Monday, October 8, 2012

it's a bird... it's a plane... it's the deadly mantis


On Saturday night, Svengoolie hosted The Deadly Mantis on MeTV.  Post-Them! and TarantulaThe Deadly Mantis is a fairly dynamic 1950's giant insect movie with a memorable (and a silvery, sort of beautiful) monster: a giant praying mantis from the prehistoric era that's risen out of the icy Arctic after a volcano blast.  As it makes its way to the warm U.S., snatching some Eskimos along the way, we have paleontologist Ned Jackson (straight-faced William Hopper, of "Perry Mason" fame), military colonel Joe Parkman (Craig Stevens), magazine reporter Marge Blaine (Alix Talton, who delivers a pretty good 'scream queen' scream) pondering about what the destructive critter could be until it smashes through the window of a military base.  Directed by Nathan Juran and injected with a lot of stock footage, The Deadly Mantis is too talky in sections and the lesser of the giant bug movies of the '50s but still a fun little Universal picture, especially when the insect is wreaking havoc in Washington D.C. and climbing the Washington Monument.  If it were to be remade, it could make a good global warming parable. **

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