Creature Features revisited – More Giant Monsters

Creature Features revisited – More Giant Monsters

A look back at the golden age of sci-fi, the 1950‘s. Our subject today… More giant monsters!
Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Giant Gila Monster, Tarantula, Earth vs the Spider
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Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

attack-of-the-crabs-monster-movie-poster attack of the crab monsters - pic 9
A group of scientists investigate the effects of radiation on a Pacific Island near the Bikini Island Nuclear experiments. They are attacked by a couple of giant crabs that also have gained intelligence and psychic powers. They have telepathy and they absorb the knowledge of the victims they eat. One by one the group are killed in horrible attacks which leave them headless. The last three scientists communicate with the female crab and learn of her plan to reach the mainland, have her babies and devour all of mankind.
Roger Corman told writer, Charles B. Griffith, that he wanted this film to be experimental and have every scene to have action or suspense. The film was quite successful, costing only 70k but making over one million dollars. While it doesn’t have the best Giant creature effects to stand up to other films of the time, it makes up for it by using close-up shots and movement of the camera. This keeps the flaws of the creature design obscured. If you had talked to teens that saw this in the theatres, they would have told you this film was frightening. I think the main reason for that was the beheaded victims and discovering that the crabs were eating the heads. That was very gruesome for the 1950s
Trivia:
Russell Johnson as, Hank, spends his time while stuck on the island trying to fix the radio so they can call for help. Many years later he plays the Professor on Gilligan’s Island who, while stuck on the island, spends his time fixing the radio so they can call for help.
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The Giant Gila Monster (1959)

giant gila monster poster 1the giant gila monster - pic 4
I enjoyed the 50’s/60’s hot-rod and rock-and-bop feel of The Giant Gila Monster. Typical plot of 1950’s sci-fi without the budget of better known films of the era. Young couples in their cars go missing as the Gila Monster stomps some vehicles early in the film. The monster also causes a train wreck. It isn’t until the big dance party that the monster really makes itself known, coming out of hiding because of that crazy loud rock music. The town is saved by a guy named ‘Chase’ and his hot-rod! It’s budget film fun with a couple of good Gila Monster scenes, but it won’t win any awards for special FX. Watch for nostalgic entertainment on a day you have nothing else to do. Directed by Ray Kellogg. There’s a colorized version which doesn’t look too bad. And there’s a remake that looks SyFy style terrible.
Trivia:
Actress Lisa Simone was a contestant for Miss Universe in 1957.

Texas Drive-in theater owner, Gordon McLendon produced this film and The Killer Shrews as second features to the main attractions he had at his theaters.

Danzig used the font from the movie posters for his album logos.
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Tarantula (1955)

Tarantula_1955tarantula 1955 pic 1
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The film stars John Aagar, Mara Corday and Leo G. Carroll. A scientist secretly experimenting with a nutrient that effects the pituitary gland looses one of his specimens, a tarantula the size of a dog. The next time they see this tarantula it has grown significantly. Another scientist (John Agar) investigating the death of a biologist who had stumbled in from the desert with deformed features meets with his lovely assistant, (Mara Corday).  They discover the Giant mutant spider and work to get the situation under control before it can reach town. There’s a tense scene where the tarantula is looking through the window at Stephanie and attacks the house looking for a meal. The film has a better than average plot, story and acting, making it one of the more respected giant bug films of the time. My only dissappiontment as a kid was the Tarantula never makes it to town to cause destruction. Directed by Jack Arnold (Creature from the Black Lagoon).
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Trivia:
Clint Eastwood has a bit part as a pilot for the jet fighters that shoot at the tarantula at the film’s end.
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The tarantula is the same spider that performed in The Incredible Shriking Man.
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Earth vs. The Spider (1958)

earth v the spider aka The Spider poster Earth vs the Spider (1958) - pic 8

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(aka: The Spider – not to get confused with Tarantula – 1955)
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A girl in high school is worried about her dad, who hasn’t come home from a road trip the night before. She convinces her boyfriend to go looking for him. These two teenage kids, Mike and Carol, they ain’t no Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, that’s for sure. They find Carol’s Dad’s car crashed off the highway and search the area. Carol sees a cave and figures her injured Dad may have crawled into there for shelter. They fall into a big web and are nearly killed by the humongous spider. Ironically, the spider’s growl sounds pretty close to Carol’s scream with effects on it.
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Naturally they tell the authorities, the authorities go into the cave, find Carol’s dead Dad and kill the spider. A professor of takes the spider to the university and has it on display for study. The staging area is in the auditorium. At night the band comes to play a gig and all the teens come to dance to the rocking sounds. And I’ll be damned, that crazy rock-n-roll music revives that damn spider! (told you that rock n roll music was bad for ya’). Screams, gasps, running… we got ourselves a monster movie! The monster terrorizes a suburban town, threatens a mom and her baby, and follows our hero‘s car back into the woods. The Authorities follow the spider back to its cave and kill it once and for all. There’s some not-so-great matt compositing for FX and in some scenes it looks like they may have used miniature buildings. It didn’t look like the real spider they used wanted to co-operate much. The film was produced, directed and written by Bert I. Gordon, who was an avid B-horror film producer of the time.
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Trivia:
In a scene with a movie theater where Mike works at, you can see a poster for The Amazing Colossal Man in the Coming Soon display case and the Marque shows Attack of the Puppet People as now showing. Both are by Bert I. Gordon films.
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photo galleries:
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parlor of horror – classic sci-fi/horror movie reviews

8 thoughts on “Creature Features revisited – More Giant Monsters

  1. I have all 4 of these on VHS.Wife and kids are visiting grandma in Myrtle beach..I think tonight I ‘m having a quadruple feature.Frozen pizza, Black cherry soda,barbecue chips,and a cigar on the back porch to end the night.It’s the simple things in life that bring such happiness.

  2. Pingback: DINOSAUR films and other giant creature movies – Overview | parlor of horror

  3. Pingback: Parlor of Horror – 2016 – Year in review | parlor of horror

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