The calving of an Arctic iceberg releases a giant praying mantis, trapped in suspended animation since prehistoric times. It first attacks military outposts to eat their occupants, then makes its way to the warmer latitudes of Washington and New York. A paleontologist works together with military units to try to kill it. Written by
The first stock footage of the aircraft carrier is the USS Antietam, CV-36, the first US carrier with an angled deck. The operations clip is of the CV-34 USS Oriskany. They were both Essex-class carriers and most ships in this class received the SCB-125 upgrade, which installed the angled deck; however, the USS Oriskany was the LAST ship in this class to get the new deck. The take-off scene was from the deck of the USS Philippine Sea CV-47. The USS Oriskany (CV-34) was scuttled as an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico (May 2006). See more »
As the Mantis makes its way to the station, its claws alternate between up and down between shots. See more »
Dr. Ned Jackson:
I'm convinced that we're dealing with a Mantis in whose geological world the smallest insects were as large as man, and now failing to find those insects as food, well... it's doing the best that it can.
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This is an above-par gigantic monster thriller from the golden age, well-presented. A thawed, flesh-eating prehistoric preying mantis from the Arctic circle makes way for New York. Director Nathan Juran handles scenes well, including nostalgic map graphics detailing radar sites in the introduction, and using eerie nighttime photography covered in fog-shrouded atmosphere. Musical score is forceful and suspenseful, Clifford Stine special effects are fine for its era. Stock footage abounds but is not uninteresting, leads Craig Stevens and William Hopper are stalwart and wooden, but Alix Talton, a husky voiced former Miss Georgia and resembling Jane Wyman, is fun and natural. Last sequence still thrills, when we start to feel a little sympathy for this wounded animal, roaring and wailing as he meets inevitable doom.
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