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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 [2] 3 4 ... 6
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Mike M
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I look forward to seeing it.  Especially since Richard Garland is my wife's uncle.  I have seen him in Friendly Persuaion in a fight scene.

Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by CrabbyMan
I remember with affection the 70's New York Times TV Section critic (legendary for his succinct one liner reviews; I forgot his name, but I read he passed away last year)giving this choice, blunt assessment of "Attack of the Crab Monster": "Even tartar sauce couldn't help this stinker."
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Kim

This movie is the basis for a poem by a very good poet who teaches at Williams college named Lawrence Raab.  I read the poem first, loved it(as I'm partial to old sci-fi), and immediately bought the vhs(thanks god for the corman classics releases).

Attack of the Crab Monsters by Lawrence Raab

       Even from the beach I could sense it--
       lack of welcome, lack of abiding life,
       like something in the air, a certain
       lack of sound. Yesterday
       there was a mountain out there.
       Now it's gone. And look

       at this radio, each tube neatly
       sliced in half. Blow the place up!
       That was my advice.
       But after the storm and the earthquake,
       after the tactic of the exploding plane
       and the strategy of the sinking boat, it looked

       like fate and I wanted to say, "Don't you see?
       So what if you are a famous biochemist!
       Lost with all hands is an old story."
       Sure, we're on the edge
       of an important breakthrough, everyone
       hearing voices, everyone falling

       into caves, and you're out
       wandering through the jungle
       in the middle of the night in your negligée.
       Yes, we're way out there
       on the edge of science, while the rest
       of the island continues to disappear until

       nothing's left except this
       cliff in the middle of the ocean,
       and you, in your bathing suit,
       crouched behind the scuba tanks.
       I'd like to tell you
       not to be afraid, but I've lost

       my voice. I'm not used to all these
       legs, these claws, these feelers.
       It's the old story, predictable
       as fallout--the rearrangement of molecules.
       And everyone is surprised
       and no one understands

       why each man tries to kill
       the thing he loves, when the change
       comes over him. So now you know
       what I never found the time to say.
       Sweetheart, put down your flamethrower.
       You know I always loved you.
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by David LeBoutillier Jr.
This baby, along with 'House on Haunted Hill', made me wet my pants with fear as a sixth grader, and made me wet my pants with laughter as an adult...I am disappointed that it and others of its ilk are no longer shown on TV... sure the special effects are crap, hell, life was no fancier at the time!  'Martha, Help Me Martha' still ring in my ears 38 yrs later...
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Dan Lyon
Another must-have B&W classic. My wife and I had a great laugh at seeing the poor schmuck from gilligan's isle playing pretty much the same role character. Buy it and play it for everybody.
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #14. Posted on November 15, 2003, 01:27:36 AM by Steve
Could the crabs have been more phoney, could Russel Johnson have given a worse performace, could the budget been much lower,god I love Rodger Corman.
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Tim
During my pre-teens in the late 60's, this flick came on several times in East Texas as the afternoon movie. As an adult, I'd say it is a lame movie, but back then it scared the be-jeebers out'a me. Them big eyes (I even hate REAL crab eyes), that echoey voice, and that ominous clicking sound. Watch out for d'em pinchers, man!
Attack of the Crab Monsters
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Gammera
I hate this film! When my mom gave me this for my birthday, I was glad. But I never told her how I felt when I wachted it. THIS MOVIE SUCKS!!!!!!!! 3 out of 100,000! The Crabs look dumb, the middle's boring, and the movie ends exactly after the guy sacrifices himself!!!!!!!
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