Attack of the Crab Monsters

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Attack of the Crab Monsters
Attack of the Crab Monsters 1957.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Written by Charles B. Griffith
Starring Richard Garland
Pamela Duncan
Russell Johnson
Music by Ronald Stein
Cinematography Floyd Crosby
Edited by Charles Gross
Distributed by Allied Artists
Release dates
  • February 10, 1957 (1957-02-10)
Running time
62 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70,000[1]
Box office $1 million[1]

Attack of the Crab Monsters is a 1957 independently made American black-and-white science fiction film, produced and directed by Roger Corman (via his Los Altos Productions), written by Charles B. Griffith and starring Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, and Russell Johnson. The film was distributed by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.

A second scientific expedition is sent to a remote Pacific island to discover what happened to the scientists of the first. Unknown to them when they arrive, the island is inhabited by a mating pair of two radiation-mutated intelligent giant crabs that consumed the first expedition. The giants are also slowly undermining the geology of the island, causing it to fall away, piece-by-piece, into the ocean.


A group of scientists land on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean to search for the previous expedition that disappeared without a trace and to continue their research on the effects of radiation from the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests on the island's plant and sea life. They learn to their horror that the earlier group have been killed and eaten by two mutated, intelligent giant crabs, who have also absorbed the minds of their victims and can speak telepathically in the voices of their victims.

Members of the current expedition are then systematically attacked and killed by the monsters, which are now invulnerable to most standard weaponry because of the mutations to their cell structures. The remaining scientists finally discover that both giant crabs are the cause of the ongoing earthquakes and landslides on the island; they are slowly destroying the island, reducing its size. The scientists turn their attention to a way to stop the mating pair of monsters from reproducing.

As the island continues to fall away into the Pacific, and after barely escaping from a laboratory that is about to collapse, the surviving trio witness up close one of the intelligent giant crabs for the first time. This is Hoolar who speaks to them via telepathy and vows to go to the mainland with her fertilized eggs when the island is gone (and the three scientists are dead) to feed upon on even more humans, absorbing those minds in the process. One of the remaining three then sacrifices himself in order to kill the monster and her unhatched brood.

Following the giant's destruction, the two in-love survivors embrace on the small portion of what remains of the island.




Writer Charles B. Griffith later described the scripting process:

Roger came to me and said, "I want to make a picture called Attack of the Giant Crabs, and I asked, "Does it have to be atomic radiation?" He responded, "Yes." He said it was an experiment. "I want suspense or action in every scene. No kind of scene without suspense or action." His trick was saying it was an experiment, which it wasn't. He just didn't want to bother cutting out the other scenes, which he would do.[2]

Underwater photography[edit]

Griffith directed some underwater sequences (and also appeared in a small role). Griffith said:

I had just read The Silent World by Jacques Cousteau and found it to be new and exciting. So when that picture came along, I wrote all the underwater stuff and went to Roger and told him I’d direct all the underwater parts for $100. He said, “Okay.” If I had just asked, he would have said, “No.” I had to put it in a way that he would jump at. So I directed all that stuff and it was rather funny. I’d be down at the bottom of the tank at Marineland trying to get actors to do something while [director of photography] Floyd Crosby was hammering at the glass window trying to get them to do something else. [Laughs.] It was all pretty silly.[3]

Theatrical release[edit]

The film was distributed as the main feature on a standard double bill theatrical release with Corman's Not of This Earth.

Corman has stated the success of the film convinced him that horror and humor was an effective combination.[4]

The film was Corman's most profitable production up to that time, which he attributed to the "wildness of the title," the construction of the storyline,[1] the structuring of every scene for horror and suspense and editing for pace.[5]



  1. ^ a b c Alan Frank, The Films of Roger Corman: Shooting My Way Out of Trouble, Bath Press, 1998 p 38
  2. ^ Dennis Fischer, 'Charles B. Griffith: Not of this Earth', McGilligan, Patrick. Ed Backstory 3: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 60s Berkeley: University of California Press, c1997 1997 retrieved 22 June 2012
  3. ^ Aaron W. Graham, 'Little Shop of Genres: An interview with Charles B. Griffith', Senses of Cinema, 15 April, 2005 accessed 25 June 2012
  4. ^ Roger Corman & Jim Jerome, How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never lost a Dime, Muller, 1990 p 39
  5. ^ Ed. J. Philip di Franco, The Movie World of Roger Corman, Chelsea House Publishers, 1979 p 78


  • Warren, Bill. Keep Watching the Skies: American Science Fiction Films of the 1950s, 21st Century Edition, McFarland and Co., 2009.
  • Wingrove, David. Science Fiction Film Source Book, Longman Group, Limited, 1985.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]