestness of small-town characters in fifties and sixties monster movies (with nods to old-school sexism, the Communist threat, and polio).” DVD Beaver

“Sometimes the extras are dressed in modern clothes and it always seems like a high school set that someone who didn’t even live during the 50s designed. It’s part homage, part spoof, a mix of silly and serious that could have been much more solidified.” DVD Talk


“The monster attack scenes are fun, especially when they involve two drunk Irishmen driving away from the giant lizard in reverse. But they’re spread thin. There are endless scenes involving the characters figuring out what the monster is, making you say, ‘get on with it, already!’ There’s also entirely too much driving around and inane dialogue.” Horror News

” …Wynorski pulled off a very rare feat in making a pic of this ilk entertaining. And to his credit, he’s got a clear, albeit basic vision that he brings to life relatively well. He certainly siphons some memorable performances from a series of relative unknowns, and he keeps a certain degree of synergy coursing through the cast. That’s respectable. Horrorfreak News


“The effects work here is sub-Syfy quality which is likely why the creature is glimpsed for mere moments. When the film is titled Gila! that’s gonna be an issue now don’t you think? Set in the 1950s, the low-budget of this one didn’t exactly make it easy to capture the vintage aesthetic – they give it a good try but the styles sorta come and go from scene to scene.” McBastard’s Mausoleum

“There are some historical anachronisms that pop up occasionally, but Gila! is a low-budget monster movie playing 1950s dress-up, and it doesn’t aspire to be much more than that. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, then it probably won’t be.” Rock! Shock! Pop!


“The soundtrack is all rock n’ roll music, lots of muscle cars are used that are fun to look at, and again those two female leads make for an entertaining yarn that just about doesn’t outstay it’s welcome […] Gila! does nothing at all original and has really bad special effects but it is feel-good and a great B-Movie, the acting is decent also which is a big plus in my book!” The Rotting Zombie

Cast and characters:

  • Bruce Munson … Johnny Langostina
  • Adrienne Atkins … Betty
  • Brian Patrick McCulley … Don
  • Brian Gross … Chase Winstead – 2001 ManiacsBuffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Chase Adams … Pike
  • Madeline Voges … Lisa
  • Bone Ramsay … Dave
  • Vinnie Van Dolsen … Rick
  • Jesse Janzen … Waco Bob
  • Christina De Rosa … Carla
  • Dave Haney … Joe (as David Haney
  • Tom Sparx … Bill
  • Callie-Nycole Burk … Elsa
  • Robert Hay Smith … Lars
  • Micheal Price … Clete
  • Terence Knox … Sheriff Parker
  • Kelli Maroney … Wilma – Hell’s Kitty;Transylvania Twist; Not of This Earth (1988); Chopping Mall; Night of the Comet
  • Jenna Ruiz … Missy Winstead
    Ellen Kingston … Dorothy Winstead
  • Julie McCullough … Vera
  • Gerard Pauwels … Mayor Wheeler
  • James Wolford Hardin … Karl Swenson
  • Judy Joseph Crippin … Maybelle Swenson
  •  Steve Anderson … Injured Driver
  • Jeff Bodart … Ambulance Driver




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