Saturday 8 December 2007

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) Roger Corman

Having grown up addicted to the books of prolific 70s/80s pulp horror novelist Guy N Smith, author of the legendary crabs series, and the films of low budget exploitation maestro Roger Corman, I must have seen this at some point, but I couldn't remember any of it. We're on some obscure Pacific island, centre for scientific study given its strong presence of radioactivity. It's also prone to earthquakes and avalanches and all sorts of other natural chaos, and is now the heart of a mystery to boot.

Some guy called Maclean has vanished from the island, seemingly without trace. He even left his journal halfway through a sentence. Given the title, I'm sure you can't be surprised to find that it was really due to giant mutated crab monsters but these particular giant mutated crab monsters are intelligent and have a talent for telepathy acquired from eating the brains of their victims. Yeah, this wanders further away from any realistic level of sanity than most of its fellow z-grade fifties horror scifi flicks but somehow it has a charm.

Perhaps it's because it has so much packed into its scant 62 minute running time. My better half can enjoy the irony of Russell Johnson's character fixing the radio that has been so neatly destroyed by a giant crab, given that he spent so much of the run of Gilligan's Island nearly a decade later fixing their radio too. I've never seen Gilligan's Island so don't even know who 'The Professor' is, but I can enjoy the irony of one of America's favourite TV shows being so obviously influenced by a Corman film.

I can also enjoy the rest of the nonsense, and there's just so much of it. Beyond the scientific nonsense, which is everywhere and from what seems like every discipline, there are underwater scenes, characters of multiple nationalities and accents, philosophical discussions. There's romance, drama and action. There's even an oil strike and a DJ called Pineapple Joe. You name it, it's in here. None of it is here for long, of course, so pay attention. Blink and it'll be onto something else. Amazing. 1957 is adding up as a stellar year for the truly awful.

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