Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 27, 2011



In the Salton Sea prehistoric mollusks -- or "krakens" -- that resemble giant caterpillars and suck all the fluid out of their victims arise from a new fissure and present quite a problem. Commander Twillinger (Tim Holt) of Naval Intelligence is assigned to hunt down and eradicate the beasts even as he carries on a romance with a pretty widow and lab secretary named Gail (Audrey Dalton). Hans Conreid is oddly cast as a scientist and Gail's boss, although he is quite effective, as are Holt and Dalton. The cadaverous Milton Parsons shows up as an historian named Lewis Clark Dobbs. The creatures are very well-designed mechanical beasties who perform better than you might imagine, and there's a creepy climax in the lab when one breaks out of its container and pursues Gail and her little daughter. The script is flavored with some interesting characters and touches.

Verdict: One of the better creature features of the period. ***.


Neil A Russell said...

This is one of the two movies that gave me the willies when I was about 6. The other one was Bert Gordon's "Earth vs the Spider".

A local TV station thought it was a good idea to show this stuff at 3:30 in the afternoon and I got my first taste of 50s sci fi as I was getting home daily from first grade.

I saw this not long ago and was trying to remember what part bothered me so much, and I don't think it was the shriveled up sailors. I accepted that as just part of the "science".

It was that scene where the mom is hiding with her daughter from the monsters and pretty much tells her that, as Douglas Adams put it; "this is it, we're going to die".

Creepy when I was little, annoying to me as an old guy!

William said...

There were shriveled up people in "Earth vs the Spider" as well.

I can understand how a kid would be disturbed by that scene in the climax when the mother tells her little girl to cloe her eyes and you know just what she's thinking -- we're gonna get eaten. Luckily they get saved, although in a modern movie they probably wouldn't be!

Thanks for your comments.