The Crawling Eye (1958)

Also known as
The Trottenberg Terror

The Crawling Eye (1958)
Also known as
The Trottenberg Terror

Forrest Tucker as Alan Brooks
Laurence Payne as Philip Truscott
Jennifer Jayne as Sarah Pilgrim
Janet Munro as Anne Pilgrim
Warren Mitchell as Prof. Crevett

Directed by
Quentin Lawrence

Running Time: 85mins

Review and Summary

When you’re 10years old and its 11pm on a Saturday Night, ok maybe it was 4pm and it was a dark rainy Saturday afternoon, The Crawling Eye is a pretty awesomely scary movie. Made in 1958, The Crawling Eye (also known as The Trottenberg Terror), is pure 50’s Sci-Fi gold. It’s the classic creeping terror genre that makes it ageless.

Starring Forrest Tucker (as Alan Brooks), Jennifer Jayne (as Sarah Pilgrim), Janet Munro (as Anne Pilgrim), Laurence Payne (as Philip Truscott), and Warren Mitchell (as Prof Crevett), its 85mins of entertainment. Forrest Tucker, best known as Sgt O’rourke from F-Troop is the strong leading man on this outing. Laurence Payne and Warren Mitchell provide supporting cast material that helps to flesh out the story. The beautiful Jennifer Jayne and Janet Munro add to the ensemble as the female leads..

Starting off with being set in Europe, you immediately get this sense of the old horror film classics from that alone. Not sure if it’s the black and white film, or that it’s just gloomy, but it just oozes something ain’t right. The surprising parts of this film are the little bits and pieces of true goriness…. Starting with the beginning of the film with the climber’s, be especially attentive as they haul their fallen comrade up the mountain side. It’s only a few seconds, but its really well done. They just go to pieces and lose their heads, literally. This is sprinkled thru out the film, getting bolder as you get about halfway into it.

Then there is the whole psychic portion of the film, where Janet Munro’s character becomes unknowingly connected to the goings on. This has a flavor reminiscent of “Village of The Damned” (, the 1960 original. It’s well done and makes the film that much more special. There is a good effort to create tension and build it up all around.

Adding into the whole thing is the idea of the “hidden agenda” that comes about between Forrest Tuckers character and Warren Mitchell the films scientific lead (always have to have one, it’s a rule somewhere). We learn that quiet possibly all the goings on may have happened before somewhere else. Laurence Payne shows up to be the ever present journalist who happens to know more about the situation that they should. This whole thing has a ringing tone of early X-Files.

The films tool of tension, the fog. Familiar huh. Seems that the menace has 2 trademarks, the fog, and it’s a RadioActive Fog. Throughout the film the terror can be tracked by the location of the Fog. Here is some trivia. This movie was noted by Director John Carpenter to be one of his inspirations for his 1980 film… The Fog. Cool huh!!!

About an hour into the film the alien menace makes its presence known. As Forrest Tucker comes to the rescue of the endangered child, we finally get our first glimpse of our star bad guy, or girl. To say it’s a Bug Eyed Monster doesn’t do it justice. It’s just a big eye with a bunch of tendrils. But it’s the 1950’s, and CGI is not here. So they make due. Its not the greatest monster design, but it does get high marks for ooziness. Personally, I don’t care for eyeball stuff, but it works.

The other monster element of the movie comes in the form of the alien’s zombies. Seems they can kill off someone and then use them as a dead meat popsicle to do their bidding. The first one gets thru and adds up some body count numbers before he is taken down. The zombie’s examination also has a bit of a surprise as he melts when he gets too close to a standard lamp. Keep that in mind.

So now the final act is set. Monsters have been seen; tension has been ramped up, all is ready for a show down. With the fog advancing on the village, they do the only thing they can, they jump onto the cable cars and head to the observatory on the mountain that just happens to have been built to be a solid fortress.
Running the gamut from Molotov Cocktails to incendiary bombs (remember Fog and Cold), our heroes survive to see the mega eyeballs fry on the mountain, the fog dissipate, and a new day dawn.

I love this film overall. I think the acting is superb up to when we see the aliens (at about the 66min mark). The last 20mins really gets cheesy now that the actors have to interact with the Aliens. It’s clumsy and a bit awkward. But I don’t think that you really can make it any better in relation to the special effects and what they had to work with. Remember its 1958 and all they have is blue/green screen and other non-CGI effects.

If you liked any of these movies/TV shows you will like this movie.
     The Fog (1980)
     The Thing (1982)
     LifeForce (1985)
     The Twilight Zone (TV 1959, 1985, 2002)
     The Outer Limits (TV 1963, 1985, 1995)


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Listen to my review online here or download it!

Willys Vaults Ratings
"Bug Eyed Monster"
7 out of 10

     I give them a 7 for the monster design. One big eye with 6 or 8 tentacles
     that loves cold radioactive fog.

I See The Wires"
5 out of 10

     Ever wonder how they make tentacles move… its called Wires… watch for them.
     You see them show up against the blue screen early on.

"Man In Rubber Suit"
5 out of 10

     I give them a 5 in this department. Even though it was model work at the end,
     you could really see it was puppetry.

"Oozing Mess"
10 out of 10

     I give them a 10. The big oozing mass that is the monster was great. While I
     think this would have looked great in color, I totally love it in Black and White.

"Cheesy Acting"
5 out of 10

     I give it a 5 on the Cheesy scale. Typically this is a big factor in these movies.
     But in this case they only went to cheese after they had to interact with
     the monsters.

Total Summary
32 out of 50

     Overall The Crawling Eye gets a 32. It’s a great flick and its very
     entertaining. I highly recommend it.

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