The Monster That Challenged the World

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The Monster That Challenged the World
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arnold Laven
Produced by Arthur Gardner
Jules V. Levy
Screenplay by Pat Fielder
Story by David Duncan
Starring Tim Holt
Audrey Dalton
Music by Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography John D. Faure
Edited by Lester White
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
June 1957
Running time
83 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Monster That Challenged the World is a 1957 science-fiction monster movie, about an army of giant mollusks that emerge from the Salton Sea, California. Directed by Arnold Laven, the film starred Tim Holt and Audrey Dalton.[1]

It was produced by Gramercy Pictures (not related to the former PolyGram division) and released by United Artists. The film is currently available on DVD as part of UA sister Metro-Goldwyn Mayer's Midnight Movies collection.


In the Salton Sea of California, an underwater earthquake causes a crevice to open up. (It is later revealed that prehistoric giant mollusks have been released.)

A rescue training parachute jump is conducted, but the patrol boat sent to pick up the jumper finds only a floating parachute. One sailor dives in but disappears. The other sailor screams in terror as something rises from the water.

When the patrol boat does not answer radio calls, Lt. Cmdr. John "Twill" Twillinger (Tim Holt) takes a rescue party on a second patrol boat to investigate. They find the deserted patrol boat with a strange slime on it, then the jumper's body floats to the surface, blackened and drained of body fluids. Twill takes the slime to the base lab for analysis where he teams up with recently widowed Gail MacKenzie (Audrey Dalton) and Dr. Jess Rogers (Hans Conried).

A young couple disappear after swimming. When Navy divers investigate and discover a giant egg and the body of one of the victims, the divers are attacked by a giant mollusk and one is killed. The mollusk attacks the boat but Twill stabs it in the eye with a grappling hook. The egg is taken to the navy lab for study and kept under temperature control to prevent it from hatching.

The mollusks escape into the irrigation canal system attacking livestock, a lock keeper, a trysting couple, and others. Navy divers locate the group of mollusks in the canal system, and use explosives to destroy them.

In the meantime, Gail is at the lab with little daughter Sandy. Sandy is worried about the lab rabbits being cold and sneaks and turns up the temperature control. Twill calls the lab and gets no answer. He arrives and finds the hatched mollusk has Gail and Sandy cornered in a closet. He fights it with lab chemicals and a CO2 fire extinguisher until other Navy personnel arrive and gun down the mollusk.



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