Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson
My rip of a digital capture of the recent TCM broadcast. This has been released by budget DVD outfits with absolutely terrible quality - this print is by far the best I've seen. Now , if they would only broadcast "Invasion of the Saucermen" which also lacks a decent DVD release.
A group of scientists travel to a remote island to study the effects of nuclear weapons tests, only to get stranded when their airplane explodes. The team soon discovers that the island has been taken over by crabs that have mutated into enormous, intelligent monsters. To add to their problems, the island is slowly sinking into the ocean. Will any of them manage to escape?
"In 1957 alone, B-movie impresario Roger Corman directed an astounding ten motion pictures. Attack Of The Crab Monsters was one of these. Remembered more for its title than anything else, the flick stands as a minor monument to enterprising low budget moviemaking — it was made extremely fast and for next to nothing. Ridiculous and cheesy, with a nonsensical plot completely shot through with holes, Crab Monsters is also surprisingly fun... if, like me, you're a fan of Atomic Age beasties in glorious black and white...
...A lot of the plot points in the film don't make any sense at all. Just how did the crabs blow up the plane? Shown as huge, clumsy creatures, how was one of the monsters able to meticulously snip apart the vital components of the radio? They also have the power to generate intense, focused heat waves — why is this power never used against any of the humans once they become threatening? What does the discovery of oil on the island have to do with anything? And why methodically blow up the island to begin with? Ostensibly it's to corner the surviving humans so that they can't escape. But aren't they already stranded? What are the crabs supposed to do once the island's completely gone? (Where are they supposed to hang out after destroying their own home?) Also, when the island's been reduced to only a single remaining outcropping of rock, just what exactly is generating all that electricity coursing through the transmitter tower? Batteries?
Actually, at only 69 minutes the flick zips by so fast that one isn't given much time to ponder these conundrums. And that's why it works — if only on the level of cheesy, disposable fun. (In reality the narrative's even shorter, as in typical Corman fashion the first five minutes are padded with pointless stock footage.) It's also great to see Russell Johnson, best known as the Professor on TV's Gilligan's Island, get to play the All-American hero part usually reserved for John Agar or Kenneth Tobey in the bigger-budgeted monster pics released at the time by the major studios. His Hank is an amiable, 'Can Do' type of guy, the movie's real hero. First-billed Richard Garland really doesn't do much of anything... It's Hank who ends up saving the day with a memorable sacrifice play I vividly recalled from my Creature Feature-infused childhood. (Even Marsha, who's engaged to Garland's character, starts falling for Hank and flirting with him.) Johnson really deserved to receive top billing in the cast. Now whether he would've wanted it that way is another story..." Eccentric Cinema
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Aspect Ratio.: 608x464 (1.310)
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Audio Bitrate: 115kbps 1ch VBR 48000Hz