Attack of the Crab Monsters

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A group of scientists land on a remote island in the Pacific to search for a previous expedition that disappeared and to continue research about the effects of radiation from the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests on the island’s plant and sea life. They learn to their horror that the earlier group of scientists have been eaten by mutated giant crabs that have gained intelligence by absorbing the minds of their victims. Members of the current expedition are systematically attacked and killed by the crabs, which are invulnerable to most weaponry because of the mutation in their cell structure. Finally, they discover the crabs are the cause of the earthquakes and landslides that are destroying the island, and begin thinking of a way to stop the crab monsters from reproducing. After barely escaping from a laboratory that was close to collapsing, the remaining trio witness one of the giant crabs for the first time. This was Hoolar, The Giant Crab, played by David Arvedon. Hoolar vows to swim to the mainland to eat more people. At last, one of the three sacrifices his life to kill Hoolar. The film ends with the survivors embracing each other.


Returning to the sci-fi films that one would pay 15 cents to watch at the drive in with your main squeeze or a bunch of friends in the late 50s, I present to you, Attack of the Crab Monsters. In more than one list of worst films of all time, this is mentioned, so I figured why not see whether or not it really is as bad as advertised.

What is this about?

Killer crustaceans unleash their wrath and their sizeable claws on scientists sent to explore their habitat in this Roger Corman classic. Nuclear fallout has mutated ordinary crabs into supersize creatures that are able to absorb human intelligence.

What did I like?

Suspense. Ever see a suspense picture that has something that you want to see, like say a killer or monster, but it holds that off as a way to build up tension? Believe it or not, this film does the same thing. The director doesn’t do the big reveal until nearly the end of the film, but there are hints all throughout the film, such as larger than normal crabs on the beach and the giant crab claw that attacks the cabin.

Era of their ways. The 50s were a paranoid time. It seems like any and everything people could be afraid of, they were. Hmmm…kind of sounds like today, but you throw in blaming one political party or the other and/or a lawsuit. At any rate, as I’ve said in other reviews, the best sci-fi comes from social commentary on the time. A giant crab mutated by radioactivity. You can’t be more obvious about your fear/opinion about nuclear testing than that, now can you?

What didn’t I like?

Got wood? This is a B-movie if I’ve ever seen one, but that doesn’t mean that these actors should have been so wooden in their performances. I was getting nothing more than generic readings from most of them. Only the actors who were using accents seem to be trying, and I think said accents made it seem like they were trying harder than they actually were.

These eyes. Let’s talk about this crab monster, shall we? It is a giant crab, mutated by radioactivity that somehow gains power by eating people. How does that work? I have no idea, but that is what the filmmakers were selling. Second, the eyes on this thing are creepier than anything else about this film. Look at them in the poster. In black and white and on film, they look creepier! I can only imagine what it would have been like on the big screen. Is this a bad thing? No, but go look at a crab. They have eye stalks, not human eyes!

There was an episode of South Park a few years back there everyone turned into crab people. When I first saw Attack of the Crab People available on Netflix instant, I thought it was the basis for that episode, but that wasn’t the case. This B-movie is basically another giant monster created by radioactive experiments, though not as exciting as any of the Godzilla movies. There is nothing special here, and it is just plain bad sci-fi flick that has no redeeming qualities. My verdict is that you are best to avoid it like the plague.

2 out of 5 stars


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