Movies From the Black Lagoon: Attack of the Crab Monsters

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Attack of the Crab Monsters - 1957, Unrated
By Tom Doty

A team of second-string scientists is tasked with determining the effects of radiation on south sea life forms, and finding out what happened to the previous team, in this Sci-Fi cheapie from the fabulous fifties.
The story begins with our B-team of eggheads arriving at the site for a less than scientific discussion of the A-Team's fate. Bad weather is the popular theory but if you guessed that giant radioactive crustaceans ate them then you are a B-Movie master. The team gets to work by assembling at the island's only structure to read the notes left behind by the other group. Halfway to the cabin they stop and watch their seaplane explode as it is taking off. They appear moved but continue on.
The next scene could have been deadly dull but gets a few laughs They read the journal aloud to discover that the first group had found evidence of a giant worm. This prompts a discussion of various sea worms that teeters on tedium until we learn that the journal writer died in the middle of the last sentence. Surprisingly the writer didn't finish with arrrgh.
The island begins suffering from earthquakes accompanied a loud clicking sound. Soon an enormous hunk of it crumbles away. The resident geologist boasts that he can rappel down and explore the cavern before the top scientist guy can even be told that that the abyss exists. He heads down but only proves he can scream like a bee stung Kindergartener as the clicking sound comes back.
A search party heads down and discovers that the titular creatures are to blame. A rockslide slows their escape and causes one to lose his hand in a surprisingly gory moment. They head back to their quarters and engage in a wild discussion about radioactive mutation. Their team leader ventures that the crab's atoms are now split and this gives the creatures psychic abilities and a liquid exoskeleton (huh?).
If things weren't bad enough the island is shrinking, the crabs are getting bolder, and the party is down to three brave souls who must lure the giant crustaceans into an electrical field to destroy them. You may think that these folks are finished but they have an edge-one of them is Russell Johnson. He played the 'Professor" on "Gilligan's Island" so he knows a thing or two about getting out of jams if not how to actually get off an island.
This is a fun monster picture that is mercifully short and boasts decent special effects for a production that cost less than one year of your mortgage. The film throws so much stuff at the characters that you never have time to question how unlikely it all is. The actors are mostly B-players who got some TV work but never made a lot of films. The fashion don'ts are legion. Our less than rugged hero, Dale, who prefers open shirts, rocks the worst and ascots despite his slight build and girly hair do. The crab however looks great as it emerges onto the island for the finale though the close-ups tend to spoil the illusion.
The whole thing comes to you courtesy of Roger Corman. He produced and directed this as well as the co-feature (Not of this Earth). If that's not enough then consider a third feature (War of the Satellites) and a ton of extras that include interviews, commentaries, and previews of over 20 Corman films. All that and some of the cheesiest dialog you'll ever hear outside of an adult movie.
Best Lines: "I don't believe in ghosts. We are dealing with a man who is dead, but whose voice and memory live."
"You have wounded me. I must grow a new claw, I can do so in a day."
"Once they were men, now they are land crabs."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@myactv.net.