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The Crawling Eye (1958)

The Trollenberg Terror (original title)
Unrated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 31 December 1958 (USA)
A series of decapitations on a Swiss mountainside appear to be connected to a mysterious radioactive cloud.


Quentin Lawrence


Jimmy Sangster (screenplay), Peter Key (story)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Forrest Tucker ... Alan Brooks
Laurence Payne ... Philip Truscott
Jennifer Jayne ... Sarah Pilgrim
Janet Munro ... Anne Pilgrim
Warren Mitchell ... Crevett
Frederick Schiller Frederick Schiller ... Klein
Andrew Faulds ... Brett
Stuart Saunders Stuart Saunders ... Dewhurst
Colin Douglas Colin Douglas ... Hans
Derek Sydney ... Wilde
Richard Golding Richard Golding ... First Villager
George Herbert George Herbert ... Second Villager
Anne Sharp ... German Woman
Leslie Heritage Leslie Heritage ... Carl
Jeremy Longhurst Jeremy Longhurst ... First Student Climber


A remote mountain resort in Switzerland is invaded by horrible alien creatures that like to decapitate humans. The beings are also in telepathic communication with people and inhabit a mysterious, radioactive cloud at the base of the Trollenberg mountain. Written by Jeremy Lunt <durlinlunt@acadia.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's looking for you! See more »


Horror | Sci-Fi


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The Crawling Eye monster literally makes a cameo appearance in Stephen King's horror novel "It". The children run into the creature in the sewers during a 1958 segment of the novel. See more »


In the laboratory Prof. Crevett states that the walls are steel reinforced. Yet, when the monster breaks through the office wall where Anne Pilgrim is, there is obviously no reinforcement in the wall or in the piece of fallen wall shown. See more »


Alan Brooks: Looks like you're goin' for a climb.
Dewhurst: Yes, we're going up the Trollenberg. Gonna have a noggin before we start. Care to join us?
Alan Brooks: All right.
Dewhurst: What's it goin' to be?
Alan Brooks: Scotch, please.
Dewhurst: Scotch and the two brandies. Better give me a bottle of brandy to take with us. Keep the cold out tonight.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The films opening credits flash onto the screen when the passenger train rolls into the darkness of a tunnel. See more »


Referenced in Films Under Constant Critique: Star Wars (1977) (2019) See more »

User Reviews

Influential 1950s Science Fiction
4 April 2014 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

A series of decapitations on a Swiss mountainside appear to be connected to a mysterious radioactive cloud, not unlike one that appeared in the Andes years earlier.

Although one of the earliest films to be lampooned on "Mystery Science Theater 3000", there is no denying the growing reputation this movie has received over the years: not only was it referenced in Stephen King's "It", but was also the primary influence behind John Carpenter's minimalist masterpiece "The Fog" (which itself has gone on to influence others).

"Crawling Eye" was the debut feature for director Quentin Lawrence, and probably remains his best-known work. Writer Jimmy Sangster (adapting the work of Peter Key) had only been working a few years, but was a rising star with such Hammer classics as "Dracula" and "Curse of Frankenstein" under his belt. Here he crafts a tale of science gone wrong mixed with the living dead, and done to perfection.

Most interestingly, shortly before the film was released, Lawrence directed a 6-part television miniseries with Key writing the episodes. Today, no copies are thought to exist, and there is no way to know what changes were made for the big screen, as well as what cuts had to be administered to accommodate the shorter running time.

Leading the cast is Forrest Tucker as United Nations troubleshooter Alan Brooks. Tucker had been in nearly 100 films during the 1940s and 50s, and easily handles his role here as the hero -- part action star, part scientific genius. He is assisted by Warren Mitchell as a caricatured Swiss professor (a portrayal which provides the film's only comic relief).

The standout performance comes from Janet Munro as a semi-psychic young woman who goes into trances when she nears the cloud. One gets the impression that she had a bright career before her, and indeed was given a Golden Globe in 1960. Sadly, she passed unexpectedly at age 38.

Today's audiences might find some of the special effects cheesy. Obviously the crew used miniature sets and plenty of rear projection. But in general, there is no denying the impressive use of fog, the freezing effects and the creepy realism of the titular eye. While other 1950s films were busy using radiation as a plot device for large bugs, this one went in a completely different direction -- possibly the only film of its kind.

Notably, "Crawling Eye" was the final film to be produced by Southall Studios, one of the earliest pioneer film studios in the UK, which had made a steady stream of films since 1924. They went out on a high note, which is always nice.

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Release Date:

31 December 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Crawling Eye See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tempean Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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