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The Giant Claw

USA 1957
produced by
Sam Katzman for Clover Productions, Columbia
directed by Fred F. Sears
starring Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday, Morris Ankrum, Louis Merrill, Edgar Barrier, Robert Shayne, Frank Griffin, Clark Howat, Morgan Jones, Fred F. Sears
written by Paul Gangelin, Samuel Newman, music by Mischa Bakaleinikoff

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Mitch MacAfee (Jeff Morrow), a civilian pilot and engineer, is doing a test flight for the Air Force - when he's suddenly passed by something as big as a battleship at an incredible speed. Thing is, radar stations haven't picked up anything, and a search expedition comes up empty handed, and with the loss of one plane. Later, a passenger plane is found crashed after reporting a UFO. Now at first everybody thought MacAfee was only joking, but now they believe him and fly him and mathematician Sally (Mara Corday), who'll eventually wind up to be his sweetheart, to New York - but their plane is downed by something. Eventually, that something is actually seen by someone who survives it, too, and it turns out to be a giant bird. The Air Force flies an attack on the monster, but it doesn't only seem impervious to any kind of ballistics, it also has developed an appetite for fighter jets as well as their parachuting pilots, whom it pretty much snaps right out of the air. MacAfee, Sally, and scientist Dr Noymann come to the conclusion that the monster must come from an antimatter galaxy far far in outer space, and is thus impervious to all sorts of ballistics as well as radar. So they develop a weapon that destroys the creatures antimatter shield to then shoot it out of the skies with conventional weaponry - and not a moment too soon, as the creature is already taking Manhattan ...


Now this is one movie that has been downed by its monster (much like the planes in the movie), as much is for sure. Now originally, The Giant Claw was to be graced with stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen, but around this time, Harryhausen left producer Sam Katzman's employ for bigger and better things. So instead of using his creations, Katzman's team went with the much cheaper alterantive of using a marionet - and unfortunately the marionet used looks just ridiculous, really like something from a kiddie picture book but not at all menacing or creepy. And the limitations of marionation didn't help much either.

And it's a shame, really, because other than that, The Giant Claw isn't at all a bad film - sure, it's heavily influenced by Ishiro Honda's Rodan from a year earlier, and the science involved is absolute nonsense, making much of the dialogue and especially the a bit overbearing narration silly mumbo jumbo, but the film's acting's on point, and it's well-structured and keeps the tension up throughout. So it's really a shame it's brought down by that bad a monster - well, unless you're up for having a good laugh for all the wrong reasons, then this one's a must!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD