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The Crawling Eye (1958)

   About 10 minutes into this film, I thought I saw a crawling eye make its first appearance. But then I realized I was seeing one of my eyes on the floor. I was trying to gouge them out so I couldn't see the rest of this movie.

   Three British students climb the Trollenberg mountain in the Alps. They climb at an altitude of 1200 ft., yet their protective outerwear consists of shoes, slacks, a sweater and a hat. But that's the least of their worries. As the third climber reaches the summit, he is mysteriously decapitated! Apparently, he's the most recent in a string of bizarre climber murders.

   Down below, U.N. special investigator Alan Brooks (played by Forrest Tucker of F-Troop fame) arrives by train to Trollenberg to investigate the disappearance of local climbers. On the train, he meets Anne Pilgrim and her sister Sarah (together a mind-reading act) bound for Geneva. Anne's telepathic powers, however, compel them to stop at Trollenberg and they stay at the same lodge as Brooks (who offers them a drink from his ever-present flask). At the lodge, they meet two geologists, Duhurst and Brett, who are preparing to climb to a small hut on the mountain where they can study rock formations. They're told to be careful due to the whole "climbers getting their heads torn off" thing. But before departing, Brooks insists they all have a drink!

   Brooks rides the cable car to the world's most heavily fortified observatory, complete with a retractable steel shutter to cover the window "in case of an avalanche". (Because when you're trapped under 30 ft. of snow, it's good to have that window covered!) Brooks meets an old friend, a professor who studies cosmic rays. The professor shows Brooks the mysterious, stationary radioactive cloud that hovers beside the mountain (Actually, the reason the cloud never moves is because the scene is a painting). When the two geologists reach the hut, they telephone the observatory to inform them they've arrived safely. Brooks stops to have a drink. (Geez, is this Allen Brooks or Foster Brooks? ) The geologists bed down for the night.

   Back at the Lodge, Ann and Sarah attempt to lighten the mood with their mind reading act. Suddenly, Ann senses the geologists are in danger! Ann faints, maybe from the mental stress, or perhaps she remembered she's a woman in the 1950s. Brooks telephones the geologists only to discover that Brett, under a form of hypnosis, has wandered off into the night. In one funny scene, the remaining geologist, still inside the hut, calls out for his missing friend. But he screams his name as loud as he can! "BRETT!!!!!!" If the head-chopper hasn't gotten him, he'll probably be killed by the avalanche the screaming caused!

   In any case, the radioactive cloud has now moved directly over the hut. Duhurst reacts to something horrible outside and locks himself in the hut, bracing a large board behind the door. But he's not alone! Duhurst turns around, recoils in terror and is killed by an unseen enemy. Brooks and company decide to investigate. Upon reaching the hut, Brooks (with the power of 10 F-Troops) breaks through the cabin door, smashing the brace on the other side! They find the blankets frozen solid and Duhurst's headless body stuffed under his bed!

   Next we see an unknown climber make his way to a ridge where he finds the severed head of Duhurst in a knapsack. Suddenly, a crazed Brett leaps from the shadows and kills the guy with an ice pick! (So...a killer cloud is taking over people¹s minds, commanding them to...cut off mountain climber's heads???) The professor hypothesizes that alien creatures have come to conquer the Earth,  temporarily living in a radioactive cloud until they can adapt to our atmosphere. (I feel like an idiot! It's all so simple!)

A dazed Brett makes his way to the observatory and demands a drink. He has no recollection of the murders he's committed. Anne enters the room and Brett turns into a zombie again, lunging for Anne with a long knife he pulls from his pants (?) Brooks punches Brett, who flies backwards and knocks himself unconscious on a statue of a warthog -- the predictable movie fight scene.

   The professor believes that an alien force sent Brett to kill Anne, who's telepathic abilities are a threat to them. Later that evening, Brett, who they believe to be dead, is on the loose once again! He sneaks up on Anne who slumbers in a nearby room. Just as Brett moves in for the head lopping, Brooks sprays him with lead. Good thing Brooks was there! Meanwhile, the cloud has moved down the mountain and now hovers over the village. Brooks organizes the people at the Inn onto the cable car so they can ride to the safety of the observatory. Back at the hotel, a child has dropped her ball near the closed lodge doors. Just as she reaches for it, the eye lashes out!  It breaks down the door with its optic nerves and tries to grab the girl! Once again it's Super Brooks to the rescue! He grabs the girl with one hand and ice-picks the optic nerve with the other! They escape in the cable car. The radioactive cloud makes its way to the cable car and begins to freeze the tramway lines.

   The professor announces there are now FIVE radioactive clouds heading toward the observatory! To make matters worse, Hans, some guy who was wandering around outside in the radioactive cloud has decided to show up to (guess what?) kill Anne! (It's like Anne is being roasted by some kind of violent Friar's Club!) Luckily for her, there's not a man alive who can stand up to Forrest Tucker. After a short scuffle, Brooks stabs Hans in the thigh with a letter opener -- the usually movie fight scene. (For a U.N. investigator, Brooks fights like a Navy Seal!)

This is where the movie gets good!!! Giant eyeballs slink their way up the side of the mountain toward the observatory! Optic nerves probing in all directions like someone who just lost their umbrella-sized contact lens! Inside, the guys prepare Molotov Cocktails. Brooks is the first to lob one at the ocular atrocaties. (The monster's painful howl sounds electronic for some reason. I'm not sure what's going on there. But I guess they can't roar like a beast if they have no mouths.)

   Anyway, the cocktail has little effect, so B-movie actor #2 says, "I'll give it a try!" Now, if you're B-movie actor #2, don't EVER rush to face a monster! Unfortunately, this guy discovers too late that he's not Super Brooks and he's quickly ambushed by a retaliating retina laying on top of the building. Brooks goes out to save him, throwing a Molotov Cocktail which actually glances off of the guy's head before blowing up the monster. The burning eyeball monster releases him and Brooks gets yet another gold star. If Brooks had been on the Titanic, he could've saved every single person!

   Then he contacts the British Air Force and a fighter jet soon makes a bombing run over the observatory! The pilot, unable to see the Pizza Hut-sized eyeballs due to the cloud, asks, "You want me to bomb a cloud?" Brooks snaps back, "Just do as your told!" Which is interesting because I had no idea a U.N. special investigator had the authority to order a British bombing raid on neutral Switzerland! This guy's got more power than the president!

   Meanwhile, the "windows to the soul" are smashing their way through the concrete walls of the observatory to get to Anne. (So the eyes killed the guy in the cabin earlier without damaging a thing, but now they have to tear down walls?) Brooks arrives on the scene and does a good job of grabbing a thrashing optic nerve and wrapping it around his own neck to make it look like it's attacking him! This time its Brooks who needs saving. The journalist throws a Molotov Cocktail at the ornery orb, forcing it to release Brooks. High above, British bombs set the eyeball monsters on fire, leaving the building unharmed -- just like Super Brooks planned!

  When all is said and done, giant charbroiled eyeballs litter the ground. When the bombing raid ends, Brooks tells everyone they can go back down the mountain. (Sure, Brooks, no problem! We're totally convinced there aren't any more giant, murderous eyeballs out there to get us! I'll see myself out! No problem!) But all's well that ends well. Even Anne, crazy alien-controlled Anne, hooks up with B-movie actor #2 for a romantic getaway.

The battle is over and Brooks has given the alien invasion a giant black eye!

Comment on this movie or review


The coolest threat of all time: Eyeballs the size of garbage trucks threaten to invade the Earth and decapitate us all! The Crawling Eye is really slow at first but then prepare yourself for some of the cheesiest effects in all B-moviedom!

 


Professor: And then there's "the cloud."
Brooks: What cloud?
Professor: Come on, Alan, you know what I'm talking about! The cloud where there SHOULD be no cloud!


(Brooks explains how a Molotov Cocktail works to a newspaper reporter.)
Reporter: How do these "bombs" of yours work?
Brooks: You light the rag at the end of the bottle and then you throw it.
(You freakin' idiot!)