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Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Killer Shrews (1959)

A skipper (James Best) arrives on his boat at an isolated island with supplies for a team of research scientists. Once there, he discovers that an experiment gone awry has produced a mutant breed of large shrews that are terrorizing the island's inhabitants. Perfectly dreadful piece of cheesy sci-fi horror. The killer shrews are, to quote a pal, "poor doggies in mangy costumes" though for close ups, dog puppet heads are used. They are so painfully obvious that unintentional laughter results though if those fake fangs were actually put on the dog's snouts, it borders on animal cruelty. The acting is horrendous. Gordon McLendon (whose acting consists of taking his glasses on and off) as a research scientist reads his lines as if he were a fifth grader reciting in front of his class. And how a Polish Jew (Baruch Lumet, Sidney's father) by way of New York produced a daughter (Ingrid Goude) with a thick Swedish accent is never explained. I suppose it might be amusing if you view it as "camp". The blame for the direction goes to Ray Kellogg, who co-directed THE GREEN BERETS with John Wayne. Also in the cast: Ken Curtis (who produced as well), Alfredo DeSoto and Judge Henry Dupree.

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