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
Distributed by Eros Films Ltd. (UK)
Distributors Corporation of America (US)
Release dates 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 is ripped from his body. Two sisters, a London mind-reading act, are traveling to Geneva by train when one of them, Anne, faints as they pass the same mountain. Upon waking, she knows that there is something very wrong, so she decides they should get off at the very next stop, Trollenberg, the town nearest the mountain.

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 climbing accidents, dead bodies are never found, and that a radioactive mist cloud is always on its south face. Similar incidents took place in the Andes three years earlier before the mist suddenly vanished without a trace. It is thought that creatures live in the rarefied mist and that they came to Earth from a very cold planet.

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 an odd mental compulsion, walks outside; she suddenly faints again. Alan phones the hut and finds that Brett has in fact left. The cloud has now moved down the hut's location, and the other man hears a noise outside; something ghastly but unseen kills him. The cloud then leaves, moving back up the mountain.

An expedition from the town goes to look for the two men. Anne is very uneasy and says the men should stay away from the hut, which they discover is locked on the inside; everything is frozen. A body is found under the bed with its head ripped off. Anne decides to investigate the mountain by going up in the cable car, just as a spotter plane arrives to search the area. A man is spotted on the mountain, but when the first rescuer arrives, 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 then kills the second rescuer.

Anne feels a compulsion to climb further up the mountain, but they stop her. Later, Brett has arrived back at the hotel, is behaving oddly, and then suddenly tries to kill Anne; he is knocked down and hits his head, but there is no blood coming from the wound. This was similar to an incident in the Andes where a man killed an old woman who had mental powers similar to Anne's. They arrived ten minutes too late only to find that man dead; it was later discovered his body had actually been dead for 24 hours.

Brett kills a man and then escapes from the room in which he was locked; he goes looking for Anne with a concealed knife but is shot and killed by Alan. News comes 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 creatures.

A one-eyed monster arrives at the hotel in the mist. As guests begin piling into the 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 creature. They make it to the cable car and head up the mountain, but the delay has given the mist a chance to reach the platform; the motor and cables start freezing and the car starts shaking, but it manages to get them to the observatory. Four clouds now start heading up towards them; they estimate they have one hour until they arrive.

Hans, who tried to leave by road, turns up and they let him in, but he has the tell-tale symptoms of being controlled by the one-eyed monsters; he goes looking for Anne. They manage to stop him from strangling her, killing him in the process. The creatures, who prefer intense cold, climb towards the observatory; the men are now making Molotov cocktails to combat them. In the meantime an aerial firebombing raid has been ordered by the observatory; the building should easily survive the raid, having three-foot-thick concrete walls.

Philip hits one of the one-eyed monsters with a Molotov cocktail, setting it ablaze, but he is then caught by another creature on the roof. Alan sets it ablaze with a Molotov cocktail, persuading the burning one-eyed monster to release Philip. Later, Philip does the same for Alan when one of the creatures manages to smash through the thick wall to try to get at Anne. But the aerial firebombing assault begins, finishing off the remaining one-eyed monsters.



Actor Warren Mitchell's role was originally meant to be played by Anton Diffring, but Diffring pulled out of the part 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