THE CLAW MONSTERS (1966)
Feature Version of the serial PANTHER GIRL OF THE KONGO
Article 1986 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-22-2006
Posting Date: 1-19-2007
Directed by Franklin Adreon
Featuring Myron Healey, Phyllis Coates, Arthur Space
A scientist uses his knowledge of chemistry to create giant crawfish monsters to terrorize the natives away from a diamond mine. However, a woman photographer known as the Panther Girl is intent on getting footage of the crawfish monsters so that she can start an official investigation into them.
I’ve not seen the serial on which this feature version is based, but I’ve heard about it, and what I’ve heard is not good; it was one of the last Republic serials, and it showed little of the energy of the studio at its best. Still, I can’t help but feel a little warmth towards a serial that actually features monsters, which is extremely rare. Even serials you’d think would feature monsters usually don’t; in THE PURPLE MONSTER STRIKES, do we get a monster? No, it’s a humanoid alien in the form of Roy Barcroft. In THE MONSTER AND THE APE, do we get a monster? No, it’s actually a robot! So I must admit its nice to have a serial that actually has a monster.
But, if this feature version is any indication, the monsters don’t appear all that often, and to fill out the running time, we get lots of stock footage from the Nyoka serials and an almost unending succession of fistfights and gunfights. Given what I’ve seen here, I’m guessing that the serial wears thin awfully quickly; I know this feature version does. Still, it feels better edited than some of the other serials I’ve seen, but by this time serial episodes were so short, that there wasn’t very much footage to trim away to begin with. Still, if you just have to watch a feature version of a serial with crawfish monsters, this one’s for you.