The Giant Claw (1957)
What’s that in the sky? OMG! It’s a gigantic goggle-eyed turkey with a protective shield of anti-matter.
The big bird beast in the Giant Claw has to be one of the stupidest looking movie monsters of all time but it still takes our scientists a while to outwit the feathered simpleton swooping from the skies terrorising a world made up of stock footage. Perhaps they would have got the job done faster if they’d concentrated more on the science instead of their bizarre long-winded metaphors that I think meant they wanted to shag each other.
Brilliant B-movie script and one of the funniest monsters ever.
Fiend Without a Face (1958)
Invisible monsters suck out your brains! That’s the tag line for this brilliant piece of B-movie magic. But these little critters aren’t from outer space, they were thought into existence by a brilliantly barmy professor using just the power of his mind helped by some atomic energy he’s pilfered from the local Air Force base.
The little shits then start terrorising the town by sucking the brains right out of people, but remember, they’re still invisible so there’s some quality over-acting during the early attacks. Don’t worry, they don’t stay invisible for long. After a dose of radiation the mischievous flying brains with spinal cords for tails and antennae, for some reason, start garrotting people left, right and centre.
It’s hard to believe that on its release the film got banned in some places, perhaps people laughed themselves to death. Anyway, watch it, and also watch out for the leading ladies chest, it looks like a couple of the Fiends smuggled themselves away under her sweater… a sequel perhaps!
The Monolith Monsters (1957)
Big black stones that grow to gigantic proportions. That’s not scary. Then the massive monoliths topple and all the smashed up smithereens grow until there’s giant black stone towers covering everywhere. Still not that scary. If you touch the stone it sucks all the silicon out of your skin and you turn to stone. Christ, run away!
See, stones can be scary, especially with that classic Universal creepy music blasting out whenever there’s a shot of a rock. Actually, this film is a top notch B-movie classic. It’s not as well known as some but it’s a genuinely good old sci-fi film.
The cast of usual suspects, including the square-jawed all-American hero and the brilliant nosey local journalist, give some great performances and any movie with the tag line Mammoth skyscrapers of stone thundering across the earth! just has to be brilliant.
The Trollenberg Terror (1958) aka The Crawling Eye
The Trollenberg Terror was called The Crawling Eye in America and that’s exactly what this B-movie beast is, a giant eye with tentacles.
And tentacles mean lots of actors writhing around with a limp rubber special effects draped over them doing their best to look like their being attacked. It’s a staple of B-movies, I love the limp tentacle attack, it always brings out the best in an actor. Plus, these attacks usually end up with someone being decapitated and that’s never a bad thing.
The deadly eyes don’t make an appearance until the latter half of this movie, there’s a lot of creepy fog first, which apparently inspired John Carpenter to make The Fog.
Also, the film is set in Switzerland and there’s lots of posters in the background for places I’ve been to. I’ve never come across The Creeping Eye while snowboarding but there’s always next year.
The Angry Red Planet (1960)
What monster shall we have? A giant rat? A giant spider? Fuck it, let’s cut the legs off a spider and put them on a rat. But that’s going to look shit isn’t it? Don’t worry, it’s on Mars, we’ll do a weird red glow special effect on everything. Brilliant, let’s throw some bat bits on the bastard too. Sorted!
And so the bat-rat-spider creature from The Angry Red Planet was born, the creators obviously thought that this giant abomination of nature wasn’t scary enough on its own and threw carnivorous plants, a giant amoeba and Martians in for good measure.
This is one of my favourite B-movies, I love the monsters but the terrorised crew of the rocket ship are the stars. A guy who walks around smoking a pipe in a space ship, some moron who’s just amoeba fodder and the mission commander who starts chatting up the red-haired doctor who’s in charge of screaming before they’ve even launched.