Friday, October 29, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Day 29 - Movie

The Crawling Eye (1958) is the garish title that American distributors released the British Lovecraftian movie The Tollenberg Terror as. Written by Hammer screenwriter, Jimmy Sangster, and based on a six part television serial, The Crawling Eye was part of a wave of smart science fiction movies and tv programs meant to emulate the feel and success of The Quatermas Experiment (1955). If you haven't seen either, then imagine really good Doctor Who episodes.

U.N. Investigator Alan Brooks (Forrest Tucker)  investigates strange goings on atop Trollenberg mountain in the Swiss Alps. Climbers have gone missing. One had his head torn from his body. Professor Crevett (Warren Mitchell), a scientist studying cosmic waves from a secure mountaintop research station, and colleague of Brooks' tells him of a strange radioactive cloud that has remained stationary on the side of the mountain for weeks -- just like what they experienced in the Andes. There's also a telepathic girl (Janet Munro) drawn to Trollenberg and upsetting whatever's in the cloud. When the cloud begins to move, strange things happen. Another man is found headless, and the man he was goes missing. When  he's found, there's no blood in his body and he's determined to kill the telepathic girl. Then the cloud descends on the town below and everyone is evacuated to the research facility where they make a stand against the alien creatures.

This movie would make a good double feature with The Mist though The Creeping Horror is just a tad above average.  It gets a lot of points for being a smart movie with a weird enough premise and creatures. The cast is good, too, but the movie's pace stutters a bit and it doesn't really get going until it is almost over. Most likely this is due to trying to force a six hour television series into a ninety minute running time while keeping as many elements as possible. There were definitely a few characters who could have been removed in order to streamline the movie a bit. The stilted structure and characters who seem developed but don't have much of a function do lend a bit of naturalism to the film, making it seem a bit more real. This is no Quatermas, but I appreciate it for trying and almost making it.

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