This is the one! Attack of the Crab Monsters was the movie that started it all for me. Crab wasn’t the first monster movie I ever saw, but it was the flick that turned me into a life long fan of monster movies. Around 1961 or 62, one of the TV stations started playing monster movies on Sunday nights. I was probably in 3rd grade at the time. My dad thought the title was funny and started teasing me about staying up to watch it and we did. The movie came on around 11:30 and I watched it until the end. The next day, I was the school big shot because I had been allowed to watch Attack of the Crab Monsters until around 1 am on a school night.
Attack of the Crab Monsters is an early Roger Corman effort. The screen play was writtten by Corman’s regular guy Charles B. Griffith. It’s a low budget black and white classic that’s actually pretty ridiculous. The movie is only 62 minutes long and the first 10 minutes or so is all padding. The movie opens with a Star Wars type scrolling plot summary, then a shoto of a painting with some wise words is displayed. After that there’s a few minutes of stock footage of nuculear explosions.
Once the movie settles down, we learn that a team of scientists are landing on a remote uncharted island. There had been a previous expedition that disappeared without a trace. Once on the island strange things start happening and people start to vanish. Then the voice of one of the missing scientists starts to call the remaining people via a metal ash tray. They find out that 2 giant crabs have been killing people and absorbing their memories. The crabs can use the voices of those they’ve eaten and they can transmit the voice to anything metal. Later on the crab talks through a hammer.
Attack of the Crab Monsters features solid performances by a group of mainly unknown actors. Actress Pamela Duncan appeared on just about every show on television in the 50’s and early 60’s. One of the sailors is played by Corman regular Beach Dickerson, the guy who talked by imitating animal sounds in The Creature From the Haunted Sea. The most recognizable member of the cast was Russ Johnson, the professor from Gilligan’s Island. Johnson plays the technical guy, he tries to fix the radio but is only able to get it to work in receiver mode. If I remember correctly, the professor had that same problem more than a few times with Gilligan.
Attack of the Crab Monsters