Horrorfest 2022 Presents: The Giant Claw (1957, Fred F. Sears)

Based on the few movies I’ve seen from Fred Sears I’m starting to enjoy him as a director. His take on 1950s monster movies, The Giant Claw, is a fun one made on an obviously low budget that does the job well and gets out before becoming too routine. You can only show so many “Monster destroys stuff” scenes before people get a little numb to the whole thing. Also this one has a good cast and some well rounded moments as the actors pretend to be attacked by a giant fake creature flying up in the sky.

The Giant Claw is one ugly looking bird, too, and swoops down upon it’s prey with reckless abandon. The bird is always hungry, is thought to be from outer space and will destroy everything in it’s wake. Sears take on the monster genre perhaps lacks the more complex politics of the original Godzilla film and even the style and grace of the original King Kong, however I found it to be better than many of the other 1950s monster movies that came before and after.

The Giant Claw and Q The Winged Serpent would make for a quality double bill, that’s for sure. Cinema in the 1950s sure was tricky for horror movies in that they had to pretend to be only sci-fi so the public would go see them. We are blessed to live in an era where that is not the case although unfortunately we don’t get the opportunity to see a film such as The Giant Claw in a drive in on a late Friday night. Oh well.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Zombies of Mora Tau (1957, Edward L. Cahn)

Despite wanting to enjoy Zombies of Mora Tau, this whole thing felt as if someone decided to make their own spin on I Walked With a Zombie, only without the style and talent of that movie. Also this is supposed to be set in Africa, yet there is nothing to indicate that is the case. At all. The underwater zombies were indeed neat, yet they don’t have the look of the undead all that much. Plus the movie whimps out by not having the main character be an anti-hero or even a bad guy like he should have been. Weak.

The female characters are decent in this one, yet they are not enough to save the movie which also lacks a real satisfying ending. Still Cahn’s flick does have its moments, primarily one where the film’s ship wreck robbing characters face down a den full of the undead. More of that would have been welcomed in this movie, yet alas it’s a lackluster disappointing effort. The underwater scenes are good however and points and props to this movie featuring zombies emerging from the sea before Carnival of Souls did it 5 years later.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Creature with the Atom Brain (1955, Edward L. Cahn)

This is the first flick in the Cold War Creatures Sam Katzman boxset from Arrow Films Video that I bought at Barnes & Noble early this month. Creature with the Atom Brain is a dated 1950s sci-fi horror movie that I still enjoyed despite the movie being a very 1950s masculine driven affair. I didn’t know any of the actors however I thought many of them gave pretty reliable performances and the plot is wonderfully outrageous!

This all starts because a gangster wants revenge for being imprisoned and then deported to Europe. The mobster enlists a mad scientist to create for him an endless army of zombie atomic corpses that kill and are unstoppable by normal means. He even holds the entire state hostage when the intrepid local police try to stop his evil plans for revenge.

Creature with the Atom Brain has a quality moment when the hero realizes one of his own friends has been turned into a radioactive monster. For this and a rather goofy if entertaining finale, I find this movie to be a decent and watchable picture that’s above some of the other 1950s fare.

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