The Trollenberg Terror

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The Trollenberg Terror
Crawling Eye film poster.jpg
1958 American movie poster
Directed by Quentin Lawrence
Produced by Robert S. Baker
Monty Berman
Written by Jimmy Sangster
Story by Peter Key
Based on 1956 TV series[1]
Starring Forrest Tucker
Laurence Payne
Jennifer Jayne
Music by Stanley Black
Cinematography Monty Berman
Edited by Henry Richardson
Tempean Films
Distributed by Eros Films Ltd. (UK)
Distributors Corporation of America (US)
Release date(s) 7 October 1958 (UK)
Running time 84 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Trollenberg Terror is the title of both a 1956 "Saturday Serial" ITV UK television programme and a better-known 1958 black-and-white science fiction film. The latter is also known as The Crawling Eye, Creature from Another World, The Creeping Eye, and The Flying Eye. Both versions are directed by Quentin Lawrence and feature Laurence Payne as journalist Philip Truscott, who investigates unusual accidents occurring at a Swiss resort. The film also stars Forrest Tucker as United Nations troubleshooter Alan Brooks. Peter Key wrote the story for the serial, and Jimmy Sangster scripted the film version based on Keys' story. It was the final film to be produced by Southall Studios, one of the earliest pioneer film studios in the UK.


One of three student climbers is mysteriously killed on a mountain, his head ripped off. Two sisters are on a train to Geneva. Anne faints as they pass a mountain and upon waking, she now knows all about the town and that there is something wrong with the mountain. She decides they should get off at the next stop, Trollenberg. She was part of a mind-reading act in London.

Alan, who was on the train with them, goes to an observatory a little way up the mountain, where Professor Crevett asks for his help. He is told that despite many accidents, dead bodies are never found on the mountain and a radioactive mist cloud is always on its south side. Similar incidents took place in the Andes three years earlier before suddenly vanishing without a trace. It is thought the monsters come from a very cold planet and make their own atmosphere, a rarefied mist.

Anne is giving a mind-reading exhibition at the hotel when she sees the two men in a hut on the mountain. Dewhurst is asleep when the other man, under a mental compulsion, walks out. She faints again. Alan phones the hut and finds out Brett has in fact left. The cloud has moved down to where the hut is and the other man hears a noise outside. Something horrible and unseen kills him. The cloud moves back up the mountain.

An expedition from town goes to look for the two men. Anne, back in town, is uneasy and says the men should stay away from the hut. The hut is locked on the inside and everything is frozen. A body is found under the bed with its head torn off. Anne decides to investigate for herself by cable car as a spotter plane arrives to search the mountain area. A man is spotted on the mountain but when the first rescuer gets there, all that's there is a rucksack. When he looks inside, he sees the man’s severed head. He is then attacked by a madman (Brett) with a mountain axe, who kills the second rescuer.

Anne feels a compulsion to climb the mountain but they stop her going past the observatory. Later Brett arrives back at the hotel, behaving weirdly, then tries to kill Anne but is knocked down. He hits his head but there is no blood from the wound. This was similar to incidents in the Andes where a man killed an old woman who had powers similar to Anne's, being able to receive thoughts. They arrived ten minutes too late to find him dead, as in dead for 24 hours.

Brett kills a man and escapes from the room he was locked in and goes looking for Anne with a knife, but is shot and killed by Alan. News is that the cloud is now coming down the mountain toward the village. They decide to retreat to the observatory by cable car; the observatory is heavily fortified to withstand avalanches and therefore should provide a measure of protection from the monsters.

A monster arrives in the mist at the hotel. As people begin piling into a cable car, a mother suddenly realizes her daughter is not there, and Alan goes to rescue the child in the hotel. He does so and narrowly escapes the monster. They make it to the cable car and head up the mountain, but the delay has given the mist a chance to reach the cable car platform; the motor and cables start freezing and the car starts jerking, but it manages to get them to the observatory, and four clouds now start heading towards them. They have one hour.

Hans, who tried to get out by road, turns up and they let him in, but he has the symptoms of being a puppet of the monsters and goes looking for Anne. They manage to stop him from strangling her, and kill him. The monsters climb towards the observatory, where the men are making Molotov cocktails to combat the monsters, who prefer intense cold. An aerial firebomb raid has been ordered on the observatory, which it should survive, having three-foot-thick concrete walls.

Philip hits one of the monsters with a Molotov cocktail, which sets it ablaze, but he is caught by another monster on the roof. A Molotov cocktail tossed from Alan sets that monster ablaze and persuades the burning monster to let Philip go. Later, Philip does the same for Alan when a monster manages to break through the thick wall to try and get at Anne. The plane arrives and begins its bombing raid, and the monsters burn.



Warren Mitchell's part was originally meant to be played by Anton Diffring but he pulled out at the last minute.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Under the title The Crawling Eye, the film was the first of many movies to be mocked on the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was also briefly mentioned at the end of the final episode of the show.
  • An episode of Freakazoid spoofs the opening credits of the film, as well as key elements of the plot (though with victims being turned into clowns instead of being killed). The film is mentioned in Stephen King's 1986 horror novel It as having been watched by one of its protagonists, and the Crawling Eye itself later appears as a manifestation of the novel's title monster.
  • A song called "Crawling Eye" is featured on American horror punk band The Misfits' 1999 album, Famous Monsters. The song's lyrics directly reference the plot of the film.
  • The main title music from "The Crawling Eye" is featured on the album Greatest Science Fiction Hits V by Neil Norman & His Cosmic Orchestra on GNP Crescendo Records.



  1. ^ The Trollenberg Terror at IMDB
  2. ^ John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 48-51

External links[edit]

Mystery Science Theater 3000