“Attack of the Crab Monsters” is a film horror/sci-fi of 1957 directed by Roger Corman. The plot follows a group of scientists who travel to an island in the Pacific to investigate the disappearance of another group of researchers. Upon arriving on the island, they discover that their colleagues have been killed by giant mutant crabs, the result of a series of nuclear tests conducted in the area.
The film was produced on a very small budget and using rather rudimentary special effects, but it has become a cult film thanks to its style “B-movie” and to its fantastical and bizarre plot. Critics rated it as a film both funny and scary, which exploits the clichés of the genre in a creative way.
Ultimately, “Attack of the Crab Monsters” is a must-see movie for lovers of horror and sci-fi movies from the 1950s, but also for those looking for a fun and undemanding cinematic experience.
The plot of “Attack of the Crab Monsters” follows a group of scientists who go to the island of Deros to investigate the disappearance of a group of colleagues who were conducting research on the mutation of life forms following nuclear tests.
Once on the island, the protagonists discover that their colleagues have been killed by huge mutant crabs, which have developed a kind of intelligence and the ability to blend into their surroundings. Furthermore, crabs appear to be able to absorb the knowledge of the people they kill, thus becoming increasingly dangerous and unpredictable.
The survivors will therefore have to try to survive the attack of the crabs and to find a way to defeat them before they can destroy the whole island and put the entire planet at risk.
The plot, although simple and full of clichés, is accompanied by a good dose of tension and fear, thanks to the gloomy and claustrophobic atmosphere that permeates the entire film.
Here are some of the main characters featured in “Attack of the Crab Monsters”:
Dale Drewer: is one of the protagonists of the film, a brave young scientist who tries to understand what is happening on the island and to find a way to defeat the mutant crabs.
Martha Hunter: Dale’s girlfriend and also a scientist who participates in the expedition to the island of Deros.
Dr. Karl Weigand: He is the leader of the expedition and the genetic mutation expert who conducted the nuclear tests on the island. It is played by actor Russell Johnson who later became famous for his role as the ‘Professor’ in the TV series ‘Gilligan’s Island’.
Jules Deveroux: is another scientist of the expedition, who proves rather skeptical and distrustful of his colleagues.
Hank Chapman: is the pilot of the plane that transports the shipment to the island and gets stuck there along with the others.
Besides the human characters, the film also features the giant mutant crabs, who are the true antagonists of the story. However, their looks and personalities are quite limited due to the film’s low budget.
“Attack of the Crab Monsters” was directed by legendary B-movie director Roger Corman and produced by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. The film was shot in California, specifically on the beaches of Malibu and near the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The film’s budget was extremely small, at only $70,000, which limited the possibilities for special effects and production designs. For example, mutant crabs were created using foam models and don’t have a huge variety of movements.
Despite these limitations, the film was moderately successful at the box office and has earned its place in cinematic history as one of the classics”monster movie” of the 1950s. The production also contributed to the career of Roger Corman, who would later become one of the most influential directors in American cinema, mainly for his role in the creation of a series of horror films and sci-fi low-budget that contributed to the birth of indie movies.
Distribution and Reception
“Attack of the Crab Monsters” was released in US theaters in 1957 by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. The film was a hit with audiences, grossing over $1 million at the box office, despite its very limited budget.
Critics, however, judged the film rather negatively. Many criticized the poor quality of the special effects and set designs as well as the fact that the plot was too predictable and full of clichés. However, the film found an audience of horror and sci-fi cinema enthusiasts, who appreciated its kitschy charm and unique style.
In the following years, “Attack of the Crab Monsters” has become a cult film, loved by fans of the genre for its retro atmosphere and its status as a B-cinema classic. The film has also been rediscovered by some critics, who they appreciated its value as a kitschy artwork and as an example of American independent cinema.
“Attack of the Crab Monsters” is a classic example of a 1950s “monster movie”, a subgenre of science fiction and horror cinema that was characterized by the presence of giant monsters that threatened humanity. The film has many of the typical elements of this genre, such as the predictable plot, formulaic characters and simple but evocative special effects.
In particular, the film stands out for its disturbing and claustrophobic atmosphere, which is created thanks to the setting on the desert island and the presence of mutant crabs that seem to be able to appear at any moment from any angle. The haunting soundtrack and low-angle shots highlighting the size of the giant crabs add to the sense of menace and tension.
Furthermore, the film has some elements of social commentary, particularly regarding the dangers of nuclear energy and irresponsible scientific experiments. This is a recurring theme in science fiction films of the time, reflecting public fears and concerns about the nuclear arms race and the Cold War.
In general, “Attack of the Crab Monsters” is a film that stands out for its unique style and kitsch charm, which still make it a B-cinema classic today and a point of reference for fans of the genre.
The director of “Attack of the Crab Monsters” is Roger Corman, one of the most influential directors in American cinema, especially for his role in creating a series of low-budget horror and sci-fi films that contributed to the birth of indie cinema .
Born in 1926 in Detroit, Corman moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s to work in the motion picture industry. Here he began working as a production assistant and screenwriter, before making his directorial debut with the film “Five Guns West” in 1955.
Corman is known for directing and producing a large number of low-budget films, often shot within weeks on small budgets and with little-known actors. Among his most famous films are “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954), “The Tomb of Ligeia” (1964) and “Terror of the Tongs” (1961).
Corman was an innovator in the field of low-budget and independent cinema, often using innovative tricks and experimenting with new ways of shooting and editing films. It also launched the careers of many famous actors and directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson e James Cameron.
Today Corman is considered an icon of independent cinema and a great innovator in the field of low-budget cinema. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his career, including an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2009.