Review: "The Valley Of Gwangi" (1969) Starring James Franciscus And Gila Golan; Warner Archive Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Hank Reineke

The blending of two disparate but popular film genres – in this case, the horror/sci-fi film with the saddle opera - was hardly new when The Valley of Gwangi hit the big screen in 1969. This film’s most identifiable predecessor, one pitting cowboys against a prehistoric monster, might be The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956), but truth be told Hollywood had been combining these two genres almost from the very beginning. In the 1930s and ‘40s, audiences thrilled to the ghostly monochrome exploits of such western serial heroes as Ken Maynard, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Buster Crabbe with such films as Tombstone Canyon (1932), The Vanishing Riders (1935), and Wild Horse Phantom (1944). Universal’s Curse of the Undead (1959) was a later but no less interesting experiment for Hollywood’s preeminent fright factory. The studio removed the vampire from the usual atmospheric Gothic trappings of old Europe and dropped him onto the sagebrush plain.
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