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Monday, May 14, 2018

Island Claws (1980)




How does one save the world from starving due to limited resources? Well you figure out how to make the crabs that live on our beaches larger so that they can feed more people. Though crabs are pretty mean and omnivorous so that might not be a great idea. Then again SCIENCE! What could possibly go wrong?

Actually, a lot could and does go terribly wrong in Island Claws. After some groovy music we meet up with a photojournalist that wants to do an article on the scientists that are working with the crabs in an effort to see how they can make them grow larger. While there she sees a report on the television that a local Nuclear Plant had an accident where a bunch of radioactive water was dumped into the nearby ocean. It just so happens that her father runs the plant and that one of the handsome science guys is the son of a couple who died when her dad was drunk driving. Small world isn’t it?

The rest of the movie has the cast dealing with a lot of small crabs with something much larger and deadlier off in the bushes. In the very end we are shown a giant crab that does battle with our heroes who know they have to stop it before you know something else happens and stuff… Really, they never explain it. There is one giant crab and it seems slow, so you could just drive away. I think that would be an option. Instead they fight it and eventually use rat poison to kill it. Bullets bounce off the shell, but they are able to sneak a dart in the joint. Hey this is a movie with a giant crab so sure that works for me.

I love the final creature in the movie. Cheesy but fun!
This is a creature feature so let’s talk about the design and execution of the special effects. First this is pretty much a bloodless flick. People die but all off screen. You might see a splash of blood on a face, but that is about it. For most of the movie the cast is menaced by regular sized crabs in large groups. Crab is good eating, but not terrible frightening. When we finally do get to see the giant crab, it is goofy looking. This is my favorite part of the movie. Watching the actors “fight” the creature is a blast since the thing is slow and awkward to move. It isn’t Lugosi trying to wrap rubber tentacles around himself bad, but it gets close. Still for a low budget monster flick I sort of liked that part.

I’m not sure what else I can say about Island Claws. This is a regional flick that was probably made for the drive-in crowd. It was co-written by Ricou Browning who played the Gill Man in the underwater scenes of the Creature from the Black Lagoon series and also worked on Flipper. That is kind of interesting, but other than a few familiar faces that worked on T.V. a lot in the seventies there isn’t much else about Island Claws that is memorable. Unless you are a giant monster movie nerd like me you can probably pass on Island Claws.



© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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