Friday, January 17, 2014

Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

The Navy brings researchers to an island with an abandoned research facility. The previous occupants disappeared with no trace. What could have happened to them? Spoiler alert: they were eaten by crab monsters.

Well, the island experiences strange earth quakes, giant holes in the ground open up, and they start to hear the ghostly voices of their departed colleagues. It seems that when the crabs eat people, they gain their knowledge. How did they get so mutated? Atomic radiation. Oh, yea. That old chestnut.

I watched this for one reason only. On my way home from work I heard of the death of Russell Johnson, the great Professor from Gilligan's Island. Dedicated readers will also remember him from This Island Earth and It Came from Outer Space. He was a hard working actor, all around nice guy, and a bone fide war hero, earning the purple heart during World War II. But enough about Russ, back to the movie.

If goofs are your thing, then you are in luck, because goofs are this movie's thing. It would be tedious to mention them all (IMDB lists only seven). Let's take an early scene as an example. Within a yard and a half of shore, one of the Navy doofs falls out of the boat into very deep water. There he sees a giant crab monster and swims frantically to the surface. When the other doofs bring the obvious mannequin back on board, they discover it has no head. Forgetting for the moment that it should have been his feet that got chopped, the rest of the cast act as if this was a regrettable accident and don't find his decapitation all that shocking. Maybe the crabs get stupider as they eat them.

Typical Roger Corman material. Mediocre acting, terrible accents, clumsy scenes, substandard script, forgettable story, but otherwise watchable. Corman is famous for spending $100,000 and grossing a million. But if he could spend $110,000, still earn that million, and make something worth remembering, he wouldn't hesitate to pocket the ten grand. I have a hard time respecting that. Still, maybe because of my fondness for Johnson's Professor, I enjoyed Crab Monsters. Foreshadowing his later role, Johnson even makes a radio out of the unlikeliest of materials: radio parts. Go figure!

Watchable, short, and dumb. Today I give it an AMRU of 3. Rest in peace, Russ.

No comments:

Post a Comment