Attack of the Crab Monsters Review


Whenever you see a title like this you know you’re going to be in for a good time. They just don’t make creature features like this one anymore. At the same time Roger Corman usually only delivers pretty bad film experiences at least from the titles that I’ve seen so this was really a close one. Would it be amazing, terrible, or somewhere in the middle? I wasn’t sure if I was ready to find out but then it was time to dive in and it actually worked out quite well. This is definitely his definitive title at the moment.

The movie starts by introducing us to the main cast. They’re not exactly the most memorable characters but you’ll quickly get the dynamic. You’ve got the main heroine Martha who is an experienced biologist. She is going to an island along with fellow scientists Dale, Hank, and a few other people. This group is trying to do some research on the radiation that covered this island not too long ago. I feel like they should have protective suits but I suppose at this time it wasn’t really known quite how long radiation would tend to linger in the area. Well, everything appears normal at first until it turns out that the radiation has changed the Crabs in the area. Now there are huge Crabs roaming the area and murdering people left and right. The heroes want to get off the island but it isn’t really an option at the moment because of huge storms. When you try to escape your plane either blows up or you fall into the ocean and get obliterated. Making things worse is the fact that they can hear the voices of their dead friends.

One thing that really differentiated this from your classic monster film is the whole ghosts aspect. Now it seems like there are ghosts around but there’s actually a great deal of intelligence on the crabs part making it seem that way. Here’s where things get pretty interesting. The film has an Invasion of the Bodysnatchers element to it on top of the classic Godzilla action. There’s even a bit of a mental thriller aspect here. So the Crabs have the ability to mimic the people they murder as well as hold onto their memories. They turn these people into their arms of sorts and also get regeneration. It’s sort of like a hivemind of sorts. Once you are absorbed you can say goodbye to being a good guy. It made the enemies so much more interesting than they would usually be. I mean, a giant monster running around blowing people up works well too but I just liked this spin on things.

One of the best scenes in the film is when one character goes outside after hearing his friend call out to him. Now you do have to excuse the fact that this guy isn’t very smart at all since the “friend” is saying a lot of suspicious stuff like coming alone to the abandoned cave in the middle of the night and not to tell anyone. That should throw up a few red flags right? I mean…what friend would tell you that? Well, the guy goes anyway and does the whole “Where are you” yells while looking around. That’s when you hear the guy say “Right here man” in a very calm voice as a giant claw shows up and ends the guy. It’s a pretty intense scene partially because it’s so unexpected. I mean, you know foul play was involved from the start but I just wasn’t expecting these mastermind Crabs. It was really quite genius.

Now, that’s not to say that the movie is perfect of course. The writing is pretty solid but the characters are all very lacking in common sense. You wonder how they became such top notch scientists because they make a lot of mistakes here. Splitting up, entering abandoned caves, etc. Even by the end Hank gets way closer to the giant Crab than he needs to. You could have done the plan from a better distance. Then you’ve got Dale who is always trying to keep Martha out of the action but leaving her by herself isn’t really going to help her out much. I also question the scene with the Giant Crab in the closet and his reaction. He basically panicked and ran out but did the whole “Can’t tell you what’s going on” to Martha and split. You should probably mention the Giant Crab right away.

The movie has some pretty intense scenes like one guy’s head literally getting taken out but the film’s usually not very gruesome. It can be surprisingly intense for its age but it’s nothing too drastic so you should be okay. The Crabs just don’t take any prisoners and I could have told you that. I suppose the worst thing you can say about the film is that it’s fairly forgettable. The characters are all very traditional with personalities that just don’t stick. Martha’s a nice lady who knows a lot about science but does faint if things get too difficult. Dale is the everyday man of the group who does his best to cope with the situation but tends to snap a lot. Then you have Hank who can come up with ideas at times but isn’t even the smart one of the group because everyone here is relatively smart. Then there are two sailors who are around but you know that they’re doomed from the start.

The most annoying character is easily the oldest scientist. So he figures out that something is wrong almost immediately but refuses to say anything about it. He keeps telling the other characters that they’ll know eventually but that’s not very helpful in a life or death situation. He kind of goes out like a chump too. I dunno what the guys deal was. To me it felt like half the time he wanted the humans to lose to the Crabs but when he got bumped off he didn’t seem too keen on the idea anymore. Maybe the whole thing just played out better in his head? That’s the only explanation I can think of but it didn’t do him any wonders. Makes for some fun dynamics though.

Overall, Attack of the Crab Monsters is a pretty surreal film. It works really well though in large part due to how original it is. You just don’t see movies like this with the monsters actually having master plans and overwhelming the heroes like this. The main monster basically acted like a tactical genius and I suppose it makes sense with how many people he’s absorbed. The voices added to the effect and the movie just passes by real quickly. The characters aren’t very smart but I wouldn’t dock points for the film from that. The writing is still a lot of fun and this just feels like a very balanced movie. You really can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10

Tales of Terror Review


It’s time for a horror anthology. If there are any two words that should strike fear into your heart, it’s those last two words. Horror films don’t have a good track record and the same can and will be said for anthologies. Merging the two results in a lot of opportunities for the film to get ruined. Unfortunately this one is no exception and you’ll find yourself wondering what the point of this film was. The first of the shorts is easily the best one, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

The first segment sees Lenora get home. She has visited her father to guilt trip him one last time before she moves away. He doesn’t want to see her because he blames her for the death of his wife. They argue quite a bit with Lenora constantly explaining how she never should have come here and her father insulting her. Eventually the ghost of her mother wakes up to murder Lenora and then take down the father. They all die together in the mansion. It’s a pretty somber ending to what was overall a somber special. The whole time you just have to wonder why Lenora would possibly want to come over. It’s well known from the start that her father had never even talked to her because he was so upset at what happened in the past so it all came off as rather strange. I couldn’t understand Lenora’s motivation here.

Even worse is the fact that she made sure to come after the last bus had left so she would be stuck there for the night. It’s almost as if she came over purely to start complaining and egging the father on into doing something he might regret. I thought the film was going to have him murder her which would have been super dark so I’m glad they didn’t go that route. It was the best special of the 3, but that’s really not saying much at all.

The 2nd segment is about a drunk guy named Montresor. He is always mean to his wife and cat (Points deducted instantly!) and keeps on stealing money from them. He doesn’t care if they starve as long as he gets his beer. He breaks into a wine testing convention and manages to snag 2nd place. Fortunato doesn’t like being humiliated so he quickly gets together with Montresor’s wife in secret. Montresor finds out and murders them, but luckily the cops come and put him away.

Another rather grim story and one that is completely unenjoyable from start to finish. I don’t want to see the cat getting threatened with murder and being thrown around the whole time. Those scenes are just terrible and the cast puts up with Montresor the whole time. Why isn’t the guy in jail yet? It’s all rather hard to watch as you are tempted to go and rent something a little classier at the special is playing. Sure, they caught Montresor but only after he murdered the two of them. Justice was a little late to say the least. The sad thing is that this wasn’t necessarily the weakest story as the third one also gets a little dicey.

The third story probably has the least intelligent characters of the bunch. An old guy is on his death bed and agreed to let a scientist hypnotize him at the very end. The experiment is to see if the hypnosis can prevent his death for a little while. The scientist quickly launches into his experiment and sure enough, the old man won’t die. Finally the living corpse begs for death, but the scientist merely laughs. Months pass and he is still forcing the corpse to live. So in this time…everyone just allowed that to happen? Geez, some friends.

The main heroine then decides to confront the scientist on her own even though she knows that he is dangerous and criminally insane. Her friend even comes along with his gun to protect her but she tells him to leave and then locks the door. In the most predictable move ever, the scientist then decides that he’ll take her by force and she’s only saved when the corpse wakes up and murders him. That still has to take the cake as one of the worst decisions out there. Why would you knowingly put yourself in such a terrible position. Going 1 on 1 with someone far stronger and confirmed to be dangerous? Clearly this heroine wasn’t very smart and the low quality attempt at creating tension in the film was just pitiful.

Overall, This film was pretty bad. I’m pretty confident now that Edgar Allan Poe’s stories are not nearly as good as you’d suspect from his reputation. I’ve now seen two anthologies based on his stories and they were both pretty dreadful. They’re just not good and while making good horror stories is difficult, it can be done. You just have to construct quality stories with no short cuts or characters making terrible decisions. It shouldn’t be a story about everyone dying just for kicks or to see the spirit slaughter them all. A good story should give the heroes a chance. Sad endings definitely can work as well so long as they have a purpose. This film just didn’t have one and comes across as incredibly mean spirited the whole time. So, like pretty much every other Roger Corman film, you’ll want to skip this one.

Overall 1/10

The Terror Review


Prepare yourself for a very eccentric film. I know that I sometimes critique films for not having any real twists or turns, but this film takes that a little too literally. There are twists within twists and nothing that you see or hear can be trusted in this film until the very end. Even the atmosphere of the film is fairly mysterious and eery. One thing’s for sure, you may not remember the specifics of this film, but you won’t be forgetting the actual adventure.

Andre is a lost soldier who somehow got separated from the rest of his French regime. Luckily, he was saved by a fair maiden by the name of Helene. The girl vanishes, but Andrew asks around and figures out that she lives in the Baron’s castle. An old lady in a cottage told him this and while she seems to practice voodoo and has a Raven who can shape shift, she is clearly trust worthy. The Baron does not want to let Andrew in, but the “hero” threatens to bring down the full wrath of the French government if he is now allowed entry. (He is a high ranking officer so he can do this)

The Baron has no time for these games though. He is being haunted by the ghost of Ilsa. She wants him to destroy himself because he murdered her after finding out about the man that she kept around on the side when she thought he wasn’t looking. Meanwhile, his loyal butler Stefan murdered the side man (Eric) The Baron is reluctant to comply with the ghost for obvious reasons, but he starts to wonder if maybe he should. This Andre person is complicating things though because he can see the ghost too, but calls her by a different name and while she did try to murder him a few times, he never takes it personally.

All right, lets pause here before getting into the twists. Yes, there will be spoilers this time because you can’t not explain the twists here. It’s what makes the film so priceless. First off, Andre is clearly not the brightest bulb on the block because the murder attempts that Ilsa goes for are fairly obvious. Her ghost leads him to a marsh of quick sand, but he noticed in time because of a pebble that he kicked. She almost led him off a cliff as well, but he noticed on time. She tried to destroy him several times, but Andre is oblivious to all of this and just wants to find her anyway. The Baron acts as if he doesn’t know what Andre is talking about, but it’s a little too obvious to try and deflect. Moreover, acting tough and trying to talk back to Andre fails when he is shaking in his boots the whole time because of Ilsa.

All right, you may be wondering what happened to the old lady and the shape shifting Raven right? This is where the film slaps you silly with plot twists. First off, The Baron and Stefan never managed to murder Eric and Ilsa. See, we thought that Stefan murdered Eric while The Baron took care of Ilsa right? Wrong! Somehow, The Baron managed to get to Eric after taking down Ilsa, but Eric ended up murdering him instead. Eric then suffered a complete mental breakdown and began to really think that he was The Baron. Stefan knew about this, but played along for kicks so I guess he was never that loyal after all.

The old Witch was the mother of Ilsa and she blamed the Baron for her death. She couldn’t have known that Eric had actually beaten the Baron and assumed his identity. She was pretty clever and used her black magic to give a Raven the ability to turn into Ilsa, but with the ability of flight, super speed, and shape shifting so fast that it appeared as if she vanished into the fog each time. How did she manage to keep this up for 2 years while having Ilsa appear everywhere and nobody ever noticing that it was actually a raven? It’s magic! Thing is, the Raven began to have ideas of its own and somewhere along the way, Ilsa’s actual ghost decided to show up. Perhaps she was tired of watching “Amateur Hour” being played out by all of these second rate villains. Ilsa decided to finish everyone off once and for all by breaking the underwater dam that “Baron” kept around to drown them all. We get a pretty fierce fist fight between “Ilsa”, “Baron”, Andre, and Stefan.

Suffice it to say, Andre managed to get out of there alive with Ilsa, but then she decomposed since her mission was complete. Now Andre can go home and share this story with the other soldiers…if they’ll ever actually believe him. A lot happened in this film all right. It may take you a little bit to process just how crazy this film got. It may have gone overboard, but I salute the enthusiasm that the film showed and it was a good effort. It really kept you guessing the whole time…even if the plot twists didn’t always make a lot of sense. You really can’t trust anyone here.

This is the kind of film where everything is so strange that you wouldn’t be shocked if it was all just a dream of meta with some kind of deeper meaning. Regardless, the film did a good job with the tone. Between the mist, the empty backgrounds, and the creepy castle, this film always had a tense and mysterious atmosphere. It accomplished that part of the film pretty well. I can’t say that the film was all that good though. The main character is pretty annoying and the black mail may have been hardcore but it didn’t make him any easier to root for. The Baron was clearly unhinged and likewise with Eric. This film certainly shows you that rebounding never pays, but it’s not as if any of the characters got to live anyway.

Overall, This film is a tricky one to score. It’s a rare film where I didn’t even know what score I was going to give it as I was writing the review. It’s partially because the film wraps itself up in a haze so it’s hard to remember some of the specifics. I can’t remember a whole lot of negatives except I do remember a general recollection of not thinking the movie was all that good. I suppose it’s not that bad either so a solid 5 sounds about right. It’d definitely a strange little flick and I’d recommend checking it out if strange is what you’re looking for. You can think of it as a Twilight Zone episode of sorts, but the slightly modernized version. It’s not all that long and giving it at least one watch may be good for you. I won’t really recommend it, but I wouldn’t tell you to steer clear of it either. The film’s just around and it’s one that I won’t soon forget.

Overall 5/10