Attack of the Crab Monsters, 1957. 6/10

There’s some interesting stuff here. The premise of a stranded group of explorers/scientists attacked by giant creatures on an disintegrating island gives us plenty to look forward to. Throw in a severed head and a severed hand, ghostly voices of the dead and rattling noises, plus some fairly spectacular underwater footage, not to mention a few decently-menacing mutant crabs, and Attack of The Crab Monsters doesn’t fail to entertain.

There’s good pacing to support all of this mayhem. What’s even more fascinating is that the crabs, as part of their master plan, are messing with the habitat in order to trap the humans. Their ability to literally absorb the brains of their victims gives them what’s essentially a supernatural power. That’s something new for nuclear radiation-created monsters. Not only can they chat-up people adjacent to them, but, by transmitting through metal objects, they’re on a sort of speaker phone. It all comes crashing down rather quickly, as the chief do-gooder topples an electrical tower onto the last crab. The problem remains, how will the survivors get off the island, since they’ve just junked their ability to communicate with civilization?

But that’s just one bite out of Attack Of The Crab Monsters’ many worthy elements. The worst thing is the goofy seamen; if characters are there only to become victims, they should at least be sympathetic. These guys add nothing. In a short movie like this, comic relief just sabotages the otherwise appropriately tense tone. Logic problems pop up too: In this life-or-death situation, why do the guys bother to go looking for oil? Speaking of danger, why does the guy activate the electric-beam device to fight the crab, and then deliberately walk in front of the beam? Earlier it certainly looks like the house is being destroyed by a landslide; then it appears undamaged, only to be destroyed again later. Lastly, when the crab is encountered in the house, the guy brings the girl into a different room–but they stay in the house, as though the crab wouldn’t enter without knocking.

Despite plenty of miscues, Attack is still pretty good; ’50s giant monster movie fans will find enough to like. 6/10.

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