Monday, 16 January 2012

The Crawling Eye (1958)

The Crawling Eye (The Trollenberg Terror) is another alien invasion movie, this one being a British effort dating from 1958.

American scientist Alan Brooks (Forrest Tucker) meets two attractive young English sisters on a train. He’s getting off at Trollenberg while they’re continuing on to Geneva. At least they were, until the younger sister suddenly announces that they absolutely must get off at Trollenberg. We later find out that they do a mind-reading act but one of the sisters really is psychic.

All is not well in the peaceful alpine village of Trollenberg. There have been an unusual number of climbing accidents recently, of a fairly gruesome nature. Climbers have been found beheaded. The villagers are falling prey to superstitious fears.

Brooks is there for professional reasons, to consult with Profesor Crevett (Warren Mitchell) at the observatory. They are studying cosmic rays but Crevett has other concerns at the moment - there’s a strange cloud that has settled on the upper slopes on the Trollenberg and it just stays there. That’s odd, but even odder is that the cloud is radioactive. He and Brooks have seen something like this before, several years earlier in the Andes. They had insufficient proof to justify informing the authorities but they had their suspicions that that cloud had been linked to a series of fatalities similar to the ones occurring now in Switzerland. Their suspicions went even further - that these strange events were the result of the activities of extraterrestrial visitors.

The death (again by beheading) of a geologist on the slopes of the Trollenberg seems to confirm their fears but they still don’t have evidence that would convince anyone. Not yet, but the evidence is not long in coming.

With a script by Jimmy Sangster this is actually a rather good little sci-fi flick. Director Quentin Lawrence wisely keeps us waiting for the payoff, concentrating on building up atmosphere.

There’s an extensive use of process shots but they’re done reasonably well and are not jarring.

Forrest Tucker makes a sympathetic hero and he’s reasonably believable. Warren Mitchell is fun as always. The acting is of a generally high standard, as you come to expect from British movies of this era, even low-budget productions such as this.

Image Entertainment have done a good job with the widescreen transfer. There’s a very small amount of print damage but on the whole picture quality is superb.

1 comment:

nico said...

I remember being surprised that this wasn't totally horrible and liking it, although the special effects regarding the "payoff" at the end are a bit of a let down.