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Latest Member: DennisLow Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Reader Comments  |  The Monster that Challenged the World « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Monster that Challenged the World  (Read 30797 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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I know where my towel is.

« on: December 17, 1999, 07:52:18 PM »

The US Navy battles giant snails in the middle of the desert. Despite sounding like a silly premise, this is a classic 50's monster movie.


Andrew Borntreger
Bob Weymouth
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2003, 08:48:37 PM »

Anchors Away near the Salton Sea!  Mollusks amok!  Remember not to jump from the plane until the rescue boat is right under you so the bugs can eat the crewmen and then you!  Fab movie.  
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2000, 02:35:40 PM »

The moral of this story is:  Don't leave your giant snail egg in the care of Wrongway Feldman!
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

One of the better 50's monster movies!  It has its weak spots - extremely bad acting by Tim Holt as the base commander and the overall 50's-ness of the plot leap to mind.  Still, there are many elements working for the film - atmospheric B&W photography that's very creepy, good creature effects, some tense scenes of conflict with the creatures, and the amazing Hans Conried.  Just a few specific moments I can recall thanks to the very good MGM DVD release:

1)  The foreboding shots of the sea during the search for the missing diver.  The Salton Sea does not look like a very inviting place.

2)  The first encounter with the creature is well-played and convincing, unlike so many contemporary movies that bit the dust once they had to actually show their monster.  The creature itself, while not necessarily very mollusky-looking, has a scary, skullish face with bulging eyes.  They spear one of its eyes and goo comes out, too!  That shocked me as a kid.  This movie has a bit of an edge to it not common back then.

3)  The single, working mother and her daughter are played and developed well.  Oh, and those lab rabbits are so cute!  The girl calls one of them Grace.  Actually, many of the smaller roles are nicely developed and acted.  It's a shame the lead is such a plank of wood.

3)  The lock watchman sequence is genuinely frightening to this day (at least to me).  The setup with the kids playing in the canal during the day sets the stage for a very effective jump scare.  Just when you think the coast is clear, BAM!  The monster's on the guy *fast* and munching his head vigorously!

4)  The lab attack sequence is great.  First we find out Grace and all her fellow rabbits have been liberated in a most messy fashion (there's that edge again).  Then mother and daughter barricade themselves in a closet against the newly-hatched mollusk as it begins chewing through the door.  This is intercut with scenes of the unaware heroes leisurely driving back to base, at one point almost stopping for breakfast!  Once again the mechanical monster effects hold up to some lengthy screen time.  The death of the creature is one of the best achieved using non-animation effects.

A grade "A" monster movie, even if it's a "B" film.

Also of note, the diver that doesn't get munched is played by Max Showalter (billed as Casey Adams), who I recognized as one of Molly Ringwald's grandfathers in "Sixteen Candles" (another favorite of mine).  
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

I have't seen this movie since I was a teenager but remember it made a big impact on me at that time. Truly one of the best Sci-Fi movies of the 1950's.
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

This movie is now available on a good budget DVD from MGM.  I found it a lot of fun, nicely handled and pretty intelligent.  As for the fire ax vs. fire extinguisher, well, these creatures have a pretty good reach and kill everyone they touch, so you'd have to have really good aim....

As a side-note, here we have a character named Twillinger, and in "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T," there's a character named Terwilliker...both films made in the 50's and feature Hans Conried!  Conspiracy or what?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

I love this movie it has a great story, great soundtrack, and a Kick Arse monster!  Oh, and let this movie prove to you that little girls have no business inside a Military installation's laboratory.
The Monster That Challenged Good Sense
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

Another fun flick from my childhood. I always remember fondly Hans Conried (or, should I say Uncle Tonoose (sp?) from "The Danny Thomas Show!")overacting and saying "The eye! Get the eye!" before they poke the monster's eye with an oar and all this puss shoots out!
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

So glad I found this flick.  It's a lot of fun watching in a group and unlike modern sci fi, there's nothing too gross, embarrassing, or offensive in this movie to deter your enjoyment in a group of mixed ages, genders, backgrounds, etc.  I thoughly enjoy playing it for house guests because I live at the Salton Sea!  Ahhh!
(There are so many strange things going on at "the weirdest body of water on earth" you could make a sci fi every month of the year here---bioluminescent tides on full moons, eight foot waves during Borrego windstorms, wrath-of-God sand storms, eerie sunsets, the way the water goes still like glass in high humidity, etc.  For this I left Orange County!!)
Jim (53 years old)
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM »

Ladies and Gentlemen, in 1957, when I was 7, I was living in Farbanks Alaska.  I remember seeing this movie at the Base (Ladd Air Force Base) movie theater as a matinee on Thanksgiving Day.  For years, I had nightmares because of it.  I can't remember how many times I woke screaming that the monster was after me.  My mom and dad remembered also.  It was my very first (that I remember) monster flick.  To this day, I don't enjoy scary movies because of it.  No real special effects, no real blood and gore ... just plain, old fashioned mental scary (with a really gross looking monster).  

Thanks for the comments from everyone.  Remember, everything in the 50's wasn't all bad ... sometimes we got to listen to the radio shows.

« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

This is one of the few monsters movies that scared the daylights out of me when I was still a kid.Even to this day certain scenes still hold up and give me the creeps.Especially when the guy under the water gets his face sucked out by the nasty horror snail/caterpillar and is screaming in pain and you see his face turn color as if he had been dead for weeks.Those pinchers is what is scary.

The scene where the night watchman gets killed,while looking out over the water,and the snail creeps up on him from behind,and gets it also terrifies me still to the point that I jump,even though I know what is about to happen.The scene where the guy out in the boat sees the giant snail and goes into shock and you see his face filled with terror is also very convincing and quite frightening.

One person who doesn't get killed but you would think that he is a goner at some point in the film is Gordon Jones,who plays the cop.He also was best known for playing "Mike The Cop" on the old "Abbott And Costello" TV show.
Lin Kuei
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2005, 06:42:00 AM »

  A groovy flick despite the unmerciful graphics limitations posed by the time this was on the verge to make its appearence
Bob the mutant chicken
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2006, 12:59:55 PM »

Buy this movie it is ten time better than MONSTER.The director of that movie could have took some lessons from it.One of the best B movies ever made.
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2006, 04:37:53 PM »

I saw part of this on tv one time. Why the monsters bear no resemblance to the mollusk in any way puzzles me.
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM »

I vaguely remember seeing this movie once or twice,it was billed as "A New Kind of Terror to Numb the Nerves!" and starred Tim Holt who used to be in alot of B-Westerens,anyway the monsters looked just like Mothra,the only thing missing were thoes two fairies to sing to them,as if this movie wasn't bad enough as it was!,anyway the Mothra Beasts are hardly in it and can be killed by machineguns,a word of warning to the scientists,when taking back huge mollusk eggs to be examined at the lab,"Don't Let Your Secretaries Kid Fool Around With the Thermostat!".
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