Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monster Crap Inductee: The Giant Claw (1957)

Monster Crap Inductee: The Giant Claw
The Holy Grail Of Monster Crap

Well, today is a great day for me. Not only because last time, I got to have fun with the induction of Critters 2…but mainly because of what I am going to induct now. It is a film that started my love for monster movies. It is a film that can never be forgotten by anyone who has laid eyes upon this film. Today is the day that I happily induct The Giant Claw.

In the 1950s, there was a huge influx of giant monster movies where the only thing that mattered in the movie was the monster. Some like Them!, Godzilla, and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms were great and memorable movies. Some like The Killer Shrews, The Black Scorpion, and Kronos are bad and forgettable movies. But there is only one movie that is both horrible and memorable.

However, many who made this movie would want you to forget about The Giant Claw whatsoever. In fact, it was one of those films that for years….never got a DVD and when it finally did, it was part of a four DVD set where even the makers of the DVD didn’t want to give the film its due (it said the most notorious film he made was The Werewolf). Even the stars like Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday are embarrassed by this film. However, I and surely many monster movie fans will never forget this movie and since I love this movie so much, I am not going to make any more rants and just get to the movie immediately. Oooh…..I can’t wait…………

We start off with….

A Typical 50s Opening Title Screen.

Now looking at this picture, you would think this movie would be awesome. Well, you might want to notice why they are not showing the head. Well, as you will find out, there is very good reason. You also get awesome 50s horror music which is telling you that you are in for a treat. And yet the same shot is shown throughout the whole opening credit sequence.

Then after all that nonsense and the first thing we see after the opening credits is what is supposed to be earth, but to me….it looks like someone left their globe in the smoke room again.

Is It In The Boys Room??

No, it is not the boys room. Meanwhile the narrator (who is also the director of this film Fred Sears). Of course while we see all of this, we see what most 50s movies are known for….

Lots And Lots Of Meaningless Stock Footage.

Basically, the narrator is going on about the advances in technology and radar.

We first get introduced to the lovely Mara Corday here as she plays mathematician Sally Caldwell. At this time, her biggest contribution as the lead female in Tarantula, another one of those 50s monster movies.

We then get the guy next to her calling the pilot of a test plane to get a reading on his co-ordinates. The pilot asks about if Sally (or as he calls her Mademoiselle Mathematician) is done with her numbers yet. She says that she almost is, but she needs readings for one more flight so the test pilot flies around one more time. The pilot gets too close to the base which scares the people inside…..

Kind Of Like How A Low Flying Plane Scared New Yorkers.

Now if you think I am making a joke at New Yorkers expense, which is not true. I watched the September 11 attacks happen on TV and if I were in New York and saw someone doing something that stupid, I would have crapped my pants. I am just making a mere observation of how things were different, yet the same in the 1950s and today.

Anyway, Sally is not happy and when told that the test pilot (whose name is Mitch) makes his own rule, she states that so does a 3 year old child before his mother spanks him. Unfortunately the pilot was listening and makes some innuendo at her.

Mitch Makes Sexual Harassment Panda Very Sad.

Of course, Mitch smiles at that comeback, but that smile doesn’t last when he sees…..

A Giant Blur!!!

Mitch calls it in as unknown flying object and says that it was…..


Now why did I mention that…..oh, you’ll find out. Of course I can also add on the face Mitch (who is played by Jeff Morrow makes after seeing it.

Did I Leave The Stove On????

Of course, the radar people can’t pick up any flying object, but he insists that he saw something. Kind of hard for you to trust radar, especially if you have seen the flying object twice. The man in the radio decides that it is better to be safe than sorry so he calls on planes to check out what is going on….which leads us to….
More Stock Footage.

When Mitch comes back into the office, the one guy he is talking (his name is Major Bergen) to lets him have it because he thinks Mitch was lying. Mitch insists he saw something and Bergen tells him that radar didn’t pick up a damn thing and so did none of the pilots said they saw nothing……except one who didn’t say anything because he never returned. He continues to yell at Mitch until he gets a phone call that a passenger plane disappeared off the radar while saying they saw something that radar did not pick up.

So basically this causes concern, but of course Sally still doesn’t believe Mitch’s story about an object in the sky or as she calls it……a flying battleship.

Bowser’s Airships Are Real…..Damn It!!!

While aboard a cargo plane, the two talk. Of course, the plane suffers with some rough weather and the pilot tells Mitch that he will try to fly over the storm. Mitch goes back to his seat, but is called up front because the pilot saw the same object Mitch saw. Of course, the ship shakes and the pilot’s face is thrown into the steering mechanism as the ship crash lands.

Of Course, Its Obvious It Was Just A Child’s Airplane Crashing Into A Diorama.

Mitch and Sally are able to get the pilot out before the ship explodes.

It Is An Explosion That Would Bore Even Michael Bay.

Of course, after pieces fall by them…Mitch tries to revive the pilot, but the pilot has died. Sally wonders what happened and Mitch says that it was the flying battleship that wasn’t there.

Thankfully, Mario Was Not On The Ship At The Time The Airship Collided With The Plane.

Of course, some guy comes to the scene of the crash to see if anyone is okay.

Of Course It Looks More Like To Me That He Was Trying To Warn Everyone That Pepe Le Pew Was In The Area.

Of course, if you didn’t realize it by my joke….the guy is French and his name is Pierre. He takes them to his house and calls the local authorities to report the crash. A cut scene later, the authorities get there as the ambulance takes the dead pilot away. Of course, if you see the guys, they look like those ambulance guys in the Looney Toons cartoons who take away the wrong thing instead of the person who is hurt. Sadly these men do not whistle while they do it. Of course, Sally makes fun of Mitch by saying that it was a “flying battleship”. The sheriff says good luck with that and leaves with the ambulance. The phone rings and Pierre answers, only to be told that it is General Van Buskirk.

Mitch makes the joke that he is in trouble again and once again, Sally makes fun of his “flying battleship”. Of course, this infuriates Mitch who said he didn’t say it was a flying battleship (a moment ago, you did), but that it looked like a battleship. He makes a retort of his own by saying that he should have said it was a flying adding machine and then maybe she would believe him. Anyway, Buskirk tells Mitch that the pilot did call in a UFO and as Mitch expected, the radar picked up nothing. Of course, when the general talks about it being a joke or a false alarm, Mitch proceeds to talk down to the General until Sally tells him to stop.

After the phone call, Mitch tells Sally that there will be an investigation into the incident and that the both of them should keep themselves open for questioning. Of course, he asks for another shot of Pierre’s alcohol and in the worst French accent out there, he talks about it being his famous “Apple Jack”.

Of course, Pierre hears something going on outside and goes to investigate. A few minutes, Mitch and Sally hear a scream. The two go outside and see Pierre on the ground as well as in hysterics. He then says he saw “La Cacargne”…with the face of a wolf and the body of a woman, with wings….bigger than anything. Sally reveals that she remembers that it is a superstition that the French Canadians brought with them (yes, it actually is a myth of French folklore….kind of like their version of the Banshee).

The sheriff comes by to pick them up and wonders what is wrong with Pierre. Mitch says that Pierre thinks he saw something weird in the sky and Pierre says he saw “La Cacargne”. The sheriff mentions that he has heard about the superstition before and when asked about why this scarred Pierre, he explains that the legend is if you see “La Cacargne”, it is a sign that you are going to die…..real soon. Of course, none of them believe Pierre and don’t bother to look around the place…..because if they did, they would see…..

A Giant Claw Print.

On the plane, he tries to once again make the moves on Sally again and…..


When the two get into innuendos, Mitch discovers that there is a pattern to the attacks by whatever is in the sky. The pattern, of course, is that the object is flying in a swirled pattern. Of course, this gets the two into an argument so heated that a passenger behind them has to tell them to be quiet. After talking about poetry, Mitch makes his move again and kisses her.

Now You Make Sexual Harassment Panda Even More Sad.

The next scene, we see another plane with four members of the Civil Aeronomics Board Investigation flying towards the scene of the crash involving Mitch and Sally. The pilot sees the flying object and calls in to say that he saw a bird….


We then hear the screeches of the bird and then we finally see what has been causing the mayhem. And remember when I said that all that mattered was the look of the monster….well, we finally see the monster here.

Warning: If uncontrollable laughter may cause you to have a heart attack, stop reading this review here.

Okay….now that we got that out of the way, here is the monster.

Try Not To Laugh At The First Time Seeing This.

Yes, that giant marionette puppet you see there is the monster. If you see strings, you aren’t alone, because everyone else could see those strings too. Also, that bird has an ungroomed Mohawk that looks like Mr. T.

I Pity Da Fool Who Messes With The Giant Claw!!!

Anyways, back to the movie. Everyone decides to jump out of the plane while the plane explodes. After destroying the plane, the bird decides to go after the passengers and of course, eats them all.

In the hotel, a doorbell is rung. Mitch answers and it is members of the armed forces and they want to speak with him and Sally immediately.

In the meeting, General Buskirk tells the two that two more planes were down and they follow Mitch’s pattern to perfection. Buskirk tells the two that the pilot of the CAB plane said that it was a bird…………


This causes Mitch to smile because everything he has said was true. When asked if anything that big could not be picked up by radar, Mitch said that it was impossible….but he saw it himself. When Mitch says he wishes he had a camera with him, Sally tells them that they have cameras in the sky via rockets and balloons. They take the balloons down and take the filmstrips out. They look at the film and see this.
And this….
And this…

And probably the best shot of all…..this…..

Hi Mom!!

That image terrifies Sally and the general makes sure that this film is made confidential so no one will know. Buskirk has his plane planned for Washington and has Mitch & Sally go with him.

At the office, General Considine looks at the footage and agrees that it is a giant bird.

While discussing everything, they can’t come up with anything on how to track it. A phone call comes in and it is a pilot who tells them that they have spotted the giant bird. Considine then orders an all out assault on the monster. However, there is something not right……

That Is It.

There are several things wrong with that. First thing is if they are at the Pentagon, which we can guest they are at, the only way that could be possible is if it was Howl’s Moving Castle because the Pentagon is not in Washington DC, it is in Arlington, Virginia. Now, if it was the nearest office (The Library of Congress), there would be another problem. One would be why would a general be at the Library of Congress and two would be if you look at Google maps; there is an entire street and park in between the two. So basically, you can tell that is not real and is just a bad backdrop.

One of the pilots makes a joke that they have seen some mighty big chicken hawks back on the farm, but nothing like this. Another makes the joke that he will never call his mother in law an old crow again. Anyway, the planes try to shoot it down, but the missiles can not hit the bird for some reason.

Na Na Na Na Boo Boo…..You Can’t Hit Me.

So basically all of the planes get owned by the giant bird and basically eats the pilots.

Back at the office, everyone is confused as to how this giant bird can survive. Mitch has the great idea of using atomic weapons. Nice idea, Mitch….kill the giant bird, but bring in a whole squadron of animals that atomic weapons create. General Considine gets a phone call from a scientist who may have an idea on what is making the bird so invincible.

At the lab, Dr. Noymann tells Mitch, Sally, and the two generals how he thinks the bird has an anti-matter shield. The anti-matter shield explains how the radar can’t pick it up and how nothing can destroy it. When asked where this bird came from, Noymann believes that the bird came from some anti-matter galaxy far far away. Now do we ever get an explanation of how it got here, seeing as how it breathes and there is no air in space? Of course not.

The bird then revealed itself to the public by flying low over populated places.

I’m Here To See My Adoring Fans.

Back in the hotel room, another doorbell rings. Mitch answers and it is Sally who has Mitch’s numbers through the machine. She also asks for Mitch to give her a kiss and he happily obliges. Sally gives Mitch the idea that the bird may be making a nest, which means the bird, is laying eggs…which means….wait a minute. Wouldn’t there need to be a male bird too? For an explanation of how no male or female bird is needed…we go to Monster Crap’s senior monster expert…..Dr. Niko Tatopaulos. Doctor, explain how this bird could lay an egg without there being another one as well.

It’s A-Sexual.

Thanks Niko. Mitch calls General Buskirk so they can get to Pierre’s farm and then the radio brings a special announcement. General Considine makes an announcement about that giant bird saying that they have not been able to destroy the giant bird and why. He also reveals that the giant bird has begun attacks on the ground…..which means…

More Stock Footage, Because You Have Demanded It.

Also revealed is that martial law has been instituted. Basically, there will be no type of public travel allowed. There will be blackouts too. The radio is cut off, but we find that the giant bird is now flying over New York City.


The two see this and decide that it is time to go to Pierre’s place. While on a helicopter with Pierre, they see the giant bird pass by. They decide to land the helicopter in the forest near the nest, so they don’t get attacked by the bird.

Although They Get Pretty Damn Close.

Of course they bring two rifles, but...

For Some Reason, Mitch Doesn’t Trust A Woman Or A Frenchman With The Guns.

They find the nest and see that the giant bird has laid an egg already while still building the nest.

Mitch decides to aim his rifle at the egg while Pierre does what the French military is known for doing and that is running away. Sally grabs the gun while Mitch looks at her strange. She explains how she can use a gun…..because she is from Montana. The two of them shoot three times at the egg and it only takes the third time before the giant bird realizes they are shooting at its egg.

Remind Me To Never Hire This Giant Bird As Anyone’s Bodyguard

Fortunately for us, the egg is a goner, but unfortunately….that pisses the giant bird off big time.

Oh My God….They Killed My Egg. You Bastards!!!!

The bird tries to attack the two assassins, but he can’t attack them while in the trees. That is bad news for Pierre as he is running on the wide open road so the bird is easily able to kill him.

Goodbye…..Sweet Frenchman.

After seeing Pierre’s death, she says that Pierre was right in that seeing the bird meant his death would come real soon. Mitch says he will make a call to Washington to makes sure that if there are more eggs, they are destroyed. The two of them also decide to get back to the city. They also decide to leave the chopper and take Pierre’s car since he won’t need it anymore. While they are on the road, they run into…..

Stupid White Teenagers…..Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mitch tries to warn them about the giant bird, but they aren’t scared by the giant bird because as one of them said, they got salt for the birds tail. Of course, the giant bird notices the stupid kids and decides that he is going to teach them a lesson.

Try Pouring Salt On My Tail Now!!!!

The bird grabs the car and drops it…which causes the car to explode.

Yep….It’s A Burning Car With A String On It.

Mitch and Sally get out of the car to check on a couple of the kids who were able to get out of the car. Unfortunately, they are badly hurt and unconscious.

Now You Know What Happens When You Are Stupid In The Face Of Danger.

And knowing is half the battle.

GI JOE!!!!!

They decide to take the kids to the hospital and that is the last time you will ever see those kids again. The next day, General Considine and Dr. Noymann meet with Mitch and Sally because supposedly, they have a plan to get rid of the anti-matter shield this giant bird has. Mitch reveals that by making a machine which can shoot out a number of meson atoms, the anti-matter may be destroyed. We then get a montage of them trying to build the machine, with failure. Unfortunately, we have no montage music.

While they are trying to figure out how to build this machine, the giant bird takes some anger out on a toy train.

Back at the laboratory, Sally and Dr. Noymann are sleeping when….

Mitch Blows The Next Room Up.

Luckily, Mitch is alive and while in the hospital, Mitch reveals that the machine was a success. When told that it couldn’t have been a success since the lab was blown up, Mitch reveals that he meant to do that. You know, I wouldn’t be wasting people’s time trying to escape from making a complete blunder. But for whatever reason, it is the truth so now they have the machine needed to combat the giant bird.

The next day, they are at work making the machine needed to destroy the shield, when someone tells them that the giant bird is in New York City. Everything is packed into a plane and they will need to work on it while in the air. Meanwhile, the giant bird is on the Empire State Building and is destroying it.

This Is For Killing King Kong!!

The bird then destroys the United Nations building.

This Is For Being Complete Wimps!!

The plane carrying the weapon is able to get the bird’s attention so it follows the plane, but not before crashing into a building for no reason.

I Meant To Do That. Hey, If It Worked For Mitch….It Works For Me As Well

While being chased they are able to shoot the weapon at the bird, which destroys its shield. The same plane then turns around and shoots the bird out of the sky.

The Giant Claw makes a giant splash into the ocean and is dead

Everyone is happy while Mitch and Sally hug. The movie ends on this great picture.

I’ll Get You Next Time, Mitch. Next Time!!!
Damn, I Forgot The Cat Again.

Okay, before I get to the overall thoughts on the film. I should note that nobody knew about the look of the monster, but were told that it would be great so act terrified. In an interview before passing away, Jeff Morrow stated it best.

"We shot the film before we ever got a look at this monster that was supposed to be so terrifying. The producers promised us that the special effects would be first class. The director - Fred Sears - just told us, 'All right, now you see the bird up there, and you're scared to death! Use your imagination.' But the first time we actually got to see it was the night of the premiere. The audience couldn't stop laughing. We were up there on screen looking like idiots, treating this silly buzzard like it was the scariest thing in the world. We felt cheated, that's for sure, but they told us afterward that they just ran out of money. They couldn't afford anything but this stupid puppet. But it was just terrible. I was never so embarrassed in my whole life."

Jeff Morrow never truly got another chance to redeem himself from this embarrassment as he would only get small roles on TV shows and later, would make cameo appearances in really bad movies that someday, I may review because they involve monsters (like Octaman). However, he was content with that as he was a commercial illustrator until he passed away in 1993.

Mara Corday would one year later become the Playboy Playmate of the Month for October 1958 along with Pat Sheehan. She would give up acting in the 60s to be the wife of Richard Long and mother to their kids (although the less said about those 17 years, the better). After Richard’s death in 1974, she would take small parts for her friend Clint Eastwood’s films, just as he did with her films back in the 1950s. In fact, she is one of the few people who did the film that are still alive today.

Fred Sears (the director) would not be one of those lucky ones as the director of many low budget movies died one year after the Giant Claw was released. Reports that his death was because of the embarrassment that came with this film….were unsubstantiated.

Because the movie never really gave the monster a name, many of people have tried to come up with a name for the monster, like “La Cacargne”, but most people have called the bird the same name as the name of the movie, The Giant Claw.

Now, of course I know that this movie is pretty ridiculous in plot and creature, but for some reason, I love this movie to death. Maybe it is the nostalgic part of me because this was one of the first four monster movies I ever saw as part of the original Monster Vision lineup. However, I believe it is mostly because of how ridiculous it is….you can’t help but love it. As many of people who have reviewed this movie before me would say, this movie is so beautiful in its ineptitude and despite what you can tell about the monster overall, it has a unique look. James Rolfe, otherwise known as the Angry Video Game Nerd, rated the monster as his favorite giant movie monster of all time. The people of Troll 2 are calling their movie “The Best Worst Movie”, if that is the case….then the giant claw would have to have “The Best Worst Monster”. Now, what better way to end my review of the movie than to say the following: It is….


Well, next induction will be in June and.....

We're Going To Manhattan

That actually sounds like fun.

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