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Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Killer Shrews (1959)

To date, I have reviewed a string of movies from the 1920, 1930's, and the 1940's.  With "The Killer Shrews," I'll be closing out my set of five movies from the 1950's... and what a way to close it.

While dropping off supplies to a small research team, Captain Thorne Sherman is stranded on the remote island due to a hurricane.  Soon, he discovers that the hurricane isn't the only danger he's facing- for him and the science team are now at the mercy of killer shrews...

This is definately one of those movies that you show during a cult classic/b-movie night.

Captain Sherman- played by James Best, is a bit of a jerk, but kinda likeable at the same time.  Ken Curtis's character, Jerry is great as the drunken arse of an assistant.Judge Henry Dupree, and Alfred DeSoto- being the minorities in the movie seem to be there simply to die before the white people... though I did like DeSoto's character, Mario.  I also liked Baruch Lumet as Dr. Marlowe Cragis as well.  I will confess though, that at times, it was hard to follow the dialogue due to the various accents used.

The story is pretty basic- and well, silly... but still manages to entertain you throughout.  Other than a few scenes in the woods, the whole movie pretty much takes place in the living room of the cabin the scientists are using.  Because of this, the camera work doesn't show much innovation or style.  The music too isn't very stylish, and is more action oriented than suspenseful in tone.

"What about the shrews," you ask?  Well, let's talk about the shrews.  They look like dogs with really bad mange... and bad hairpieces to cover up the bald spots.  I highly doubt the make-up designer won any awards for their work.

Despite the flaws I've mentioned... or maybe because of them, "The Killer Shrews" is still fun to watch- like most b-movies are.  It doesn't try to be an artistic piece of nightmare inducing horror.  No, it is quite content to simply be a non-thinking, momentary distraction from the world around us- and it succeeds at it.

This is one movie that I would pull out for a cheesy horror movie night with my friends and popcorn.  It's still one of "The Ugly"... but it's a fun kind of ugly...


  1. I'll bring it (and "The Screaming Skull") out to the cabin for a Horror Cheese Fest. LOL They're actually doing a sequel called, "Return of the Killer Shrews"- James Best will be returning as Captain Thorne Sherman.

  2. Any way you'd be interested in reviewing my as-authentic-as-possible 1950s style B-movies? I can have screeners shipped out to you ASAP. For more info about my films, visit www.mihmiverse.com. Feel free to send an email to chris@sainteuphoria.com if you're interested!

  3. I'm always interested in B-movies- they can be as much fun as the A-List movies... and sometimes more.