Saturday, 22 December 2007

The Killer Shrews (1959)

The Killer Shrews has the distinction of having a premise that is remarkably silly even by the standards of 1950s science fiction/horror B-movies. A team of scientists on a remote island are working to solve the overpopulation problem by finding ways to make people smaller. They’re experimenting on shrews, but instead of making the shrews smaller they end up making them bigger. In fact they make them into dog-sized venomous killer shrews. Being dog-sized is convenient, since the giant killer shrews are portrayed in the film by dogs cunningly disguised as giant killer shrews. Except that they still look like dogs, dogs in scraggly furry suits. For close-up shots the shrews are portrayed by the most un-lifelike puppets you’ve ever seen. Captain Thorne Sherman has just arrived in his boat bringing supplies, and is forced to find shelter on the island from a hurricane. Naturally the chief scientist has a beautiful daughter, and naturally Captain Thorne falls for her. He then finds himself besieged in the scientists’ house with hundreds of killer shrews trying to tunnel through the walls.

Apart from the sight of dogs in toupees masquerading as shrews the highlight of the movie is the captain’s ingenious plan to construct a tank out of old chemical drums so that the survivors of the siege can reach his boat. The Killer Shrews is definitely one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies. Entertaining when you’re in the mood for such things.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

I almost choked myself laughing when I was reading your review. I can't imagine actually watching the movie. :)