Friday, April 12, 2013

The Crawling Eye

Horror and science fiction films may be usefully divided into four periods.  The Classic Period begins in the 1930’s.  The Atomic period begins in the 40’s.  I’m not quite sure what to call the period that begins in the sixties.  It was largely dreadful.  I am not sure what to call the last period, which begins in the late seventies with Star Wars. 
Anyway, there were many fine films made in the Atomic period.  These are characterized by a growing global consciousness and a very vivid imagination about modern technology and science in general. 
One of the good ones is The Crawling Eye, originally entitled The Trollenberg Terror.  Forest Tucker plays Alan Brooks, a scientist who has been summoned to an Alpine observatory by a colleague Professor Crevett. (Warren Mitchell).  A strange cloud has appear on the mountain and something is tearing the heads off of climbers.  We learn that Brooks has seen something like this before.  Brooks arrives at a hotel that is suffering from some well-deserved bad publicity.  There are rumors!  He is accompanied by two women who do a psychic act.  Small spoiler: one of them is genuinely psychic. 
In short order we learn that the mysterious cloud conceals alien invaders.  The film marries geography and biology in its story.  The aliens arrive at high altitudes because they like the cold and the atmosphere.  Of course, that is the key to defeating them. 
There is a characteristic Atomic Period set.  The observatory has guys in white lab coats and lots of machines with dials.  The special effects are primitive, to be sure.  In one scene a man lifted by monstrous tentacles turns into a clay figure.  Still, the monsters once revealed are pretty good.  A cycloptic, octopoid creature is my idea of a hostile invader.  

There are some goofy moments, but overall it is an enjoyable film.  One of the best features of the movie is what it leaves out.  There is nothing about how the creatures came here or where they are from.  This is one of the cases where less is more.  If you want a spanking good Atomic Period experience, check this one out.  

No comments:

Post a Comment