THE DEADLY MANTIS ** U.S.A. 1957 Dir: Nathan Juran 79 mins
As the 1950’s were coming to a close there was still room for more ‘Giant Creature’ movies and they don’t get much bigger then THE DEADLY MANTIS. Ok perhaps thats a bit over the top, the creature sure is big but this ‘Giant Insect’ film is far from the best, that honour still goes to THEM! (1954). When a volcano erupts on the other side of the world an after effect rocks the Arctic unleashing a giant praying mantis from its frozen slumber. As the killer insect makes its way to America….because of course thats where all attacks have to happen…only a crack team consisting of a palaeontologist, a photo journalist and a determined commander can stop the rampage of THE DEADLY MANTIS.
Throughout the film we are shown countless minutes of stock footage sourced from the Air Force, this gives the film a slightly more realistic look to its fighting back against the creature scenes. The actors although very wooden are to be commended on taking the whole film seriously. Once you get to see the creature in all its glory (?) you do begin to wonder how they are keeping straight faces. The creature is far from terrifying, being nothing more then what appears to be a rod puppet that constantly changes size throughout the movie. Expect to sit through a very long opening scene where we are told by the narrator “With every action there is an equal and opposite reaction“, but once you are past that you are back in to B-movie creature territory. Not the best ‘Giant Creature’ movie but also far from being the worst.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins