Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Nomination Year: 2014
SYNOPSIS: Attack of the Crab Monsters is directed by Roger Corman, and that means it's very efficient. It has to be. Film costs money, you know!
My primary complaint about this film, and I know you won't believe me when I say this, but it's true, is that the movie isn't long enough. It feels like everything clicks along, bang bang bang, and then the crab monster is attacking on that final morning, and then-- Wait, how did they manage to end that in two minutes?
But they did. With a little more time, the movie could have been expanded to flow better. It would have felt a little less "noomi noomi noomi noo, oh look here comestheendOFTHEFILMOHGODNO--!"
The movie begins with the arrival of a group of scientists (and others) to a remote tropical island. Their intent is to study the effect of radioactivity on the locale, and if possible, discover what happened to the first team of scientists -- the ones that mysteriously disappeared a few months prior.
The team consists of a nuclear physicist, a botanist, a geologist, two biologists (one land, one marine), a tinkerer/handyman (Russell Johnson, who later was "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island), and a couple of Navy demolitions experts.
Their plane returning to Enewetak Atoll is destroyed, and a mysterious storm has blown up that is cutting off all radio communication. Strange rumblings shake the island, and a sinkhole opens up, exposing another entrance to some sea-level caves that run underneath large parts of the island.
The mysterious monsters start to pick off scientists one-by-one. As there are no black scientists in the group (it was 1957, after all), the first one to go is the Frenchman. But! He still is heard throughout the rest of the movie.
Because, you see, these mysterious monsters are crab-shaped beings made of (sort-of-)solid energy ... and when they eat a person, they absorb his mind into their energy matrix, and can communicate telepathically with his "voice." Which means that Roger Corman gives us a giant parade float covered with a painted dropcloth rising dramatically out of the water and taunting our heroes with an outrageous French accent.
The crab monsters are also causing the mysterious rumblings and explosions that are knocking the island into the sea -- in an attempt to cover their tracks, and corner the few remaining survivors. They can't attack directly because (being energy beings) they find electricity totally inimical -- they're composed of negative energy instead of positive energy, and -- well -- moving along....
At this point, there are three survivors, one crab monster, and a small amount of island left. And the film resolves in two and a half minutes.
- "Alas, Poor Yorick"
I'm positive he's dead.
Karl is going through the cave, trying to see where the giant crab has gone to. When he sees the placement of his anti-crab trap, he cannot help but stop and tinker with it. Suddenly, the crab appears! Karl starts to run away, but accidentally steps on the trigger -- zapping himself with thousands of volts of positive energy.
- Worst Science
This explanation ate my brain.
Looking at their crab specimen through a microscope, the nuclear scientist opines that its molecular structure is entirely disrupted. "There's no cohesion between the atoms...." This segues into an explanation of how electricity works, except that "instead of free electrons, the crab has free atoms.... It's like a massive liquid with a permanent shape. Any matter, therefore, that the crab eats will be assimilated in its body of solid energy, becoming part of the crab." And this explains why the crab can eat its victims brain, absorbing the mind entirely.
- Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame Russell Johnson best known as "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island, though he had a long and (relatively) distinguished career in film and television
Director Claim to Fame Roger Corman Producer of pretty much everything that was ever crappy, ever, and directed most of it
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