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Not Rated
Copyright 1957 Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Hank - Russell Johnson! In addition to being the only useful member of the group he hates crabs on general principle. Electrocutes himself and the last crab, thus saving mankind.
  • Martha and Dale - Biologists in love, though Martha was just about ready to give Hank a test drive. Her boyfriend is a putz.
  • Karl Weigand - Nuclear physicist, first to suspect the existence of mutated monsters, the last to get eaten.
  • Jules Deveroux - French botanist who has one hand cut off by falling rocks. He does not even have time to contemplate how that will affect his sex life before a crab eats him.
  • James Carson - Geologist and light snack.
  • Two Navy Guys - Trained in demolition, though they must have been swabbing the deck when safety was taught. Crab chow.
  • The Crab Monsters - Giant mutated land crabs with human eyes, not only are they nearly impossible to kill, the creatures absorb their victim's intellect by consuming the brain and can project voices through metal objects. (At one point an ashtray is speaking in Jules' voice.) Hank kills both of them.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

After a group of scientists studying the effects of nuclear radiation disappears there is only one thing to do, send another group armed with grenades and rifles to replace them. Unfortunately the floatplane, which transported the team, explodes on takeoff and leaves them marooned and their radio rendered temporarily useless by severe weather.

The Researchers begin conducting experiments on the rapidly shrinking atoll, never guessing what horrors await. Perhaps you are wondering why it's shrinking. Well, the mutated crabs are doing it to make killing the humans easier, despite have no problem killing the previous party on a full sized island. I guess they don't like having to chase down their prey. It is even worse than we imagined! In addition to being huge, mutated, man-eating, and nearly indestructible the monsters are fat and lazy to boot! Obviously people and atolls are fattening. Over the period of a few days the crabs destroy several square miles of rock. It is pretty darn impressive, but why did the scientists get worried when the clawed landscapers stole two cases of dynamite? Oh no! They might blow up a large boulder or two! The monsters ate half the atoll already, without the explosives, using dynamite would probably slow them down.

We are informed these were land crabs, and I'm hardly an expert, but all the crustaceans would appear to possibly be Dungeness Crabs. Considering the movie was probably shot along the California coast you have to agree it is a plausible hypothesis. Plus the monsters are always accompanied by strange clacking sounds which I suppose is their limbs and joints. Personally it reminds me of an evening at Red Lobster, listening to a fat guy two tables over attack his dinner with cracker and mallet. You sir, are a truly disgusting human being.

With the island reduced to a small rock outcropping and the last crab monster closing in all seems lost, until Hank climbs the antenna and brings it down on the advancing horror in a shower of sparks. Where the device was still drawing power from is beyond me, but my brain clicked over to "standby" during the opening credits anyway.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Few things get more mileage than stock footage of cold war nuclear tests.
  • God is available for voice-overs.
  • The wild ocean looks just like an overstocked aquarium.
  • Newly formed sinkholes should not have shrubs growing out of their sides.
  • Marines have one natural predator: land crabs.
  • When demolition experts play poker they use sticks of dynamite instead of money or chips.
  • Crabs are mimics and ventriloquists.
  • Oil flows uphill. (This is the only explanation possible, they walk downhill looking for the source.)

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Opening Credits - "Roger Corman." That should explain anything you see in the next ninety minutes.
  • 5 mins - Maybe setting the nuclear bomb off near an inhabited area was a bad idea. Hope you people can swim.
  • 7 mins - Very deep water and just six feet from shore.
  • 8 mins - Don't throw grenades at the sea turtles! They are on the edge of extinction and this rocket scientist wants to chuck grenades at them.
  • 16 mins - Actually he did say "Earthworm."
  • 22 mins - Martha and Dale are perfectly dry, despite just emerging from the water.
  • 31 mins - These scientists, some of which are kind of chubby, plan to climb that rope huh?
  • 58 mins - Why does it matter where the oil is coming from?
  • 63 mins - "One Million BC" earthquake anyone?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note crabmonsters1.wav Martha: "Jim, you don't know what's down there!"
James: "What could be other than earth, water, and a few land crabs?"
Green Music Note crabmonsters2.wav Karl: "We are unquestionably on the brink of a great discovery. It is not likely that that discovery will be of a pleasant nature."
Green Music Note crabmonsters3.wav Dale: "That means that the crab can eat his victim's brain, absorbing his mind intact and working."
Karl: "It's as good theory as any other to explain what's happened."
Green Music Note crabmonsters4.wav Crab Monster: "So you have wounded me! I must grow a new claw, well and good, for I can do it in a day, but will you grow new lives when I have taken yours from you?"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 



 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipcrabmonsters1.mpg - 2.6m
Hank the hero, well almost.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #33. Posted on August 20, 2007, 02:41:27 PM by Kooshmeister
Just finished watching my DVD of this which I got through the mail. I was pretty impressed with the script, up to a certain point anyway. The movie had a rocky start, though. That one sailor falling into the water and getting his head torn off (in a scene that reminded me of an aquatic version of The Crawling Eye) shouldn't have happened right at the beginning, because it makes the characters look like total idiots. If I went to an island where people had disappeared without a trace, and a member of my party inexplicably lost his head, I would sure as hell suggest we all vamoose back to civilization ASAP, but no one in the group does this.

However despite this, once the actual plot starts, the movie is pretty good for a while. The strange underground rumblings, the plane exploding for (seemingly) no reason, the eerie voices in the night, Jim's voice insisting that the others come down and help him, etc., it's all a very well-crafted mystery. By the time the crabs finally show up, they're so goofy-looking that they more than made the wait worthwhile.

And then it all falls apart. First, that elaborate electrical trap they devise comes to nothing. Then there's some stupid business with Dale and Karl wanting to find out where the suddenly-appearing oil is coming from, ane re-entering the caves, where Karl ultimately falls victim to his own damn trap. Seriously, what the hell was the point of this sequence except to whittle the cast down just a little bit more? Why were Dale and Karl so interested in finding out where oil was coming from? Argh!

And then there's the ending. So the three survivors are on the last remaining chunk of the rapidly disintegrating island, and the final crab is closing in on them.  Hank bravely sacrifices himself to kill the crab by zapping it out of existence. And that's it. It just ends. What about Martha and Dale?! Will the island continue sinking, drowning them, or will they starve to death waiting for rescue to come?

Despite this, I enjoyed it a lot, and will definitely rewatch it many times, I think. :)
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #34. Posted on November 02, 2007, 11:58:31 AM by Thornton Day
I wonder why people pick on B-movies,there's alot of fancy A movies that come and go without a lingering thought.  A constant parade of forgettable crap that finds it's way to cable and dvd without a sputter.  I always liked the bit where the crabs absorbed people's minds and their voices.  Pretty eerie.  When I was young,freaked at scene where sailor leans over edge of boat and his head is snipped off. Brrrr.
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #35. Posted on November 12, 2007, 11:58:14 AM by Flangepart
Ya know, one great thing about this flick...
If you ask anyone "Wanna see a movie that has crabs?", and they say "Sure", you have found one of of us!...
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #36. Posted on November 29, 2007, 05:08:58 AM by Kooshmeister
There seems to be some confusion about the first name of Sommers (one of the two comic relief Navy demolitions guys) and the rank of Quinlan (the Navy officer who comes ashore with the group at the start).

Sommers is referred to as "Sam" in the dialogue, but the cast list calls him Jack Sommers.

As for Quinlan, he's constantly referred to as "Lieutenant" in dialogue but the cast list calls him Ensign Quinlan.

Anybody else catch onto this?
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #37. Posted on December 11, 2007, 03:07:14 PM by Johnny
My wife and I just watched this late last Friday night (4 days ago) on Turner Classic Movies.

Some of the harsher commentors need to lighten up on this old Fifties favorite. I mean, what did they expect? Consider the title, the director, and the year it was made, 1957, then watch it late at night, and you'll discover it's a lot of guilty fun.

And yes, Russell Johnson should have played the first lead, but there's nothing we can do about that now.  (It was fun when my sleepy-eyed wife suddenly came awake blurting: "Oh my god, is that The Professor?")

One negative: Did anyone notice how very unattractive the female lead, Pamela Duncan, was? (Wonder if she ever worked again?) Her acting wasn't bad, but considering those bottle-blonde hotties usually appearing in Roger Corman's bathing suits, she was so godawfully ugly.

Now, someone will probably write and tell me she just died and I'll feel like a heal.
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #38. Posted on February 05, 2008, 09:56:38 PM by Chuck
i saw this originally at the Avon Drive-In in Breese, Illinois, and I must say the crabs certainly are cheesy.  I've seen more realistic high school homecoming floats.
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #39. Posted on April 19, 2008, 08:07:50 PM by Aldo the film Spazz
 Twirling   ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS; big points alone for the fantastic title--it says it all. no false advertising here. The crabs are fairly hokey, but not really that far off of THEM if you really analyze them together.Roger Corman just goes for the jugular gets right to the point. I saw this flick when I was about five, and it actually freaked me out, the way the crabs took over the brains and voices of their victims. A creature as simple as a crab now with the twisted mind of human-kind--very freaky.. just  such an odd combo--telepathic crabs, who lure you to your death and if any animal would be formidable as a colossus, the armor; the giant pincher claws, the extended stalk eyeballs... It all adds up to a good solid little B- picture from the grindhouse mind of Roger Corman. He didn't pontificate With the ridiculous morality of the also excellent IT CONQURED THE WORLD. Giant monsters, mind control, brain-eating. Good stuff. Too bad it wasn't in lurid 50's Technicolor. An enjoyable popcorn movie to let your brain go crustacean on... :ton :tongueout:gueout:
Re: Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #40. Posted on October 08, 2009, 10:12:52 AM by marcus
This is a classic!,I don't think i've laughed so much in my life whilst watching this film.
I take my hat off to all those people who braved themselves and made movies like this.
A crab with a thick French accent???.
I like the decapitated tailor's dummy they dragged back onto the boat.
This is far from being a boring film, well paced of it's type.
But that caste?, need i say more?.
One things for sure, you wouldn't want crabs like these, your doctor would prescribe napalm not blue ointment!.
Very highly recommended, a must see!.
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