Attack of the Crab Monsters  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Attack of the Crab Monsters is a 1957 independently made American black-and-white science fiction-horror film, produced and directed by Roger Corman (via his Los Altos Productions), that stars Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, and Russell Johnson. The film was distributed by Allied Artists as a double feature with another Corman feature, Not of This Earth.

Attack of the Crab Monsters concerns a second scientific expedition that is sent to a remote Pacific island to discover what happened to the scientists of the first. Unknown to them when they arrive, the island is inhabited by a pair of radiation-mutated giant crabs that not only consumed the members of the first expedition, but absorbed their minds, and now plan to reproduce their kind in numbers.


A group of scientists and their support crew of five sailors land on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. They are searching for a previous expedition that disappeared without a trace, and to continue their research on the effects of radiation from the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests on the island's plant and sea life. The scientists on the expedition are led by Dr. Karl Weigand (Leslie Bradley), and also include geologist James Carson (Richard H. Cutting) and biologists Jules Deveroux (Mel Welles), Martha Hunter (Duncan) and Dale Drewer (Garland). Their party also includes technician and handyman Hank Chapman (Johnson).

Soon after their arrival, a sailor, Tate (Charles B. Griffith), falls in the water and is killed, his decapitated body floating to the surface. Two sailors (Beach Dickerson and Tony Miller) are left behind to guard the explorers, while the others, led by Ensign Quinlan (Ed Nelson), attempt to return to the mainland, but their seaplane explodes.

The scientists are unable to report what happened due to a storm; they decide to stay on the island and continue their research. They read journal entries written by the previous scientific team, which mention killer worm creatures. Martha and Dale go scuba diving. That night, Martha hears "McLane", leader of the previous expedition, calling out to her. Carson descends into a pit, which opens outside during an inexplicable earthquake, but falls in.

The current expedition learns to their horror that the earlier group had been killed and eaten by two mutated, intelligent giant crabs, who have absorbed the minds of their victims and can speak telepathically in their voices. Members of the current expedition are being systematically attacked and killed by the monsters, which are now invulnerable to most standard weaponry because of the mutations to their cell structures.

The remaining scientists finally discover that both giant crabs are the cause of the ongoing earthquakes and landslides on the island; they are slowly destroying the island, reducing its size, by undermining it with tunnels. The scientists turn their attention to a way to stop the mating pair of monsters from reproducing. They are able to kill one of the crabs in a cave when their explosive detonates, shaking loose an overhead rock that falls and crushes the head of the monster.

As the island continues to fall away into the Pacific, and after barely escaping from their collapsing laboratory building, the surviving trio of Dale, Martha and Hank finally meet the remaining intelligent giant crab, Hoolar, who speaks to them via telepathy. Hoolar vows to go to the mainland with her fertilized eggs when the island is gone (and the three humans are dead) to feed upon even more people, absorbing those minds in the process. Hank then sacrifices himself by bringing down an electrically-charged broadcast tower directly on top of the giant crab, electrocuting the monster and her unhatched brood. Dale and Martha embrace on the small portion of what remains of the large island.


  • Richard Garland as Dale Drewer
  • Pamela Duncan as Martha Hunter
  • Russell Johnson as Hank Chapman
  • Leslie Bradley as Dr. Karl Weigand
  • Mel Welles as Jules Deveroux
  • Richard H. Cutting as Dr. James Carson
  • Beach Dickerson as Seaman Ron Fellows
  • Tony Miller as Seaman Jack Sommers
  • David Arvedon (voice) as Hoolar the Giant Crab
  • Charles B. Griffith as Seaman Tate (uncredited)
  • Maitland Stuart as Seaman Mac (uncredited)
  • Robin Riley (stunt diver)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Attack of the Crab Monsters" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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