The Trollenberg Terror (UK) (The Crawling Eye-USA title)

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The Trollenberg Terror (UK) (The Crawling Eye-USA title)

Post  BoG on Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:24 pm

This sci-fi film with touches of horror is unusual in that it's like the final act of a longer story. It's revealed that there was a similar situation in the Andes some time ago; there was also a radioactive cloud there and its disappearance discredited the character played by Forrest Tucker, who had called an alert back then. The film is derived from a 6-part TV Serial broadcast in 1956. Speaking of radioactivity - it's referred to here but there's never any plot about the cloud posing a radioactive threat to humans; mostly, it's about the cold that the aliens also project.
In the film, another cloud has appeared on the Alpine peak Trollenberg, overlooking an Austrian town of the same name. The first scene may be the one most fans recall best as kids (maybe they never got to finish watching the film); a trio of climbers on the mountain encounter the cloud just above them; one of them meets a grisly demise. Tucker plays an American traveling to the area by train; also on board are a couple of sisters (Jennifer Jayne & Janet Munro) who work a mentalist act. The true esper is Munro's character, who is compelled to get off the train at Trollenberg.

It turns out that these alien monsters, hidden in the cloud, have some psychic connection to Munro's character, but I never really understood why the creatures were so intent on doing away with her. The truly creepy aspect of the story is that the aliens are able to reanimate the humans they kill and send them to do their bidding (like killing Munro's character). This is graphically demonstrated when one of these controlled humans strikes his head, receiving a long gash which does not bleed. But, the fixation on Munro's character is never really explained, as if a scene is missing.

There is at least one other unexplained instance: at the midway point, a couple of other climbers are in a cabin on the mountain; one wanders out into the cloud; the other one stays in the cabin, which is completely sealed, but then he turns in horror at something behind him. So, what was it? His fellow climber? An alien's tentacle? In either case, how did he or it materialize behind him in the cabin? Other characters are an undercover reporter (Laurence Payne) and a scientist friend of Tucker's character. The climactic action is at a scientific observatory on a nearby mountain and it's not bad, but the clay model grabbed up by one of the creatures is jarring in a bad way. Click right image for NIFTY FIFTY site.
The zombie-like controlled humans predate Night of the Living Dead by a full decade and are also similar to the eerie space zombies of Planet of the Vampires (1965). Unlike Night of the Living Dead, however, it's tough to pick out a walking dead human in this - they behave pretty normally, able to speak, if just a little stiffly Suspect . The first reveal of a horrid one-eyed alien is also effective; it involves a little girl and the eye of the alien follows her movements in several seconds of startling monstrosity; whether by accident or design, this scene conveys a frightening, living, breathing alien intelligence; thereafter, the creatures become kind of typical fifties schlock. But, I was also reminded of some of Lovecraft's work. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
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