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Saturday, November 29, 2003

Review: The Trollenberg Terror
directed by Quentin Lawrence
starring Forrest Tucker, Janet Munro, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne, Warren Mitchell, Andrew Faulds

Retitled The Crawling Eye for release in the US, The Trollenberg Terror (1958) is considered by many to be just another bad 50s sci-fi movie (it was even featured on Mystery Science Theatre 3000). In actuality, it is far superior to the standard MST3K fare. Like Destination Moon, the significance of the film can be overshadowed by the low budget and sometimes questionable acting, but both films pushed the science fiction genre in new directions. Destination Moon is obviously the more significant film — effectively ushering in the so-called golden age of science fiction film, but The Trollenberg Terror certainly merits a viewing for anyone interested in the genre.

Perhaps most notable about The Trollenberg Terror is the degree to which it blends the science fiction and horror genres. In the opening scene of the film the lead female character, played by Janet Munro, becomes entranced when she sees the Trollenberg mountain. Soon after, we learn that she is telepathic — part of a mind-reading act with her sister. She is the most innocent of all the characters in the film, but to the monsters/aliens on the mountain, she is the most dangerous.

Other elements of horror abound in the film including bloodless zombies and, for the time, graphic violence — with a memorable but brief shot of a severed head in a backpack. It's by no means on the level of 50s science fiction classics like The Day The Earth Stood Still and Invaders From Mars, but it is far better than its reputation suggests.
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 11/29/2003

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