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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a truly terrible sci-fi/horror film from 1957. In fact, despite
Ed Wood, Jr.and his dreadful films getting a lot of publicity, this
turkey is every bit as bad as the worst of Wood. Now the acting is a
bit better than you'd find in the Wood epics (such as PLAN 9 and BRIDE
OF THE MONSTER), but the special effects managed to be significantly
worse than Wood's! However, bad movie aficionados will be happy to hear
that it's so bad that it's still excellent viewing. Like a Wood film,
it's great to watch this crap-fest and laugh along with your friends.
The film begins with a scientist flying about doing some testing in his jet. However, out of nowhere, a UFO streaks by and his report of this over the radio triggers a panic by the Air Force. However, later, they realized that the UFO didn't appear on the radio and they think the scientist is a nut! But, when soon after this planes start disappearing all over, they realize there must be something to his sighting.
So far, the film isn't great but it's watchable. However, by the time the horrible flying monster appears, you know you're watching a turkey. First, through horrid use of stock film and crappy models, airplanes keep changing mid-flight. Some may not be bothered by this, but with airplane lovers like me, seeing an F-80 turning into an F-86 to an F-102 fighter plane made me crazy--especially since the planes look nothing like each other. Second, through "clever" cinematography, all you really see of the monster is a ball of fuzz for half the film! This is frustrating and you hope that when you finally do see it clearly, it will be worth the wait. Well, no such luck!! The "monster" looks less realistic or scary than the duck from Groucho's "You Bet Your Life" TV show!! In fact, it's significantly less realistic than any of the Japanese giant monsters!! In fact, Big Bird from "Sesame Street" is even a bit scarier and realistic!!! It's just god-awful in every way and might just be the dumbest movie monster in history--about as bad (or worse) as the monsters in ROBOT MONSTER or TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE!!! The bottom line is that this is an absolutely dreadful film that sane people won't like. Bad film fans like me (who are a crazy bunch) will probably love it! All others...be afraid,....be VERY afraid!!
FYI--You might notice that some clips in this film are from other sci-fi movies!! I am positive the crashing Washington Monument scene was stolen from EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS but I also saw a couple other scenes that I swear are from other films. What a hack job!
What SHOULD have been one of the best of the late-1950s creature features is reduced to a laughing stock by inadequate special effects. THE GIANT CLAW is almost a great film, with a no-nonsense plot and fantastic acting. It's tense and well-written. What kills it though, is the monster. The giant claw of the title is a bird "the size of a battleship" but it looks like something out of a "what if a Sid & Marty Kroft puppet went horribly wrong" nightmare. I've seen piñatas that were more realistic. Apparently, they farmed the effects out to the lowest bidder in Mexico, and got what they paid for. Otherwise, it's a fine monster flick. With a better creature, it'd be right up there with THEM! and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.
What can you say about a movie that features as it's monster a giant cross between a buzzard and a turkey with ping pong ball eyes and a bad case of the mange? This is what you get with "The Giant Claw", one of the silliest of the 1950's drive-in sci-fi movies. I defy anyone who sees the bird for the first time it appears on the screen to not to die of laughter..it's hard to believe that the creators of this "monster" actually thought anyone would be scared by it. Mara Corday and Jeff Morrow, the two lead actors in this turkey (no pun intended) are stuck with a silly script and inane dialog...but hey, who cares? Watching the Giant Claw attack the toy airplanes and fly through the air screeching like it's in heat is so much fun that you forget how awful it all is.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE GIANT CLAW contains damned near everything that makes bad '50s
sci-fi so much fun: a goofy-looking monster; scenes of destruction with
Styrofoam buildings, model cars, and HO-gauge trains; made-up science
(my Google search of "masic atoms" turned up nothing); scientific
equipment slapped together with whatever junk was handy; a female lead
with a brilliant mind who nonetheless does all the "girl" things like
serving coffee to the men; and the usual dollar-store acting.
The story: a killer bird the size of a battleship (and with teeth) flies around the Earth on a swath of destruction. It is impervious to guns, bombs, and fighter jets, nor does it appear on radar screens. Scientific analysis of a discarded feather concludes that the bird emits a protective energy shield that makes it nearly invincible. Also, since the feather contains no elements known on the Earth, the bird must be an extraterrestrial from some anti-matter galaxy millions of light years away. (Don't you dare question it!) As the lady scientist deduces, the bird came here to build a nest and lay an egg. When the film's heroes shoot up the egg with rifles, it seriously pisses off the bird, which sets about trashing a cheap mock-up of New York City. (Did you know that buildings explode when a monster claws off a chunk of its top floors?)
I watch films like THE GIANT CLAW for the same reason I listen to records by the Shaggs: they're fundamentally awful, but I can't help loving them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yeah, buddy, this review does contain spoilers. I had heard that this movie was beyond bad. But golly gee whiz, Oscar winner Ralph Hammeras worked on the visual effects. Well, friends and neighbors, those visual effects were not that special. The colossal birdbeast that was supposed to be ravaging New York City has a certain resemblance to a gigantic turkey. And it describes this movie. The critter is surrounded by an anti-matter shield that renders it undetectable on radar. It even picks up a passing train in its enormous beak like a normal bird picks up an earthworm in the same manner. Heroic scientist Mitch McAfee (played by Jeff Morrow) invents a mu-meson projector and kills the oversized tweety bird, thus making it unnecessary for Sylvester the cat to get the job done. Lots of stock footage are used, including THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (1944) for the B-25 bomber with the Ruptured Duck logo on the nose of the aircraft and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) for the scene where a building is blown up (it was a replica of the Los Angeles City Hall). There's a scene where a gigantic egg is turned into a scrambled mess (no, not a print of THE GIANT CLAW). The story goes that director Fred F. Sears had his cast members act frightened, and he promised that THE GIANT CLAW would have some excellent special effects. Well, what happened was that Jeff Morrow attended the movie preview and was sitting in the back row. The audiences laughed themselves silly and were rolling in the aisles. Jeff Morrow sneaked out before the movie ended, he was so mortified. You want a good laugh? Check out this movie. But if you want to see a much better movie about a colossal birdbeast on the rampage, watch RODAN. The cats at Toho Company did a far better job. There you have it. And thanks for reading this review.
The Giant Claw a huge, superfast bird thingamabob terrorizing the
earth. They can't kill it with military weapons. But maybe there is
hope, because Mitch (Jeff Morrow) and Sally (Mara Corday) work on a way
to defeat the bird with the help of (dramatic drum roll) science!
"Yet another monster flick", you might think and you'd be perfectly right. Why should you watch this one? Because of the Giant Claw itself. It is a truly wondrous creature: a hideous puppet with a wrinkled face, off-standing hair and enormous pop eyes. As a movie monster, it's as ludicrous as it gets. Surprisingly enough, the movie itself is pretty okay. Director Fred Sears doesn't make as many catastrophic blunders as you'd expect. This isn't an Ed Wood movie, after all. It's just that the contrast between the fairly serious story and the silly bird is as pungent as it's funny.
As a trash movie, it might be a bit underwhelming. Still, you haven't lived until you saw the amazingly ugly Giant Claw.
Don't expect Ben Hur. This is a lousy grade B....however it is really hilarious !!!. Giant goofy bird vrs. planes. This is entertainment ( at it's worst ). This is pretty rare as I thought I've seen all B&W sci fi and horror. This movie does not make it's way on TV to often. Anyone I showed this movie to has laughed and marveled at it's special effects.Relax.....don't take this serious and have fun with this one.
"The Giant Claw" is an adorably horrible monster movie featuring a silly plot, inept script, pedestrian acting, and the most endearingly ridiculous monster ever to threaten mankind. Stories abound about disappearing budgets, Mexican puppet makers, Jeff Morrow slinking out of the theatre when he first saw his feathered antagonist, etc., all of which elevate the movie to the rarified status of one of the "Worst Movies Ever". This is, of course, nonsense, as most people would not bother to finish the "Worst Movie Ever"; whereas, people watch "The Giant Claw" (and its ilk) over and over again. I'd bet in 50 years people will still be snickering over the anti-matter space buzzard when, for example, "Star Trek: Beyond" doesn't even make it into trivia contests. How do you rate a movie that is awful by any measure but yet makes the world a better, or at least a more whimsical, place simply by existing? Metaphorically, HAL would give it a 0, Dave would give it a 10, so I'll split the difference and give it a 5.
Here we go with another movie that had potential but ended up making 70 minutes seem like an eternity. A giant bird starts attacking Earth and scientists immediately know everything about it and how to defeat it. They couldn't have made it look less like a bird.I would have rather seen a guy in a bird suit. The majority of the movie is the generic scientist and his attractive female side kick getting close to the bird and "having planes ready" for them.Knowing that the bird(and anything from its planet) can't be hurt by earth weapons,they go to its nest(that they just assumed existed and instantly found) and destroy its egg with 3 bullets.Did I mention that there's a legend that says just seeing the bird means you are going to die?One guy knows that and when he gets killed(the bird throws some twigs on the people who destroyed its egg and then eats the other guy) the main guy says "He was right about seeing the bird", even though they see it every 5 minutes. There was absolutely no reason for this to be named The Giant Claw.Maybe The Giant Bird-like Thing? There's also no reason to ever watch this.
...Good Special Effects for it's time (1957)....The Claw monster was just hokey enough to let us face the fears of being thrown into the "Atomic Age". A time of ever present instant annihilation... .It helped us come to terms with an insane time & real fears ...A worthwhile movie...Audiences responded with laughter and it allowed us to view our Human-ness...
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