Movies and Film

Not So Killer – The Killer Shrews (1959)

To put it in the best possible terms, The Killer Shrews is not a very good movie.  Not every film turns out to be a winner and it can safely be said that this film will never be considered as such, even though it has a grade Z kind of charm.  While one would think to themselves why, out of a world filled with such a diverse menagerie, the shrew would be considered to star in a film of this sort, they actually explain it quite well in the movie, essentially describing it as a pure killing machine.  It is too bad that there was absolutely no money spent on this film other than equipment rental because with an actual budget, this could have turned into a half-decent movie.  Almost every part of this film was bad, from script to special effects to the actors.  The story itself and the directing were all right as they at least held the picture together, but it is hard to find anything entertaining about it.

killer shrews6To start, James Best, who played the leading man was not just a terrible choice to star, but a terrible actor as well, at least here during the start of his career.  It was hard to watch him and at times and it seemed like his accent would occasionally change which was also a little off-putting.  Ken Curtis as the coward of the film did not even know what to do at times it looked like, though that part could possibly be attributed to the script and decent acting.  Possibly.  Even the beauty of Ingrid Goulde could not overshadow how stilted she sounded while delivering her lines.  The best of the bunch was Baruch Lumet as Goude’s father, perhaps because he sounded like he knew what he was talking about.  Even then, due to the poor script and dialogue there was nothing anyone could do to save their characters or even prove that they had any talent whatsoever.

killer shrews1The special effects were so bad you cannot even say that they were comical.  The shrews consisted of dogs covered in rags and some makeshift materials to give the appearance of being a giant rodent.  In the end though, what did they actually look like?  Dogs covered in rags and makeshift materials.  Even Roger Corman would hang his head in shame.  Close up, the heads of these shrews were little better, but at least they did not look like dogs during these moments.  The only thing that kept you from turning away was the sense of urgency at times in the film, giving life to the fact that these shrews might be a credible threat.

Even as bad as this film is, and it is pretty bad, it is captivating to watch.  Maybe it is because like all train wrecks, you want to see what happens even though you know you might regret it.  Suffice it to say, this is the kind of film you watch on late night cable on a Thursday when you are unable to sleep and then wake up the next day overtired and regretting it.  Compelling, yet terrible.

1.5 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)
Sixth entry – Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Seventh Entry – Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
Eighth entry – The Cyclops (1957)
Ninth entry – Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
Tenth entry – Monsters (2010)
Eleventh entry – Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)

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