The Killer Shrews

The Killer Shrews (1959) movie poster

(1959) dir. Ray Kellogg
viewed: 12/21/06

I watched this flick as it was paired with I Bury the Living (1958), which was the reason that I rented this DVD.

The Killer Shrews, despite its obviously bizarre choice in monstrosities, is actually a quite decent low-budget horror film of the over-sized mutant animal genre that had its heyday in the 1950’s.  I have a definite penchant for the films of this period and while this one has many elements of high camp, it’s an interestingly filmed, decently scripted, and well-cast flick.

Of course, the shrews themselves are pretty hilarious at times.  A mixture of modeled snouts and heads of huge, snarl-toothed shrews that look more like boars mixed with I don’t know what and the action sequences of the shrews in which coon dogs, dressed in raggy long fur and rat-like tails run around hastily attacking the victims.  Most of the special effects are laughable, but there are some of the shots that are more effective than not.  It’s bizarre.

The science gone wild is genetics, and while its typically out-dated and far-fetched, it deals with issues that have relevance today.  Developing mutant genes, how to control certain aspects of growth or characteristics, the madness of overpopulation.

But the film is adventure and action, not dwelling overly on the deeper questions that trigger the science-gone-mad.  The location shooting is cool, too.  It’s supposed to be an island, but it does have a good sense of space.

Why shrews?  Why not?

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