Thursday, May 8, 2014

Attack Of The Crab Monsters!

Attack of the Crab Monsters from 1957 is a vintage bit of Roger Corman weirdness. I've heard of this title, but hadn't seen the movie until a few weeks ago. The movie had a disitnct car wreck quality as you watched it unfold before your eyes.

The story is at once a simple and confusing one. A group of scientists are taken to a remote island which has been subjected to intense atomic testing fallout. Another group which preceded them has totally disappeared and the Navy plane which brings them to the island blows up with all hands as it tries to leave the area. Soon the isolated team discovers the island is rocked by seeming earthquakes and pitted with craters which seem to appear at random and which increasingly make the island smaller and smaller. Two Navy men remain to handle some munitions but they are quickly attacked and killed by something unseen. Earlier another sailor had been decapitated mysteriously when the team had landed. All these deaths are taken with relative aplomb by the scientists who themselves begin to go missing weirdly after encounters with some force which speaks in the voice of their missing colleagues.

The cast is soon whittled down to four who surmise they are battling giant mutant crabs who are actually collections of indestructible atoms and who can absorb the bodies and brains and intellects of their victims. This supposedly explains all the mysteries (but doesn't) and then the threat intensifies when the crabs continue to cause the island to crumble limiting the space their victims can run to escape. In a final desperate bid for survival, the hero wins the day in a remarkably contrived manner and the movie swiftly ends.

This is such a weird, weird movie in so many ways I can imagine folks really might have affection for it. I like its sheer goofiness, especially when the scientists are throwing around their moronic theories about what the nature of the threat might be. The dialogue makes absolutely no sense, and almost seems a parody of the gobbledygook that often is spouted in these kinds of movies. This is an especially extreme mixture though of absolute hogwash. Further the crabs are so slow that victims have to be especially careless and witless to fall victim to them in the early stages. It's hard to root for folks so stupid as these scientists appear to be.

The characters are not especially likeable either, with only Russell Johnson coming across as remotely realistic. Most are stock figures fulfilling the roles the story demands and adding little to the mix. This is a haphazard movie with ridiculous monsters and threat to the world which seems oddball indeed.

I can recommend it for utter goofiness, but for little else.

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