Halloween Horrors 25 – Attack of the Crab Monsters

Nothing says Halloween like a classic creature film from Roger Corman. This film always makes me smile when the Crab clickitey-clicks his way around, taunting and terrifying the unlucky group that landed on the incredible disintegrating island. I’m certain that Guy N. Smith drew his infamous Crustacean Domination sound effect from this cinematic clawful!

A group of scientists land on an isolated island to research the effects of the US military running nuclear weapons tests-but they find that things are already stirring before they can even get started. All that radiation has set free a GIANT killer crab! Perhaps the swift decapitation of one of the crew should have tipped them off… Some investigating takes place and the cast does a fantastic job carving out their spots. I’d say that Mel Welles was my favorite cast member (especially since he would later direct the awesome Lady Frankenstein)-but I’ve long remembered this film for the scuba gear clad Pamela Duncan, and even after many years since the Saturday Creature Feature has closed it’s UHF signals down I still love seeing her pop out of the water.
And run. Oh, the running… but let us not forget why she runs!

Yep, the radiation has built a big bad beast out of the local sea life thanks to all those shake ups below the surface! And out comes the coolest crab of the 50s. But there is a twist. As the crab claims rights to the island it also ABSORBS the intelligence of it’s meals! Now, this is something that freaked me out as a kid-once I really understood it. And it still does…I could not help but hear the hive mind of Prince of Darkness when old big claws was yammering away about how much trouble the soft humans were in. Bad enough to be a snack, but to give that smack the keys to conquering the world? Not good…

Attack of the Crab Monsters is fast and furious, with all the things I love about a Corman creature film. The man could take a few elements and make magic with them. Not once do I not believe we are on an island that is slowly sinking in to nothing even though the Bronson Caves are as familiar a location as any in the United States for genre films. I want the cast to win, even though I love the monster and think he is a little spooky despite rolling around bouncing over rocks. The sounds, the sights and all the fun of a monster movie rolled in to one brief hour of black and white happiness.

Well, maybe it isn’t all happy… because the ending is one of the best in all of the Corman Canon as far as I’m concerned. The cast has survived at great cost! Sacrifices have been made! Heads have been chomped. A crab stands poised to use new found Atomic Intelligence to scissor pinch the world as it gives birth to a new race of HyperCrab! And though victory for the humans does happen, it is a Pyrrhic victory, because the island is shrinking and their is nothing left but the knowledge that the world is safe…but the nuclear tests WILL continue and it could happen again.
Ah, a classic chill from a film that seems so simple… If you have never enjoyed Attack of the Crab Monsters this is the right time of the year. Click Click Clicketey-Click!

“Once they were men. Now they are land crabs.”

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