Scott Carey and his wife Louise are sunning themselves on their cabin cruiser, the small craft adrift on a calm sea. While his wife is below deck, a low mist passes over him. Scott, lying in the sun, is sprinkled with glittery particles that quickly evaporate. Later he is accidentally sprayed with an insecticide while driving and, in the next few days, he finds that he has begun to shrink. First just a few inches, so that his clothes no longer fit, then a little more. Soon he is only three feet tall, and a national curiosity. At six inches tall he can only live in a doll's house and even that becomes impossible when his cat breaks in. Scott flees to the cellar, his wife thinks he has been eaten by the cat and the door to the cellar is closed, trapping him in the littered room where, menaced by a giant spider, he struggles to survive. Written by
Richard Matheson had originally written a screenplay for the sequel called The Fantastic Shrinking Girl in which Louise Carey begins to shrink herself. Universal had planned to produce it but the project was eventually scrapped. See more »
Although Scott Carey grows increasingly smaller, the pitch of his voice never changes. The pitch of a person's voice is primarily dictated by the size of the vocal chords; as he decreases in size, his voice should have increased in pitch, eventually becoming inaudible to human ears. See more »
The cellar stretched before me like some vast primeval plain, empty of life, littered with the relics of a vanished race. No desert island castaway ever faced so bleak a prospect.
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This has always been one of my favorite science fiction/horror movies from the 1950s.
This is an existential science fiction movie. Man alone against the universe is always a powerful topic, and writer Richard Matheson, who adapted his own novel for the screen, does an admirable job. Grant Williams' character isn't fighting aliens or demons, but rather the extraordinary circumstance of his mysterious shrinking, and the unforeseen consequences of his ever-dwindling size.
I love the fight with the spider, but my favorite part of the movie is the final monologue. It adds another half a star to an already extraordinary film.
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