The Crawling Eye (1958) – Friday Night At The Home Drive-In

Poster for The Crawling Eye (1958)

The Crawling Eye (1958) by #QuentinLawrence
w/
#JenniferJayne #JanetMunro #ForrestTucker

A series of decapitations on a Swiss mountainside appear to be connected to a mysterious radioactive cloud.

“The nightmare terror of the slithering eye that unleashed agonizing horror on a screaming world!” “It’s looking for you!”

“WARNING: If you’ve ever been hypnotized, do not come alone!”

#Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

The Crawling Eye (1958) opens on a mountain range. Two guys are on a ledge near the top of a mountain, talking to a third guy who’s up above them – but off screen. They ask him why he’s taking so long. He tells them that somebody’s coming. Next thing we know he’s screaming, and then his body falls past the two men on the ledge. It’s hooked up to a climbing rope, so they catch him and try to pull him back up. But one of the men suddenly screams and lets go of the rope.

“You idiot!” the other man says. “We nearly had him. Why did you let him go?”

“Didn’t you see?” his buddy asks.

“What are you talking about?”

“His head! It was torn off!”

Nearby, a train is racing along the tracks, and as it enters a dark tunnel, the title of the movie appears on the screen…

The Trollenberg Terror? What the -?

We’re watching The Crawling Eye (1958), aren’t we…? The names of the actors seem to be right…. A quick check on the internet confirms that The Trollenberg Terror was the original name for this movie.

And as the train emerges from the dark tunnel, we slip inside to find two young female passengers sitting next to each other. They look alike, and in fact are sisters named Ann and Sarah Pilgrim. In a bizarre turn of events, Ann looks out of the window at the mountains, which causes her to pass out and fall into the lap of the older man sitting across from them. We learn that his name is Alan Brooks.

Ann insists on getting off the train at the next stop – which is Alan’s destination. She even knows the name of the hotel she wants to stay at, even though she’s never been there before. She doesn’t know how she knows.

She somehow knows a lot of facts about this area. For instance, that mountain climbers have been disappearing. The locals, which include their new friend Alan, seem to know more than they are willing to admit about the mysterious trouble.

Later…

When they arrive at the hotel, they meet a young man who is excited to see them. He seems to know them, and thinks that he’s met them or heard of them before. Suddenly, he remembers where he knows them from: they are a theatrical mind reading act.

This could explain the funny premonitions, or flashes of information, that Ann seems to have. She could be pulling that information out of Alan’s mind.

Meanwhile, Alan seems to have his own mission in this town. He visits a professor who is studying cosmic rays in a secure fortress-like laboratory. The professor tells Alan that there is a strange radioactive cloud on top of the mountain…

Intriguing beginning, but is The Crawling Eye any good?

The Crawling Eye (1958) is a super fun little B-movie. Apparently, John Carpenter has said that it was the inspiration for his movie The Fog (1980). I can certainly see that, and it’s evidence of how good this little movie is. It’s a fairly original story, well told, featuring good characters who are mostly sympathetic. It has actual suspense, but just enough silliness to make it a perfect movie to relax with late at night.

Who made The Crawling Eye?

The Crawling Eye was written by Jimmy Sangster, who is a good writer. He wrote a number of movies for Hammer Films and other companies. In fact, he wrote one of my favourite Hammer films, Scream of Fear (1961) which I’ve written about in this blog. When I saw his name in the credits, I had a pretty good idea that The Crawling Eye was going to be a good one, and I was not disappointed.

I suppose I should also mention that the movie was directed by Quentin Lawrence. I’m not as familiar with his work, but it looks like he directed a lot of television. He also died too young, at age 58.

What else do we need to know?

The Crawling Eye DOES feature a giant monster – which I am always pleased to see – and like all good vintage monster movies, it does not reveal the monster to us until very late in the movie. All I will say about the monster is that it’s quite unique, and must be seen to be believed.

The Verdict?

The Crawling Eye (1958) is top notch #NotQuiteClassicCinema that I wish I had seen years ago. I would recommend it to any horror fans who appreciate a little bit of silliness with their suspense. Needless to say, all John Carpenter fans should immediately add it to the schedule of their next #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

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