In the enormity of the West there are still vast and virtually unexplored regions -bleak and desolate- where no human ever goes and no life is ever seen. It is as though the land had been posted by God. It is in these lonely areas of impenetrable forest and dark shadows that the gila monster still lives. How large the dreaded gila monster grows no man can say.
1000 Misspent Hours points out "an especially perverse display of youth-culture cluelessness" but concludes "The Giant Gila Monster spends most of its time being exactly what it sounds like, and at that it does a pretty respectable job."
Images Journal has an article that says the film "works to exonerate teenagers from the label of juvenile delinquent by illustrating that they are the virtuous alternatives to authority figures who are at best clueless and at worst willfully corrupt" and says that "One moral of the movie is that authority figures should learn to stop suspecting monstrous acts among teenagers and should look for the real threats in their society."