Attack of the Crab Monsters

Monday, 03 May 2010 10:08

“Attack of the Crab Monsters” is one of five exciting new DVD releases from cult film producer Roger Corman, courtesy of budget label In2Film. The other four disks include “Grand Theft Auto”, 80s slasher “Slumber Party Massacre”, Corman’s other directorial contribution to the 1950s sci-fi genre, “Not Of This Earth”, and the David Carradine-starring, post-apocalyptic action-adventure, “Deathsport”.

“Crab Monsters” is a typical 1950s black and white giant monster flick, and as such it is short, economical and requires a hefty amount of disbelief-suspension. Having said that, it genuinely would not look out of place alongside the era’s better known sci fi/horror films such as “Invaders from Mars”, “The Thing From Another World” or “Creature From The Black Lagoon”. It also feels a little like a very long range flash back from the TV series Lost.

Attack of the Crab Monsters on UK DVDA small group of scientists and navy personnel arrive on a remote Pacific island, tasked with investigating the strange disappearance of the previous team. Even before they have all set foot on land, one of them falls overboard and then resurfaces after a tussle with an unknown enemy, minus his head! Atomic weapon tests took place not far off the coast, and the scientists wish to discover what side effects have been caused by the massive doses of radiation that enveloped the island.

Played by the likes of Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan and Russell Johnson, the cast are swiftly picked off by a force that slowly reveals its hand (or rather claw). Strange metallic voices call out to the survivors, seemingly coming from the mouths of the deceased but common sense ought to dictate otherwise. It does not, though, and one by one they are lured into traps by the fiendish über crabs, highly intelligent, giant-scale crustacean with world domination on their minds.

All the while, the island’s perimeter is rapidly shrinking thanks to a series of violent earthquakes. The dwindling group has to hurriedly come up with a survival plan before there is nowhere left to run.

Despite the bizarre concept, the film does hang together pretty well. The eerie music is laced with taut strings that keep the tension high. The photography benefits from some nice island location work and the effects are surprisingly good. Initially the crabs are only announced by a strange noise that sounds like someone rolling a boiled egg to remove the crisp shell, then we catch site of an enormous claw closing around some unfortunate’s neck.

When the crabs are finally seen in all their glory, although they are not the most nimbly animated monstrosities ever seen on the big screen, they are impressively crafted. It does help, however, if you pretend you cannot see the strings pulling them along when seen up close.

“Attack Of The Crab Monsters” (1957) is out now on DVD on the In2Film budget label. The film’s running time is just 60 minutes approx (which feels appropriate), certificate ‘PG’. There are no special features at all; indeed, the disc does not even feature menus or a chapter selection screen. When the movie finishes, the disk unceremoniously stops in its tracks! The DVD retails for a very reasonable £5.99 or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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