The Giant Claw (1957)

Article #192 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-24-2001
Posting date: 2-7-2002

A giant prehistoric bird from outer space attacks the earth.

Imagine you’re watching a new James Bond movie, and you’re waiting in anticipation to find out who the supervillain will be, and when he appears, you discover he’s being played by Pauly Shore. That’s what this movie is like if you haven’t been forewarned; it plays out like a Ray Harryhausen movie (director Fred F. Sears and producer Sam Katzman were both involved in EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS), and it works well enough as such until you reach the point where you’d be expecting to finally see some Harryhausen effects, and you get the bird seen in this one. Of all the monsters I’ve ever seen, this snarling, nostril-flaring, ragged, hair-tufted excuse for a buzzard is the most knee-slappingly funny monster ever devised; too bad the movie wasn’t intended as a comedy. Apparently, Sam Katzman saved a bundle of money by having the special effects done by a company in Mexico; none of the cast members saw what the monster would look like until the movie was released. Jeff Morrow saw it for the first time in his home town and with all his friends at the local movie theatre, and was appalled at what he saw; he’d been told it would look like a streamlined eagle. The movie also features Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, and lots of footage from EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS.

My favorite moment: a look at a series of pictures taken of the monster by a weather balloon that climaxes with a close-up shot of the monster grimacing into the camera.

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