More than anything else, this movie is known for its incredibly bad special effects, the creation of a creature so bad that even Roger Corman would turn away in shame. When you watch this film, you are supposed to believe that it can take on fighter jets and whatever else might oppose it and win and yet because of its completely and utterly ridiculous appearance, it makes it nearly impossible to believe. The bird also has a force field, believe it or not. The Giant Claw’s reputation as a terrible film is well deserved, but not wholly so, for while the effects of the bird are disastrous, and not only to the populace in the film but to the viewer, there are a few redeeming qualities in the movie, namely the acting by its leads in Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday.
The cast do their best with the material, which is not all that bad when compared against other science-fiction films of the time and is in fact, a fairly standard story though written well. It begins with a mysterious object in the sky, it causes problems, people head out to investigate, it turns out to be something unbelievable like a giant monster, the army is called in to destroy it and all with the help of the local scientist that has somehow gotten himself involved with the whole process. So while it might be a little clichéd, it starts out fine and only degenerates when the creature of the movie makes its presence known on-screen. For the rest of the film, while you try to take Morrow and Corday seriously, it only half works due to the atrocity of the practical effects of the monster’s costume.
What might have worked is if they just kept the bird in silhouette or simply concentrated on its shadow. But like most monster movies – you have to show the creature so that the audience knows what our heroes are dealing with. Even if it had been brought up to Corman-level effects, or even a little further, the film would have been vastly improved, but when dealing with tight-fisted producer Sam Katzman who made other fairly terrible films like Zombies of Mora Tau (though it was slightly better), you know it would have been impossible and you have to feel bad for those that worked on the film.
The Giant Claw is not the worst film ever made, and it is pretty bad, but it is actually watchable and there are moments of suspense to be had though horror is understandably missing. Worth watching for the novelty that it is and nothing more.
First Entry – Trapped in the… – Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Second Entry – Can You Feel the… – Tremors (1990)
Third Entry – Beauty and Danger Collide in… – Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957)
Fourth Entry – Dance the Night Away in the… – Village of the Giants (1965)
Fifth Entry – It Was a Time… – When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)
Last Year’s Creatures…
Giant Monster Gamera (1965)
The Monolith Monsters (1957)
Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
The Cyclops (1957)
Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
The Killer Shrews (1959)
Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Space Monster Gamera (1980)
King Dinosaur (1955)
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
The Black Scorpion (1957)
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999)
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
Gamera the Brave (2006)
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1966)