Friday, December 3, 2010

'The Giant Claw' is attached to a fun turkey

The Giant Claw (1957)
Starring: Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday
Director: Fred F. Sears
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

An electrical engineer who happens to be dabble in molecular physics on the side (Morrow) and his mathematician Girl Friday (Corday) work with the United States military to find a way to defeat an invulnerable giant anti-matter bird from outer space that has come to Earth to nest (and eat planes, trains, the United Nations Building, and joyriding teenagers).

"The Giant Claw" is a film that demonstrates that the cheesy science fiction movie hasn't changed in 50 years. I'll leave it up to you to decide if that means this film was ahead of its time, or if it means we should be sad over the state of the art of the genre film. Me, I enjoyed this movie the same way I enjoy the goofy monster films that appear on Sci-Fi Channel during "the most dangerous night of television."

The pacing, tone, and quality of acting of this movie is almost identical to "Monster Ark", a Sci-Fi Channel Original Picture that I saw a while back. Heck, the monsters in the two films are equally goofy looking and they're both animated through the cheapest possible effects of the day. (The alien buzzard in "The Giant Claw" is a marionette attacking miniatures, while the creature in "Monster Ark" is a CGI creature of dubious quality attacking similarly dubiously animated targets or actors performing with bad gore effects.)

If you've enjoyed any of the Sci-Fi Channel's monster movies, you should also give this film a try. Even if you haven't, it's worth a look if your monster movie viewing experience isn't ruined by a little silliness. Unlike many 1950s low-budget monster movies, "The Giant Claw" wastes no time getting started and it keeps going at a fast clip for its entire 76-minute running time.

As silly as the giant space buzzard looks, the crunching sounds as it eats the crew of a plane who attempted to parachute to safety and the anti-matter death-from-above it visits upon a carload of teenagers are actually some pretty good monster movie moments by any standard. Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday also make a good on-screen team.

Check out "The Giant Claw". At the very least, slate it for inclusion in a Bad Movie Night line-up. It's almost tailor-made for such an event!


  1. I love this flick. It's a charming bit of fluff. One thing I enjoy is that Jeff Morrow's character is so relentlessly out of sorts throughout the film. He's either making snide remarks or bitching about how others mistreat him.

    People always pick on this one for the stupid looking bird and he is pretty outrageous, but the human characters are pretty vivid in this one and they make this a flick I dig out every couple of years or so. Now that you've reminded me, today might be the day.

    Rip Off

  2. I love "The Giant Claw". The absurdity of the buzzard ENHANCES the movie for me. (Though I can't help thinking doing a Bert Gordon rear projection with a real buzzard might actually have been pretty scary. I've seen real buzzards close up, and they scare the hell out of me!)

  3. I agree with you that a real buzzard would have been scary, but I don't think the plane attack would have been as much fun. :)