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The Killer Shrews (1959)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 1959 (UK)
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On an isolated island, a small group of people are terrorized by giant voracious shrews in the midst of a hurricane.

Director:

Ray Kellogg

Writers:

Jay Simms (original story), Jay Simms (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Best ... Thorne Sherman
Ingrid Goude ... Ann Craigis
Ken Curtis ... Jerry Farrell
Gordon McLendon Gordon McLendon ... Dr. Radford Baines
Baruch Lumet ... Dr. Marlowe Craigis
Judge Henry Dupree Judge Henry Dupree ... 'Rook' Griswold
Alfredo de Soto Alfredo de Soto ... Mario (as Alfredo deSoto)
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Storyline

A disparate group are trapped on a remote island by a hurricane. On the island, a doctor works to make humans twice as small as we already are. This, apparently, will help prevent over population. Unfortunately, his experiments have also created some giant shrews. As the shrews run out of smaller animals to eat, they move in on the people in the house. Written by Dan Whitehead <dan@idg.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They had to eat 3 times their body weight each day... OR STARVE! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

1959 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Attack of the Killer Shrews See more »

Filming Locations:

Dallas, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$123,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point Thorne says they should open the windows in the house because of the approaching hurricane. It was a popular belief at one time that opening windows during a hurricane or tornado would equalize the extreme air pressure and save houses from being destroyed. This has since been found to be a myth. See more »

Goofs

The narration of the prologue ends with "First in Alaska, and then moving steadily southward, there were reports of a new species, the giant killer shrew." In the film itself, the giants shrews were created, and limited to, an isolated island, presumably off the coast of Texas. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Those who hunt by night will tell you that the wildest and most vicious of all animals is the tiny shrew. The shrew feeds only by the dark of the moon. He *must* eat his own body weight every few hours - or starve. And the shrew devours *everything*: bones, flesh, marrow... everything. In March, first in Alaska, and then invading steadily southward, there were reports of a new species: the giant, *killer* shrew.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A colorized version was released in 2007 as part of a double feature with The Giant Gila Monster. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fright Night Theater: Teenagers from Outer Space (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Finger of Suspicion 1
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Bluestone and Emil Cadkin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This Movie Has Legs
25 November 2007 | by michaeldukey2000See all my reviews

And if you're wondering what the above means it's an old school Hollywood term that means you can get a lot of mileage from something. If The producers only knew how much mileage this get it wouldn't have slipped so easily into the public domain. At any rate this and it's co-feature The Giant Gila Monster were both made back to back for a little under a hundred thousand dollars ( I think ) and by the time they were re-released and then sold to Chiller TV the two had grossed about a million dollars.Not too shabby for drive-in trash.

It's speculated that one of the reasons that Shrews and Gila Monster did so well was the relative uniqueness of the two critters. We had already tons of insects and giant people but people were just beginning to show interest in exotic animals from shows like Wild Kingdom and the like.

Seeing as how Gila Monsters were cantankerous and poisonous the Director decided to use the non lethal Mexican Beaded Lizard as a stand in and seeing as how giant shrews were in short supply they used Coon Hounds and Dalmations dressed in woolly coats with long rubber tails. Look closely and you can see spots on some of the legs.

One reason that Shrews is so much fun today is watching character actor James Best who would later go onto fame as the sheriff in Dukes Of Hazzard trying to keep his dignity alongside the wackiness.He has since said that this is the film he is least proud of.

The dog costumes are so bad that they are a joy to watch and I would gladly watch this a dozen more times than another bad CGI reptile or insect movie on the Sci-Fi CHannel.

Love it or hate it the film has a lot of spunk and it is memorable. Some have called it "one Of The Worst." I've seen practically every B horror and monster flick from the fifties and for this era I have to disagree. Try sitting through The Incredible Petrifed World or THe Cosmic Man and Killer Shrews will seem like Speed.

In the last couple of years the film has been colorized and has even shown up on Animal Planet for a Halloween Special where they compare real shrew behavior to the movie inaccuracies.

Like macaroni and cheese it ain't sophisticated but it's still comfort food.


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