Also known as: The Trollenberg Terror (UK)
Release Date: October 7th, 1958 (UK)
Directed by: Quentin Lawrence
Written by: Jimmy Sangster, Peter Key
Based on: a 1956 television serial
Music by: Stanley Black
Cast: Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne
Tempean Films, Eros Films Ltd., Distributors Corporation of America, 84 Minutes
This movie is probably best known for being the film featured in the first episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 when it debuted for a national audience in its first season on the Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central). It also inspired a Misfits song of the same name and was mentioned in the Stephen King novel It. In fact, the title monster of that novel actually takes on the form of the monster from The Crawling Eye.
The film’s story follows a UN investigator who is looking into the strange account of a student mountain climber who was mysteriously decapitated in the Swiss Alps. He believes there is a correlation to similar incidents that happened a few years earlier in the Andes. Eventually, it is discovered that there is a large alien creature, alive in the mountain clouds. It has one massive eye and a bunch of tentacles.
The film is actually really interesting for the most part. The plot is better than most of the movies that are famous for being riffed. However, the longer the picture rolls on, the more it goes downhill.
The acting is pretty bad. Forrest Tucker from F Troop takes on the serious lead but it is hard to actually take him seriously because of his iconic comedic role. Granted, he was in a lot of other films but this just isn’t a great role for him. While some comedic actors can effectively evolve into being dramatic, it doesn’t work for me with Tucker.
Another thing that this film was mired by was the special effects. They are very poorly executed and completely distract from what started out as a somewhat engaging experience. Once the monster shows up, the film immediately slips into being a throwaway low budget 1950s sci-fi creature feature.
But despite its flaws, I admittedly love the tentacled one-eyed alien beast.
The Crawling Eye could have been a much better picture. It had elements that showed signs of promise but ultimately, the filmmakers didn’t take it seriously enough and were hindered by obvious budget constraints and an overall lack of talent.