Movies and Film

Under the Sea, Under the Sea… – Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

Attack of the Crab Monsters might seem outlandish when watching this film but what is not outlandish is just how good the movie actually is.  True, the movie had very little budget, but it more than made up for that with a tight script by Charles B. Griffith and a non-stop pace from director Roger Corman.  As you might glean from the title, it does indeed feature a couple of crab monsters, mutated much larger than they would normally be, but also gaining telepathic abilities in the process as well as being able to speak in the voices of those humans that they might consume.  Of course, these two crabs are also murderous and have a master plan to make it to the mainland where they are and start killing more people while they have their offspring.  So all in all, just another day on a tropical island.

attack_of_crab_monsters_09While the story might seem a little out there, anything can be put to screen as long as it is done well and what is quite surprising is just how well this movie turned out to be.  Now Roger Corman is not really known for delivering the greatest of pictures, in fact most of them are fairly terrible yet still retain a certain enjoyability factor which, more often than not, is a little strange.  And this film, from its very premise, you would automatically surmise that there can be nothing good about it.  That is where Corman fools you because during the sixty-two minutes that this film is comprised of, the suspense and tension never let up, there is always something going on and the crab monsters, or at least their voices, are haunting, if not a little creepy.  The only time the film really falters is when you actually see the crab monsters.  If they had kept to showing just the giant claws when people were getting killed, the movie would have worked perfectly, yet Corman has to show you the full monster and of course the budget for the film went elsewhere instead of into the actual creature costume.  Other than that though, the film really worked well.

Known primarily for his television work, Richard Garland would star in the film along with Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson, Leslie Bradley and Mel Welles.  More often than not, the budgets for Corman’s pictures went to the actors, the location shooting, pretty much everything else but the special effects.  In doing so he usually got some fairly decent actors and actresses to appear in his films.  Yes, they are usually grade Z movies, but the people who deign to star in them are often fairly good.  Such is the case with this cast and they did a good job, making it seem quite believable that there were a couple of giant crab monsters out to destroy humanity, or at least a little bit of it.  Garland does stand out as the best of the bunch, but really, they all did a fine job of it.

Now before you scoff and look to find something else to watch, seriously give this film a shot.  It has giant telepathic crabs.  Repeat that to yourself again – giant telepathic crabs.  Where else are you going to find something as crazy, as zany as this?  Nowhere.  Not a single place at all.  No one else would have thought to put this to film except for Roger Corman.  It is true; he has put out innumerable stinkers, films that have no business being films.  But this is not one of those cases.  Check it out, sit back and relax, open your mind and enjoy.  You are guaranteed to have a good time.

4 out of 5

First entry – Giant Monster Gamera (1965)
Second entry – The Monolith Monsters (1957)
Third entry – Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
Fourth entry – Tarantula (1955)
Fifth Entry – Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)

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