The Crawling Eye [DVD] [1958]

After enduring decades of cut-up television showings of The Crawling Eye and a laserdisc version in the 1980s on which the source print was out of focus on one side and the sound was lousy, this DVD makes up for all of it. Transferred off of original British source elements (and, thus, using the original U.K. title The Trollenberg Terror) and masked to the proper theatrical aspect ratio, the movie looks as sharp as this reviewer has ever seen it, and the contrasts are very rich. All of this may seem superfluous in what seems to most onlookers like a shocker of a film -- the subtleties don't seem important, until you realize that this movie is as much a mystery as it is a horror film, and is very much a character-driven piece. The movie is usually thought of as a poor relation to The Creeping Unknown, which had appeared two years earlier out of England, but The Crawling Eye actually has a good deal more character development, and several layers of clues that spread out across the length of the story. It's a pleasure to watch on several levels, for the acting, the direction, and the rather cleverly told story of an attempted invasion of Earth. After watching this disc, one actually longs to see the original six-part ITV television broadcast on which this movie was based -- one gets a sense that the movie packs a huge amount of information into 85 minutes, but the film adaptation will have to do. Image Entertainment has done a great job of transferring the movie to DVD and packaging it, with 16 chapters and a simple (but clever and creepy) menu that opens automatically on start-up. The annotation is nicely thorough, although not as deep as it might have gotten on the subject of England's mid-'50s science fiction revival, but it has some interesting observations about the movie's American star Forrest Tucker.
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Overall Customer Rating:
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Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer


The Crawling Eye
The Trollenberg Terror, authored by Peter Key and directed by Quentin Lawrence, started life on British television as a six-part installment of ITV's Saturday Serial in late 1956 and early 1957. The big-screen version, was adapted by Jimmy Sangster, who compressed most of the best horrific and mystery elements of the original into an under-90-minute vehicle, which Lawrence directed. At a remote Alpine village, mountaineers suddenly start dying, their bodies horribly multilated -- at first, these incidents seem like they could just be accidents. But the arrival of a pair of sisters (Janet Munro, Jennifer Jayne), one of whom feels an almost telepathic connection with someone or something on the mountain, attracts the interest of American Alan Brooks (Forrest Tucker), a trouble-shooter for the United Nations. He and Prof. Crevett (Warren Mitchell), who has been monitoring the radiation levels in the area from a research station set up by the government, determine that there is a pattern to these deaths that Brooks has seen before, in a prior incident in the Andes Mountains. They determine that the Earth has been invaded, at high altitude, by a race of gigantic, tentacled aliens who live in thin atmosphere and at extremely low temperatures. Camouflaging themselves in a dense radioactive cloud, they've been content up until now to hide their existence while experimenting with the inhabitants of their new world -- they've taken over some human subjects telepathically, and also re-animated dead bodies. And they've killed those -- such as the hapless mountaineers who have stumbled upon their new lair, or those few humans whose stronger-than-usual mental powers have allow them to sense the aliens' presence -- who threaten to discover them. But now Crevett sees that the aliens are adapting and moving down the mountain, the cloud bringing their necessary cold temperatures with them, and threatening to engulf the village as prelude to an attack on it and all that lies beyond. The Trollenberg Terror was retitled The Crawling Eye when it was released in the United States, in an obvious attempt to draw the same audience that had made the previous year's British film adaptation of a tv serial -- The Quatermass Xperiment, renamed The Creeping Unknown -- into a huge hit in the US. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Forrest Tucker
    Forrest Tucker - Alan Brooks
  • Image coming soon
    Laurence Payne - Philip Truscott
  • Janet Munro
    Janet Munro - Anne Pilgrim
  • Image coming soon
    Jennifer Jayne - Sarah Pilgrim
  • Warren Mitchell
    Warren Mitchell - Prof. Crevett

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