Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

April 1, 2014

Movie Review: Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

There’s an STD joke in here somewhere…

I’ve always enjoyed the Edgar Allan Poe movies of the 1960s directed by Roger Corman. But I realized I haven’t seen more than a small fraction of RC’s work, particularly the sci-fi monster movies from the 50s (with the exception being The Wasp Woman - that shit was awesome!).

And so I’ve rectified my terrible short comings by taking a gander at Attack of the Crab Monsters. The opening credits alone scream cheese ball as they’re hand drawn and look how Ariel’s world would have ended up if Ursula had succeeded in defeating King Triton.

There is a lot of talking in this flick because I can only guess the available money went to pay for the actors and that’s about it. So not as many action shots as there are looooong minutes of explanation as to why the people are on this particular island, and one character actually tells us (via random naval crew guy #2) the names and occupations of every fucking person.

Basically a crew of scientists and Navy guys need to search a little spit of an island for a research crew that disappeared from there earlier. And wouldn’t you know it but people start dying two minutes in: random crew guy #4 falls out of the dinghy and is pulled back up without his head. That’s less than optimal.

Our intrepid crew begins their investigation with the former crew’s journal. It stops mid sentence and everyone takes advantage of the dramatic pause to give their best Blue Steels. We don’t learn much of anything but experience is the best teacher anyway. Rumbling quakes, tapping and scraping noises, large land masses disappearing (how curious), and eventually giant crab chelipeds (look it up, folks) start waving about, destroying property, and knocking guns out of peoples hands.

Best all you can eat buffet EVAH!

But that’s not all. As shocking as it is to learn that giant crabs exist, due to the radiation fall out from nearby A-bomb testing, these crabs can also talk. And not just talk - they can imitate the voices of their victims. The ‘voices’ resonate through metal objects anywhere on the island while the crabs remain safe and sound in their hiding place. It’s like Rich Little and Dr. Evil had sex at Joe’s Crab Shack while being irradiated.

Oh, and they’ve learned how to use explosives and they’re destroying the island piece by piece. Or it could be falling apart on its own because you know, giant crabs. Who cares? We know that bullets and grenades don’t harm them so looks like our crew is traveling upstream through a flow of excrement without sufficient means to steer their canoe, right?

Not to fear, my gentle readers. Electricity is a bitch and turns these radioactive mutants into ash. But how many people have to die before these monstrous crustaceans can be destroyed?

That was my brother you ate, you bastards! Now I unleash my vengeance!

I think this flick is equally good and bad. It’s the awesome camp of 50s sci-fi films, lousy acting and stating the obvious, lots of exposition because of low budget restrictions,  and the ever loved ‘radiation causes giant man-eating mutations’ story line. The dialogue had me laughing, particularly when the giant crab laments a fight with the humans: “oh, you have injured me. I must grow a new claw.”

All of that is what’s wrong with the film, too. This is one of those movies for only the die-hard sci-fi fans out there. Granted it’s only 60 minutes long so even if this isn’t your cup of tea, it’s a nice little distraction. The papier mâché crab with moving eye lid is pretty funny, though, particularly all its visible strings. Any casual viewer would find it hilarious.

The logistics of some of the story telling seemed kinda lazy or put in just to goose the viewer into saying ‘why the hell are they playing cards with dynamite for money while smoking cigarettes? There’s nothing more dangerous than - oh wait, a giant crab just ate them.’ Perhaps this is a result of the low funding but as amusing as it can be, it felt lackadaisical.

Overall a fun, classic genre film.

2.5 Hatchets (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment