Monday, November 21, 2005

The Attack of the Giant Nostalgia

I was saddened to hear of the death of Pamela Duncan.

"Who" you ask, "is Pamela Duncan?" Ms. Ducan was the hot sweater-clad star of the 1957 Roger Corman classic movie "The Attack Of the Crab Monsters." You remember that one, don't you? How could you forget?

Here's the deal: Take one team of Nuclear Scientists, an adventuresome hard guy, a couple of sailors and demolitions experts, add one inevitably hot science-babe in a push-up bra, and dispatch the whole lot to a remote pacific island to study what effect nuclear fallout caused by recent test has had on lifeforms there. Shake well, bake at 350 for 67 minutes.

What do you get? What else? Monster crabs!
I mean, Crab Monsters!!! (Monster crabs is what you get from a weekend at the MTV beach house.) Giant mutant Crab Monsters with human eyes and a bad habit turning scientists and sailors into crab kibble.

The Attack of the Crab Monsters was along the lines of other giant mutant crawly things that are created by mankind as a result of his bumbling around with nuclear energy. 1954's "Them" had giant nuclear ants eating Los Angeles. "Tarantula" came out in 1955, starring Leo G. Caroll as a mad scientist and Clint Eastwood as a napalm-dropping pilot in his first movie role. And, yeah, it was a giant spider that terrorized the earth. Later came "Mantis," "The Attack of the Giant Leeches," and "Squirm" with the electrfied worms.

But for sheer camp, its tough to beat "Crab Monsters." First of all, suppose you were marooned on a Pacific island with nothing but a bunc h of dynamite and some very large man-eating crabs. Who would you want to be marooned with you? Sorry, Ginger and Mary Ann aren't available.
Of course! The Professor! And there he is! Russell Johnson starred as "Hank," the stud-muffin demolitions expert that saves the world by fying the crustaceans with high-voltage, and buys it in the process, thus allowing Pam Duncan (Martha) to live happily ever after with her dorky scientist financee Richard Garland (Dale).

But wait, it gets better! Yes, for these are not just ordinary giant mutant man-eating crab monsters, these are intelligent giant mutant man-eating crab monsters who can talk!

Giant Mutant 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?"

Me: "Dude! The crab's talking to me! What's in this stuff?"

I know you're wondering just how giant mutant man-eating crab monsters can speak. Easy. Brains. I'll let Nuclear Physicist Karl Wiegand and fellow scientist Dale explain.

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

Well, hell yeah it is! You got a better theory, Cowboy?

Anyway, this movie scrared the hell out of me when I was a little kid - and I mean "little." Giant Crab Monsters biting the heads off of people was not my everyday Catholic school fare. Pretty soon, though, I was hooked. Monster movies reigned supreme! I saw them all, countless times over. I can still which guy buys it, monster fare, and when and how for about 50 or 60 of them. But I'll always remember "The Attack of the Crab Monsters" with particular fondness. It turned me on.

Goodbye, Ms. Duncan. And thanks for the memories.


portia said...

Ohhh, good post spd. I loved watching those low-budget, black and white monster/alien/blob sci-fi horror flicks.

His was torn off. That was the opening line from my favorite The Crawling Eye. Like you and Monster Crabs, I mean Crab Monsters, I must have seen "The Crawling Eye" 50 times (Ch. 9 "The Million Dollar Movie" and "Chiller Theater" ran it continuously), and it never failed to scare the bejesus out of me. This one had everything: a dashing scientist, an observatory on a deserted mountain, a couple of dames who were lookers with good lungs, a scared town and a formidable alien. Of course, at the end all the characters find themselves up huddled in the fortress-like observatory waiting for the eyeball to descend. Good stuff. What more could you want on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Still.

spd rdr said...

Cool! I'd almost forgotten about "The Crawling Eye." You're right about it being a TV staple, but evidently not on "Chiller Theater."
Of course "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" was always a good view.

Cricket said...

Memories! What about the Saturday specials "Creature Feature" and "Chiller Diller?" They had some uber creepy stuff in them too.

Whipper Snapper said...

You people are oooolllllllld :-)

Pile On® said...

I have never understood the attraction to cinema of this quality.

But that is just me.

portia said...

OMG. "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" Too funny spd, though no doubt we watched it for different reasons:)

Along with the fear factor, the best things about these B movies were the smarny low-budget tag lines that accompanied the films:
WOTPP: Prehistoric nymphs bathe in the pools of paradise!
The Blob: Indescribable... Indestructible! Nothing Can Stop It!
and from Caged another one of my favorites (not to be confused with "Caged Heat" except by some): Will she come out a woman or a wildcat?

Man, "Caged" was one scary flick with a hard-nosed message for young girls: Misbehave and you'll go to prison and get your head shaved by female inmates. Holy sh*t.

Where was my Mother? Heh. Probably insisting I watch "Caged" again and again. It worked. Funny thing is, I learned today the movie garnered three Academy Award nominations, and a best actress win for Elaenor Parker. Who knew? I guess my mother. Smart woman all around.

spd rdr said...

I also watch cheesy westerns, war flicks and pirate movies, Pile. Hell, I love cheesy movies. But I always avoid anything labeled as a "romantic comedy" like the plague...Unless of course it's Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde or Billy Wilder or such.

"Caged" is a pretty good movie, Portia. Although it's odd FOR US OLD FOLKS (bite me whippersnapper)to see Agnes Moorehead ("mother" of Samamtha on "Bewitched") play such a motherly, and sympathetic, character. I didn't know that the film got so many Oscar nominations. I guess movies about women in prison just never go out of style, eh? (ducking)

Masked Menace© said...

Hmmm. Maybe I was a little too subtle with the website name.

spd rdr said...

Menace was that you?
Sorry, buddy, the link didn't work.

Masked Menace© said...

The link won't work, it doesn't exist. But it should have shown up in the address bar (or right click-> Properties) as