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I Bet You Didn't See... Attack of the Crab Monsters

Updated: Jan 13


Part of the Roger Corman series.

Attack of the Crab Monsters is both truly wonderful and terrible in equal measure. It is a classic B-Movie and a Roger Corman masterpiece. If you are a fan of the B-Movie genre, this is a must for you.

The basic story is that an expedition to an island in the Bikini Atoll, where the US nuclear testing happened back then, has gone missing and a new team has gone to find them and explore the effects of nuclear radiation of the plant and animal life on the island. That’s all we need to know.

Some of the crew discovering the Crab's cave

After that, it just gets fun. It’s got your classic 50’s film necessities; a pristine leading lady who is given an intelligent character but is ultimately the one chased by the monster, screams a lot but survives to fall for our leading man; lots of running that is just a light trot in front of screens and lumbering props; and numerous static camera shots of people listening to each other.

A colour shot of filming the chase

The gem of this film is our villain – the irradiated Crab Monsters. Of course, as mid-20th century sci-fi has it, radiation causes giant mutations in all animals but for some reason it is suddenly safe for humans. Our villain is a giant, papier-mâché puppet with MASSIVE human eyes and telepathic capabilities, in the voice of whoever it eats. This huge puppet was manoeuvred on the set and was so big and bulky that Pamela Duncan had to keep her running away from it very slow so it appeared to keep up!

Why does no ever have more than just a handgun?

You don’t watch these films for their acting talent, or their storytelling. You watch them for a laugh, and for a great insight into the glory of cheap filmmaking at its best. It’s the kind of film you find on channels like “Legend” or “TCM” on a rainy Sunday afternoon. And I think that students need to watch these films so that they can learn appreciate that while they may feel that the technology they have may be limiting, it is possible to do great things with very little.

The monster attacks!

For the budget they had (no more than $85,000), this was quite the funding for a B-Movie, and they used it well. A good location, fun practical effects, and no “animated” drawings overlaid, which is always good at this level of film. The film was a roaring success, as Corman films often were in the 50’s and 60’s, as it grossed almost $1million at the box office, and we can now (and forever) bask in the glory of the Crab Monsters.

Directed by: Roger Corman

Screenplay by: Charles B. Griffith

Starring: Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson

Released: February 10, 1957

My Rating: 6/10

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