The Giant Claw (1957)

There is a long-standing debate in horror criticism about just how much to explicitly show and how much to merely suggest. The Giant Claw could be taken as an object lesson in the superiority of suggestion over showing, and this is why:

Yeah.

I mean, there’s nothing actually inherently wrong with the idea of a giant alien bird-thing composed of anti-matter menacing the world, at least not in the realms of B-movie sci-fi; in fact, it’s probably a better idea than some other films in that vein have been built around. It’s just… yeah, the practice rather than the theory. I don’t often illustrate my reviews (indeed, as you may have noticed, if you care in the first place, that I don’t even use film posters/DVD art now cos I can’t be bothered tracking it down any longer), but for once I think it couldn’t be avoided; words aren’t enough. I mean, the eyes, the mohawk, the inflexible wings… no, it just doesn’t fly, if you’ll pardon the choice of words; and apparently the actors had no idea what the thing would look like until the film was released. Supposedly star Jeff Morrow went to see the thing at the cinema, and when he saw the monster he decided it would be prudent to flee the premises before anyone in the audience recognised him. And the film trailer, which I have now seen several times, is full of the goddamn thing, Columbia really wanted to show it off in the advertising for some reason… It’s a shame when one element of a film spoils what is otherwise not really a terrible film, it’s a reasonable example of the 1950s SF/horror B-film taken all in all. It’s just that the one element is such a large part of the film that it’s practically impossible to overlook or forgive.

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