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Image Entertainment presents
The Crawling Eye (The Trollenberg Terror) (1958)

"If only we could see into the cloud, at least we'd know what we're dealing with."
- Philip Truscott (Laurence Payne)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: December 06, 2001

Stars: Forrest Tucker, Janet Munro
Other Stars: Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne, Warren Mitchell, Andrew Faulds
Director: Quentin Lawrence

Manufacturer: Ritek Global Media
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, mild gore)
Run Time: 01h:23m:51s
Release Date: December 04, 2001
UPC: 014381870121
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B+B+B D+

DVD Review

One of the cardinal rules of scary movies is that the imagination is usually much more powerful than what can actually be put on the screen. Accordingly, the less seen of a monster, particularly an outlandish one, the better. The obnoxiously-titled The Crawling Eye is a splendid case in point.

Investigator Alan Brooks (Forrest Tucker) is on his way to Trollenberg, a mountain village, at the summons of Dr. Crevett (Warren Mitchell). Mountain climbers on the Trollenberg have been vanishing recently, and one of them has had his head ripped off. A strange (and of course radioactive) mist is perpetually on the side of the mountain, and periodically it moves about. A pair of sisters with a mindreading act, Anne and Sarah Pilgrim (Janet Munro and Jennifer Jayne), find themselves drawn to the site as well by Anne's psychic powers. The mystery deepens as a guide wanders off into the mist and his geologist companion is found, sans head. Before long, we not only have psychic energy, but creatures from outer space and homicidal zombies to boot.

Based on a British television serial by the name The Trollenberg Terror, the story moves along at a pretty engaging clip, though it does have a tendency to get talky at times. The suspense created by the mysterious mist, which is itself generated by a simple application of dry ice, is surprisingly effective. Unfortunately the effect is quite completely spoiled by the shots of the monsters themselves in the climactic sequence. They're poorly done and unimaginative. The clarity of DVD makes the wires moving the creatures' tentacles quite clearly visible at times, further wrecking the atmosphere that was generated in the first hour or so. The model work in the final sequence is quite unconvincing, and at times downright terrible.

Forrest Tucker briefly made a career of sorts out of starring in British pictures such as this and Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. While to the "modern" viewer it's hard to dissociate his F Troop persona, he still makes a reasonably effective lead. Janet Munro as the young psychic probably turns in the best performance, though occasionally she overdoes the dazed trance a bit. The other performances by Britishers assuming German accents are passable for the most part.

In all, it's a pretty good first hour and a cringe-inducing last 20 minutes. It does, however, manage to be better than the US title would imply, at least until near the end. This is a British print, under the original title, complete with the BBFC 'X' certificate.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks quite good for the most part. While a few segments are on the soft side, much of the film is quite crisp, particularly in the close-ups. This leads me to conclude that the softness is probably in the original print. There is a fair amount of grain visible, but picture quality is good, with reasonably decent black levels. The source print tends to be a bit on the speckly side, especially at the reel change. It looks glorious in comparison to the trailer provided on the disc.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 1.0 English mono sounds quite good for a film of this age, with only a very minor hiss. Dialogue is quite clear throughout, and music has a decent range and does not suffer from distortion.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Production Notes
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Stills
Extras Review: There is a dupey, blurry and overly-contrasted trailer of the US version of the film, presented in 1.33:1. The disappointing stills gallery consists of exactly three stills, portraying parts of the monster. Chaptering is adequate for a film of this duration. The best extra is an insightful and appreciative essay on the insert by David Del Valle.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

A partially effective 1950s' sci-fi/horror opus, with a few gruesome moments, given a decent transfer. Not much for extras, but worth a rental for fans of the genre.

 


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