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   THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957) 

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CAST
Craig Stevens
William Hopper
Alix Talton
Donald Randolph
Pat Conway
Florenz Ames
Paul Smith
Phil Harvey

DIRECTED BY
Nathan Juran

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 79 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Horror/Science Fiction


SYNOPSIS: The calving of an Arctic iceberg releases a giant praying mantis, trapped in suspended animation since prehistoric times. It first attacks military outposts to eat their occupants, then makes its way to the warmer latitudes of Washington and New York.

BOTTOM LINE: Another in a long line of giant and deadly insect films that came out in the late 50s early 60s, that's only watchable late at night when you can't sleep. Horror movies have always been the bulk of B-movies and this one is a classic example of the genre. No name actors, thin plot, multiple deaths and an icky monster. It seems strange that all the films of this era cast giant bugs as the killer, but I guess since people are afraid of them when they're little they'd be even more frightened when they're big. In this case, instead of coming up with a unique reason for the insect's size and sudden appearance, the writers take the easy road by saying it was frozen in time and released by accident. No radiation here. The screenwriters were ahead of their time, giving us another reason to fear global warming.

Stevens plays a paleontologist who's services are requested by the government to figure out what's been attacking their arctic camps. He does a better than average job spewing scientific jargon, making it seem more interesting and accurate than it is. The fact that he's fairly good looking doesn't hurt. As his trusty sidekick, Alix Talton does a credible job as a gal Friday who's game for anything until she comes literally face to face with the giant mantis. While the effects aren't great, the mantis is still fairly creepy and when onscreen truly disgusting. The trouble with the film is the pacing and story fail to generate any real excitement or fear. There's just too much talk and not enough action with a fairly mediocre finish. A more complex story would have made this more horrifying than hilarious, which it can't help being.




"In all the kingdom of the living, there is no more deadly or voracious creature than the Preying Mantis."

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