OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

When looking at my meager output on this blog thus far, I noticed that most of the movies I've reviewed thus far are pretty new fare. So I decided to go for something truly classic and old school, and whilst I am still scared of my budget pack, I decided to go for a treat: A Roger Corman movie. As I managed to not watch a Corman movie outside a MST3K episode yet (at least to my knowledge), I already expected the worst. I mean... holy crap. "Attack of the Crab Monsters"... what a ridiculous title. And the acting... oh my Gods... THE ACTING...

The movie starts out with freaking surreal credits.

What the fuck...?

The plot? A group of scientists and some... well, non-scientists (I failed to really grasp why they were there in the first place, or what their responsibilities and duties were, but it's a B-Movie, so I'll not think about that for too long) come to an island in order to research the effects of too much radioactive stuff on... well, things on islands. They also want to know what happened to the first group of scientists that visited this island and vanished without a trace.

That said, the pictures are actually beautiful at times. When Corman has the possibility to shoot outside, it actually looks good. Unless it involves giant crab monsters, of course. I mean, take this for example:

Actually looks cool, doesn't it?

So yeah, I surprisingly enjoyed his camerawork. He has a very distinct, crisp style (and apparently a thing for oriental looking props, as I just notice during the second viewing to take the screenshots) - nothing fancy, but I like it. Sometimes, he dwells a bit too long on empty spaces or meaningless scenes that don't actually contribute to the movie's story or development, but even these are not bad.

By far my favourite scenes in The Attack of the Crab Monsters are the underwater scenes. Behold!

I have that thing going for old 50s and 60s equipment. Especially on well-formed females.

Speaking of well-formed females...

Because we can't really see a lot here, I took the liberty of taking another screen. One with more details.

And don't ask me what happened to the right black, errr, thing. I swear I didn't cut it out. It just... disappeared from the screen. And I didn't notice it. Weird.

But yeah, that's one of the reasons I like the underwater scenes. Another reason is that we get to see actual, living fishies.

Including, but not limited to, Steve Irwin's killer - EVIL STINGRAY!

At this point, I inevitably have to point out a plothole:

This isn't very far away from the shore, is it? I mean... hardly a giant distance in which the risk of drowning is very real and poses a danger to seafaring, brave men all over the world. Heck, a 4 year old could swim the distance from the boat to the shore. Also, please notice how shallow the shore is.

Okay, so we agree that this is not a dangerous shore?

Well, someone falls out of the boat (look at those evil, dark waters!), drowns, screams (underwater, I might add), and then gets beheaded. By a giant, evil crab monster.

That's probably the most un-bloody beheaded body I've ever seen. Then again, we're in the year 1957, and later, when a character gets separated from his right hand in a very permanent way (again by virtue of a giant crab monster, although indirectly, as in "by virtue of earthquake somehow caused by giant crab monster if I didn't get the plot completely wrong"), we see his hand lying half a meter away from his wrist, and there is no blood whatsoever. But heck, what did I expect. Certainly not copious amounts of blood and gore.

I like how he carefully lifts his arm to convince us that he really lost his hand.

Well, how to continue...?

During the night (well, some night they spend at the island), a pit (about 50 feet deep) suddenly appears, caused by "a disturbance" ("This pit appeared within the last 20 minutes!"... science isn't exactly Corman's strength, is it?), and of course, one of our heroes decides to climb into it... and...
...falls, of course. What else did you expect? I might have to add at this point that the pit is filled with land crabs.

Later, the marine biologist and... some other guy get woken up by the disembodied voice of one of the vanished scientists from the first expedition, beckoning them to come outside and help him. Yeah, we all can imagine what that entails... but actually, nothing happens. Besides for our heroes figuring out that the souls of those who disappeared on this accursed, foul island might still be... alive, somehow.

Oh, I forgot something:

The dialogue.

It is terrible. Trust me. It is at times bearable, but mostly terrible - so terrible that it's already funny again.

Dale Drewer: "Are you hiding something from us, doctor? A theory perhaps?"
Dr. Karl Weigand: "Maybe!"

Hank Chapman: "I killed it."
Dr. Karl Weigand: "Yes. By the sheerest luck."

Brilliant in its simplicity, but at the same time utterly hilarious and ridiculous. I enjoyed the dialogues a lot - in that "it hurts so much that I already start to like it"-way (Me? A masochist? Are you KIDDING me?! Hrmph.).

I also want to note that some of the reactions from the cast are... just... words fail me. For example:
A giant crab monster breaks into the house and wreaks havoc in a room (in order to destroy the house's wiring, apparently). Our protagonists, present?

Are standing there and looking at the door behind which the terror is happening. Even after the guy went in and saw a GIANT CRAB MONSTER attack him. I don't find that reaction entirely believable.

The soundtrack is actually good though, I might add.

Well, on to the essentials of the movie: The crab monsters.

They are actually cool. Okay, cool besides for how they look like. When eating someone, they absorb their entire atomic structure AND can speak with their voices AND absorb all their memories and knowledge. It is a very cool premise that could actually work out as something creepy if adapted for modern audiences with slightly better effects (and I say "slightly" because I mean "one hell of a lot of better effects" but don't actually want to admit it). Just... why the hell CRABS? I can't think of something as unthreatening as crabs (although a certain someone might disagree with me on that and might even get me to admit that crabs are awesome creatures of destruction if he just keeps the indoctrination up). Intelligent, thinking, mind-reading, mind-absorbing crabs?

Also, the science of this movie, although I hesist to call it thus, makes my head hurt. So, the titular crab monsters have... evolved... because of radioactive plants that they... ate? They are ...negatively charged (!!!) and can be destroyed (as in "literally reduced to sand") by positive energy. Also, their... atoms... are not coherent. As in... no connection at all between their constituting atoms. They can also transmit their voice through anything made out of metal (?) and are apparently able to sink islands.

As I said, science isn't exactly the strong point of this movie. It might even be its weakest point. I mean... no connection between their constituent atoms?! What the hell?!

Still, as I actually was able to enjoy this movie and the premise of the monsters isn't bad at all:

5.5/10 really ridiculous looking crab monsters who transfer their voices into metal.

Okay, okay. I am convinced. I was privileged enough to witness aforementioned friend's crab collection today. Spider crabs look fucking scary, ESPECIALLY to someone with a bad case of arachnophobia like myself.

So... yes. Crabs can be scary. I admit it. I repent.

If I can get a picture of his spider crab, I'll put it up here. Google doesn't give me a picture as... nice... as his exemplar. The fact that he killed the critter himself and now has them lying around in boxes in his room in which he stores all of his stuff makes it even better. And, apparently, crabs are actually cool critters. So... I apologise. Crabs are truly cool things.

...sheesh, now I am thinking about crabs and how to murder them.