Friday, June 28, 2013

Old School Week: The Killer Shrews

Welcome back kids and on to Day 4 of Old School Week.  I was idly glancing at some the requests I have been reading and I thought I have not reviewed a 1950’s horror film before and heck fire I surely can find one that molds well into that of which I do review.  So get your Dixieland Jazz, stock up on booze and don’t emote much.  This is The Killer Shrews.

The Joan Collins' story!!

Automatic pilot can’t play spoilers like I can.

Special Effects coordinator/director Ray Kellogg (The Giant Gila Monster, My Dog, Buddy, The Monroes and The Green Berets) was better known in the movie industry for doing scale model effects and superimposing camera angles and yet someone got it in their head to give this man a directing gig.   Captain Thorne Sherman (James Best of The Dukes of Hazzard, Hooper, Savages, Gator, Rolling Thunder and The End) make a delivery of supplies to a remote island with a group of genetic researchers when a freak hurricane smacks the region of water.  The captain is leery to try to unload the cargo do to the weather.  He and his first mate Griswold (Judge Henry Dupree of The Killer Shrews and My Dog, Buddy) shove off (YOU SHOVE OFF!!!) to land to inform the residents of the delay.  They notice a really large fence about 9 feet high.  I know you are all thinking they are filming porn and you are dead wrong.  I double checked just for you.  

Yeah you hiked up your trousers good!

Dr. Craigis (Baruch Lumet of One Third of a Nation, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Interns, The Group and The Wild Party) his daughter Ann (Ingrid Goude of The Tattered Dress, The Big Beat, The Bob Cummings Show, Wild Heritage, Never Steal Anything Small and Holiday for Lovers) and her fiancĂ©e Jerry Farrell (Ken Curtis of The Alamo, Have Gun-Will Travel, How the West Was Won, Ripcord, Gunsmoke and Robin Hood) decide to end world hunger by trying to shrink the human metabolism by trying this experimental formula on shrews for a comparison to humanity’s appetite but it had a total reversal and the shrews started getting larger and larger.
Lassie??!!! What did you do to Timmy??!!!

The creatures escape and proceed to wreak merry merry havoc on the island as the scientists and crewmen are terrified by said creature.  From the monsters able to burrow through the walls and strike without warning; our intrepid party decide to make a break for the boat and risk the hurricane versus the mutations running rampant.

I have a few quick notes on this.  First off what in God’s green earth was Ken Curtis doing on this flick?  Well it was his hold over flick before Gunsmoke fame and he also produced this movie.   For shame Festus!!!    Writer Jay Simms (The Giant Gila Monster, Law of the Plainsman, Panic in Year Zero!, The Rifleman, Have Gun-Will Travel, The Big Valley and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father) had a successful career writing Western TV after two creature feature screenplays.   This is truly a stinker from start to finish but it is still quite amusing to view.

Another high ball, Captain?