Death By Cinema – 29 – The Giant Claw

“If I must just choose the method of my demise, I choose…


Death By Cinema!” -Britt Rhuart

Day 29 – The Giant Claw

I don’t have a great deal to say about this film. From all I’ve heard, it might be the worst giant monster movie of all-time. Having seen the trailer… that’s entirely possible. From what I understand, the production company hired Ray Harryhausen to make it’s monster initially. Had this gone through, it probably would have been a good decision. Harryhausen was a genius and one of the greatest actual artists film has ever seen. However, for whatever reason, funding didn’t come through for a Harryhausen budget, which is surprising to me, because I didn’t think it would be that high. Maybe not so surprising seeing as how the monster actually turned out. The monster was supposed to be a giant, bird-like figure “bigger than a battleship.” This analogy will come about at least a couple times, so get used to it. A giant, bird-like figure absolutely can work. Look at Rodan. However, what this film ended up with was a cheap Mexican creation that looked like a deformed buzzard, so surprising and so hated, it caused the “star” of the film to sneak out of the theatre when the film debuted. Is it really that bad? Let’s find out!

Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:
Actual quote: “Once the world was big, and no man in his lifetime could circle it. Through the centuries, science has made man’s lifetime bigger, and the world smaller. Now the farthest corner of the Earth is as close as a pushbutton, and time has lost all meaning as man-made devices speed many many times faster than sound itself.”
I can usually tell if a movie is bad if it starts with an unnamed narrator reading stupid lines.
Actual quote: “An electronics engineer, a radar officer, a mathematician and systems analyst, a radar operator, a couple of plotters. People doing a job, well, efficiently, serious, having fun, doing a job. Situation: normal. For the moment…”
So, this pilot reports a UFO. We can tell because the narrator literally tells us all of this. Because you know that old rule of screenwriting, tell, don’t show. And if you can have a narrator tell us, rather than even have this be a character’s line, even better. BTW, the last few lines are meant to be oozing sarcasm. Oh, I’m soooo sorry sarcasm, doesn’t come through in type.
Big as a Battleship Count: 1. Who decided on this as a unit of measurement?
Actual quote: General: “Would radar pick it up?” MacAfee: “Well, yes.” General: “Would radar pick it up?!? Yes or no?!?” He already said yes, you silly bitch.
So a plane is missing because it went in search for the UFO. So, did they blame it on the UFO? Nope, on the pilot who saw it in the first place.
Big as a Battleship Count: 2. Technically, they say flying battleship, but I’m counting it.
The pilot of this plane hit his head on the controls. His face is supposed to be covered in blood, but it looks more like oil.
The plane crashing is nothing more than an obvious model plane slowly guiding to a man made field, much like a train model… why do I feel this will be a running theme?
Big as a Battleship Count: 3. Another flying battleship line.
Big as a Battleship Count: 4.
Big as a Battleship Count: 5. These last two were back to back.
Big as a Battleship Count: 6.
Big as a Battleship Count: 7… and 1/2. Our hero refers to it as such twice in the same sentence.
This actor playing Pierre has the most unconvincing French accent ever. Wait, he was the host of the radio show Crime Classics? Aw, man, I liked that show…
Actual quote: Pierre: “You like Pierre’s apple jack, oui?” MacAfee: “You like Pierre’s apple jack, oui?”
We see an image of the farmer’s field, which is really just a crude drawing of a large bird’s footprint in the ground.
So, MacAfee kisses a sleeping Sally, the female lead of the story. Especially considering there’s been no hint of a relationship before this, we call that sexual harassment where we come from, mister.
I’d say the dialogue in this supposedly romantic scene is good, because there’s a lot of romantic tension, but the dialogue is stupid and makes no goddamn sense.
They take out a map on this plane (on which they are riding, not actually piloting… who takes out a map on a plane?), which appears blank from the angle we see it.
MacAfee points out that the UFO’s appearances appear to come in the form of a spiral… never mind that any pattern can theoretically be in the form of a spiral if you look hard enough.
Big as a Battleship Count: 8
Actual quote: Guy sitting behind MacAfee and Sally: “Look would you two mind being quite so the rest of us can sleep? Thank you.” I’ve never agreed with a character in a movie more.
Oh, good, the nameless narrator is back. Because exposition without conflict is just what we always need.
Big as a Battleship Count: 9
THAT’S THE MONSTER?!? It looks like a diseased buzzard! I’m going to get a lot of use out of making fun of this creature.
So our overgrown deformed turkey swallows a couple of army men wearing parachute. By which I mean, it actually appears to swallow the little green army men wearing parachutes from a distance and from close up, uses terrible matte shots.
The general is still unbelieving of MacAfee, despite the fact that they now have 5 planes down and numerous missing pilots who reported they saw a bird as big as a battleship.
Big as a Battleship Count: 10… how much more traction are we going to get out of this?
A weather balloon just got more photos of our cheap Mexican piñata, and it looks stupid, despite the fact that it strikes fear in the hearts of our characters.
Actual line: “It’s a bird alright… there’s no question of that?” Duh, gee, yuh think so, Eisenstein? Seriously, we get it’s a goddamn bird! True it looks like someone glued feathers and a cut in half ping pong ball to a piece of washing machine hose, but still!
Actual line: “Honest to Pete, I’ll never call my mother in law an old crow again.” Honestly, that analogy is more offensive to crows then anything.
The pilots attacking the wrinkly Rodan die in the most monotone way ever.
A scientist tries to explain the concept of anti-matter. Now, I only have a college 101 understanding of science… but I’m pretty sure this guy’s talking some straight bullshit.
Actual quote: BS Scientist: “Uh, you are both right. And wrong. The bird itself is not antimatter, but the bird unquestionably radiates some sort of force – an energy screen, some invisible barrier – and that energy screen is antimatter.” It’s like this guy has a Republican presidential candidate’s understanding of science.
So, the “scientist” says the feather found from the bird contains no element known to man. Considering all life is likely carbon based, I must say, why does this guy have a job?
So, the mange vulture supposedly comes from “some anti-matter galaxy millions and millions of light years from the Earth. No other explanation is possible.” Does this “scientist” know how light years are measured?
There are so many bad lines, I’m having trouble keeping track. I just heard the phrase “feathered nightmare on wings.”
MacAfee comes up with a plan “somewhere out of cloud 8” (it’s cloud 9, dumb ass) that will supposedly destroy the monster. Oh, sure, the smartest scientists in the world can’t figure it out, but some random pilot gets it in like 3 days.
Sally figures out the bird came to Earth to build a nest. MacAfee takes credit for it with the General, of course. This is why we need feminism.
The bird is beginning to attack things on the ground in a montage of stock footage because there’s nothing to attack in the air.
I just remembered what the mohawked abirdtion reminds me of… that scene from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dennis: “We also have the bird with teeth.” Charlie: “Wow, okay. And I’m assuming the teeth are fake, yes?” Dennis: “Yes. Well they’re not really human teeth if that’s what you’re asking.” Charlie: “No, I mean did you discover a bird with teeth in this fashion?” Dennis: “That does not exist in nature.” Charlie: “Okay, I’m not sure, but either way, good glue work.” Now, I’m just trying to use my knowledge of bird law to see if I can make a class action defamation lawsuit on behalf of birds everywhere for this movie.
Sally and MacAfee somehow destroy this huge ass anti-matter vulture’s egg with a pair of rifles. Don’t worry, the pelican hit by a shovel manages to kill Pierre in revenge.
A bunch of teenagers hot-rodding mock MacAfee and Sally before being killed by the Goliath Cockatoo. Did anyone think that’s how any teen has ever acted, ever?
How does this common pilot keep figuring out how to destroy the mentally deficient raptor? Seriously, now he’s come up with a complicated scientific theory to destroy the creature. How the hell does he see this when no other scientist can? I mean, I get how the army scientist can’t figure it out, he’s a jackassing moron, but is the rest of the world this stupid?
Actual line: MacAfee: “Now if this thing of mine works, and we can get close, real close, and bombard that bird’s anti-matter energy shield with a stream of mesic atoms, I think we can destroy that shield. The bird would defenseless then except for beak, claws, and wings. You could hit it with everything but the kitchen sink.” General: “We’ve got kitchen sinks to spare, son!”
So, now this pilot has to make enough atoms to disable the overstuffed cassowary (look it up) that last a long while, when the longest one atom has existed so far is “one two-millionth of a second.” Somehow, this pilot succeeds where the world’s leading scientists have failed, and he does so very quickly. How?
The Sri Lanka Frogmouth (look it up) destroys a model train! Oh, no! I mean, I guess it’s supposed to stand in for a real train, but it’s clearly a model train.
Now they’re flying the plane towards the mutated baby chick, who’s astride the Empire State Building. However, they didn’t have enough foresight to install the device before they took off, so they’re hooking it up as they fly the plane. GENIUS!!!
Now the tube with feathers and teeth destroys the Empire State Building and goes for the UN building, not that many current Republican presidential candidates would mind that. Man, I’m getting some traction off that. That analogy is better than a battleship!
The flying dodo chases after our heroes, who are still putting the machine together. They fire the particles at it, then the Army kid’s toy plane shoots rockets at the feathered, yet somehow more human looking Donald Trump lookalike. It hits and I’m surprised it didn’t burst open and candy didn’t pour out from its gizzard. The last thing we see is its Giant Claw sinking into the ocean.

Wow, this one was bad. The monster is absolutely one of the worst, if not the worst, concepts for a creature I’ve ever seen. The script is laughable, what with it’s repeated lines and corny dialogue. Also one of the worst scripts I’ve ever come across. Every aspect of the film just fails. There’s no suspense, the cinematography is substandard, it’s knowledge of science couldn’t pass a 3rd grade competency course, the music is nothing special… the only thing I can say was okay was the chemistry between lead actors Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday. And I can’t even say it’s good, it’s just alright. That being said… this movie was a barrel of laughs. Seriously, when you run into a movie that’s so bad its good… well, this isn’t it, but it is so bad its fun! I’ll go ahead and recommend it, if you like fun, corny, terrible movies. Otherwise, BIG skip.

Tomorrow, I finish my review of Sleazemania!

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