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The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)

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"We must remember that these creatures can travel over land, too."
Doctor Jess Rogers
The Monster That Challenged the World
The Monster That Challenged the World
Credits
Title: The Monster That Challenged the World
Directed by: Arnold Laven
Written by: Pat Fielder; David Duncan
Produced by: Arthur Gardner; Jules V. Levy
Music by: Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography: Lester White
Edited by: John D. Faure
Production
Distributed by: Gramercy Pictures; United Artists
Released: June, 1957
Rating: G
Running time: 83 min.
Country: USA
Language: English
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The Monster That Challenged the World is a low-budge sci-fi/horror film directed by Arnold Laven and produced by United Artists and Gramercy Pictures. The script was written by Pat Fielder based on a story by David Duncan. The plot of the film revolves around a race of mutated mollusk creatures that rise from the depths of the Salton Sea and attack innocents on the water and beaches near a United States naval base.

Synopsis Edit

An earthquake erupts in the Salton Sea in California, releasing a hibernating race of rare mollusk creatures. Tests conducted by the nearby Naval base produces radioactivity that mutates these creatures into giant sea monsters. One of these creatures attacks a naval vessel, killing two sailors. Another ship goes out onto the sea to investigate their disappearance and the men dive into the water. They find a giant egg, which they bring up aboard the boat. The creature attacks, killing one of the two divers. The other barely escapes with his life. The creature attacks the boat, but the sailors manage to drive it away by poking its eye out with a pole arm.

The egg is brought back to the Office of Naval Intelligence. Doctor Jess Rogers exames the specimen and reports his findings to the base's commander, Lieutenant Commander John "Twil" Twillinger. Rogers discovers that the creature is actually a mutant form of mollusk and shows the Navy officers a film describing the life cycle of an atypical mollusk. To keep the egg from hatching, he keeps it submerged in a pool of water maintained at a steady 38 degrees.

The naval officers know that the caverns beneath the sea are littered with dozens of mollusk eggs and they set up depth charges all throughout the area to destroy them. Some eggs, located deep within an aquifer, manage to hatch however and the monsters manage to escape via a canal channel that leads into Imperial Valley. The creatures claim several victims along the beaches including a young, female bather and an elderly watch guard. Commander Twillinger orders all of the beaches shut down and his men patrol the canal basins, hunting down and exterminating the creatures as they find them.

At the ONI office, secretary Gail MacKenzie brings her young daughter Sandy to work with her. Sandy enjoys going into the laboratory to play with Doctor Rogers' rabbits. During all of this activity, Gail warns Sandy that it is an inappropriate time to be playing in the lab. Sandy disobeys her however and sneak into the laboratory to see the rabbits. Sandy believes that the rabbits are cold so she increases the thermometer in the room. The increased temperature causes the egg specimen to hatch and a giant mollusk creature emerges from the tank. The monster begins tearing the laboratory apart and Sandy cries out. Gail rushes in and scoops her daughter up. They duck past the creature and find safety in a supply closet. The monster begins chewing through the door and they are now trapped. Commander Twillinger bursts into the room and tries to fight the creature. Throwing vials of chemicals at it produces no effect, so he tries to keep the animal at bay with a fire extinguisher. When this too fails, he then snaps off a gas line and showers the monster with gas. The creature screams in agony, but keeps coming after him. After a few more minutes, several seamen rush into the laboratory and shoot the monster down with their rifles. Twillinger walks Gail and Sandy out of the facility.

Cast Edit

ActorRole
Tim Holt Lt. Commander John "Twill" Twillinger
Audrey Dalton Gail MacKenzie
Hans Conried Doctor Jess Rogers
Harlan Warde Lt. Robert "Clem" Clemens
Casey Adams Doctor Tad Johns
Mimi Gibson Sandy MacKenzie
Gordon Jones Sheriff Josh Peters
Marjorie Stapp Connie Blake
Dennis McCarthy George Blake
Barbara Darrow Jody Simms
Bob Beneveds Morty Beatty
Michael Dugan Clarke
Mack Williams Captain Masters
Eileen Harley Sally
Jody McCrea Fred Johnson
William Swan Howard Sanders
Charles Tannen Seaman Wyatt
Byron Kane Coroner Nate Brown
Hal Taggart Davis
Gil Frye Deputy Scotty
Dan Gachman Deputy Brewer
Milton Parsons Lewis Clark Dobbs
Ralph Moody Watchman at Lock 57
John Carlyle Monster victim
John Close Deputy Larry
William Forrest Admiral Greenhouse
Joseph Hamilton The Other Lock Watchman
Charles Herbert Boy with Marty's cap
Ralph Littlefield Gatekeeper
David McMahon Patterson
Sarah Selby Mrs. Simms

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The majority of the underwater scenes were shot at Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. The close-ups were later filmed in a tank filled with water and plastic sea-weed.
  • Doctor Rogers states that the mollusk monsters are born at full-sized and that they are perpetually hungry.
  • The monster secretes a sticky resin, which is found on the remains of several bodies. This resin dehydrates the flesh, making it easier for the creature to consume its victims.

External Links Edit

References Edit

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