While I’m still in my house, I’m openly avoiding looking at films about outbreaks or viruses even as a metaphor, so no zombie movies… not that I’d watch them anyway I did that whole sleepless nights thing pointing out I don’t like those films. So let’s go back to 50s B monster movies and the fun they entail.
Roger Corman is a name well known for B movies. These are usually just some cheesy looking thing that the man in the suit has to wear, so let’s look at a particular bonkers idea with Attack of the Crab Monsters.
The setting isn’t a bad one. A group of scientists go to an island where a previous team who had been studying the effects of nearby nuclear tests had vanished from. On the way there one of their number falls off the boat and we see something move underwater. By the time he is picked up his head is removed.
What follows is an oddly tense tale for a while. Reading about strange findings by the previous team before what they were writing abruptly stops. Strange noises in this island where no animal life seems to live. Odd landslides happening that slowly destroy the island making it smaller. And then the voices of the dead calling out to them as their numbers slowly diminish.
Eventually they are all lured to the caves by the voice of the recently deceased, finding out the voices seem to be transmitted through metal somehow. Only to find it was giant mutant crabs that can eat brains and absorb them and plan to take over the world! What’s more thanks to their messed up molecular nature they are impervious to bullets (well more like metal just goes right through them but neat they actually explain for once why bullets don’t work on the monster). And yes, this does lead to a scene where a giant crab speaks French through an axe head.
Now admittedly once the crabs are revealed the tension about the voices of the dead is gone which was a surprisingly good and somewhat scary mystery. But now it’s a race against time as one crab they managed to kill by mistake while the other seems to be pregnant. So yeah once the crabs are revealed the best bit of the film is gone but the nature of the crabs is still crazy and nuts. What’s more they find that electricity can kill them (something about the atomic structure again) so they must lure it into a trap, which naturally doesn’t work as now the plot required stupidity has to hit.
The film abruptly ends with the last crab’s death and like other films of this nature, no epilogue, no explanation on how the remaining people get off the now very barren island, but that’s B movies for you.
It’s by no means a great work of art or lost gem. But I don’t really watch old cheesy movies for that. I came to see something that is silly, insane, a little bit funny with cheapness, and yet still more inventive and entertaining than those god awful CGI made for TV movie monsters we have now.
Rating: Not out of quality but it is a rather fun film in its nuttiness.
I saw this exactly 50 years ago, in 1970, as part of a double bill with ‘I Was A Teenage Frankenstein’.
Yes, it scared me a bit as I was so young- still dunno how I got in to see an ‘X’ movie!