An earthquake in the Salton Sea unleashes a horde of prehistoric mollusk monsters. Discovering the creatures, a Naval officer and several scientists attempt to stop the monsters, but they escape into the canal system of the California's Imperial Valley and terrorize the populace.Written by
Jeremy Lunt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Previously an empty desert sink nearly as far below sea level as Death Valley, the Salton Sea originally formed in 1905-07 from a pre-Hoover Dam flood of water from the Colorado River. The 1931 project that created Hoover Dam (aka Boulder Dam) was the result of flood control on the river. Eventually becoming the largest lake in California, a boom town grew around the lake, with all the typical real-estate promotional development and hype, peaking in the 1950s. In the ensuing decades, as the lake slowly began to shrink, land values dropped, tourism faltered, the salinity of the water and pollution have increased, and the area has become a virtual ghost town. See more »
After Jody is pulled under the water, the sound of her screams continues for about a second. See more »
"The Monster That Challenged the World", in spite of its long winded title, is not a bad movie of its kind. The film was one of a series of "giant creature" movies popular in the fifties.
The monster of the title is a giant mollusk/snail type creature (that actually looks more like a caterpillar) that is awakened by an earthquake. It then sets about attacking people and laying eggs. Commander Tim Holt of the U.S. Naval Intelligence Service then sets about to destroy it. Assisting him are scientists Hans Conried (playing it straight for a change) and Casey Adams (aka Max Showalter) and sheriff Gordon Jones. Audrey Dalton is Holt's love interest. Veteran character actor Ralph Moody (a true what's his name?) plays one of the monster's victims.
Director Arthur Laven gives us a believable monster(s) for the 50s and builds the suspense by not showing it until well into the film. Some of the victims look like papier mache but all in all it makes for a pretty good monsters film with high production values on a modest budget.
Holt, who had left films when his excellent "B" western series ended in 1952, came out of retirement for this film, apparently as a favor to director Laven. After this, he made only one more film before forsaking Hollywood for good.
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