Review: The Trollenberg Terror – The Crawling Eye (1958)


The Trollenberg Terror – The Crawling Eye (1958)

Directed by: Quentin Lawrence | 84 minutes | horror, science fiction | Actors: Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne, Janet Munro, Warren Mitchell, Frederick Schiller, Andrew Faulds, Stuart Saunders, Colin Douglas, Derek Sydney, Richard Golding, George Herbert, Anne Sharp, Leslie Heritage, Jeremy Longhurst, Anthony Parker, Theodore Wilhelm, Garard Green, Caroline Glaser, Jack Taylor

Sisters Anne (Janet Munro) and Sarah Pilgrim (Jennifer Jayne) are on their way to Geneva. On the train they meet Alan Brooks (Forrest Tucker) who tells them that he will get off at the next station. For inexplicable reasons, Anne suddenly wants to go to the Troll Mountain and before Sarah realizes it, Alan Brooks is busy arranging accommodation for the sisters for the night. At the inn they hear about the many mysterious disappearances on the Troll Mountain. Alan Brooks is more than interested in this. At the same time, Philip Truscott (Laurence Payne), another guest at the inn, is in turn interested in Alan and makes inquiries about him over the phone. Alan happens to pass by at that moment, but does not show that he has heard anything. Alan turns out to be invited by Professor Crevett (Warren Mitchell) who studies the radioactive cloud in his observatory and has his own ideas about the connection between the cloud and the many mysterious disappearances and beheadings. Alan and he have experienced something similar before in the Andes Mountains. There, a clairvoyant woman in particular turned out to be the subject of a relentless pursuit of a radioactive cloud. This time, the telepathically gifted Anne poses a danger to the aliens through her talent and that bodes ill.

It is the time of the Cold War and the communist hunt and the film therefore belongs in the list of ‘Them!’ (1954) and ‘Invaders from Mars’ (1953), films that tap into the unease and powerlessness of ordinary citizens in the face of a mysterious enemy that seems to be omnipresent. For the viewer, it remains for a long time to guess how the mutual relationships are exactly and who can be trusted and who cannot. And cunning as the creatures are, they take advantage of trustworthy people by crafting them to do exactly what they want, allowing them to do even more harm than could have been done through direct violence. It is not difficult to guess who or what this refers to. The final appearance of the creatures is downright clumsy, but until then, the technology in the observatory is very captivating and the attacks, despite their predictable course, are exciting. Forrest Tucker and Warren Mitchell, in particular, contribute to the feeling that there is always hope for a happy ending, no matter how pernicious and deadly the enemy, with their fearless, but not flat heroism. Something that viewers in those bleak times undoubtedly needed more than a disturbingly open ending.

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