Film Review: Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)

Release Date: February 10th, 1957
Directed by: Roger Corman
Written by: Charles B. Griffith
Music by: Ronald Stein
Cast: Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson

Allied Artists, 62 Minutes


“You are about to land in a lonely zone of terror… on an uncharted atoll in the Pacific! You are part of The Second Scientific Expedition dispatched to this mysterious bit of Coral reef and volcanic rock. The first group has disappeared without a trace! Your job is to find out why! There have been rumors about this strange atoll… frightening rumors about happenings way out beyond the laws of nature…” – opening crawl

Readers of Cinespiria know that I am a big fan of Roger Corman and his work. He made his mark in Hollywood in spite of the big studio system trying to strong arm independent filmmakers for years. He bucked that system, found a way to produce films quickly and cheaply and even if they aren’t of the quality of what are considered classic masterpieces, they are certainly a lot more fun than most of the Oscar winners of that era.

Attack of the Crab Monsters is a short, quickie shot for $70,000 with a script by regular Corman collaborator Charles B. Griffith. It was probably also shot in like a week or two because that was Corman’s modus operandi.

The film is a scant 62 minutes but it is action packed and loaded with suspense. The monster is exactly what the film’s title implies, crabs. Except these aren’t pubic lice or those little crustaceans that pinch your toes at the beach. No… these are giant, massive crabs that have superior intelligence! They also have the ability to speak telepathically using the voices of their victims. So this leads to some clever crab trickery in trapping some unsuspecting hero, trying to save a missing comrade. C’mon, how is this movie not friggin’ awesome?! How?!

Attack of the Crab Monsters is a stupid but fun movie. Sure, early bits are slow, like when people aren’t getting attacked by giant psychic crabs, but the good bits make up for the slower pace that exists before the monsters make their presence known.

This is a typical ’50s Corman picture. If you’ve seen enough of these, you know what that means. I’m actually surprised that this was never lampooned on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It would be a great film to feature on that show.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: Giant Claws a.k.a. Island Claws, another giant crab movie.

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