Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Monster that Challenged the World, Mollusk Carnage

A snail? Yep...don't laugh. Take a half dozen of these mollusk things, add a bit of radiation, and...well...kiss the planet goodbye. Yes...when escargot goes completely mad we are left with 1957's "The Monster that Challenged the World." So remember, next time you dine at a ritzy French restaurant, as you sip on some Chablis and nibble on your little shelled friends, that if the radiation levels in the kitchen elevate just a little, the mollusk entree could be nibbling on you.
The monster reveals
An earthquake in California's Salton Sea opens up an underwater cave filled with monster, giant snails. Three sailors aboard a navy launch are the first to have their juices sucked out by the fiends. No nonsense navy commander Lt. John Twillinger (Tim Holt), call him Twill, is on the case. He is mystified and enlists the help of navy doctor Jess Rogers (Hans Conreid). With a heart of stone, Twill meets the pretty secretary of Rogers, Gail (Audrey Dalton), and now has two missions....find out what killed the sailors and woo this exotic widow. Uh oh, the sultry Jody (Barbara Darrow) and her BF decide on a midnight swim in the Salton Sea. Jody strips off her dress revealing a white swimsuit that would make Julia Adams ("Creature from the Black Lagoon") proud.  Yep, both this white clad bathing beauty and her beau will have their juices sucked out.
Jody, snail bait
As Gail tells Twill all about the hardships of widowhood, he intensifies his goo-goo eyes. A break! Divers recover a monster egg sack and bring it back to Rogers' lab. Also, while recovering the formerly stunning Jody, the monsters attack revealing themselves to Twill and Rogers, while sucking dry another diver. Now Rogers and Twill know what they are fighting. No matter, Twill takes a break from saving the world and takes Gail on a romantic dinner in Mexico.  After a cold shower, Twill enacts a plan.  See, the Salton Sea has hundreds of canals. If the sea beasts get into the canals and reach civilized areas...well...as Dr. Rogers says...the planet could be wiped out. As the deaths pile up, the monsters find a way onto land and a path to the vulnerable Gail.
Gail in much peril
Will our creatures make it to population centers?  Will Twill's plan succeed to kill the monsters and also hook the nubile but sultry widow? Is that last question a metaphor of the plight of most of the world's male population?  Just what is it about babes in white swimsuits that captured the imagination of monsters and horror film makers?  "The Monster that Challenged the World" is a good one and the acting is first-rate. Though made in 1957, the horror of the giant snails is ripped right out of today's headlines.


  1. WHEE!!! Brings me WAY BACK!!! Solid bro!!! :Devil: :ThumbsUp:

  2. As much as I regret admitting it, I've seen this one, and but for the beauties, this one would've been inedible... nuked escargot and all.

  3. I have heard of this opus but haven't had the pleasure. It sounds crazy & laugh out loud hysterical in its implausibility. The Salton Sea is pretty toxic & I think there are signs saying no swimming. Then again, if it is in the movies it must be ok to swum there! Good review, Christopher!

  4. just to see that babe in a 1950s g string is enough to watch the film, imagine if french caught one of them, could feed paris for a year