The Crawling Eye (1958) (DVD review).

The first surprise when I turned on this DVD was the title, ‘The Trollenberg Terror’, which was the US title flashing up on the screen. A double take with the cast list reminded me it was the same film and this was probably sourced from the USA than with the UK title and confirmed by reading the back cover as I write this review. As there tends to be too many reveals on the back cover, I tend to avoid reading them most of the time until after I watch the DVD. It is still ‘The Crawling Eye’ written by Hammer luminary Jimmy Sangster so has an immediate pedigree even on a limited budget.


Up in the Swiss Alps, a fog is always seen nearby when mountaineers are killed, usually with their heads pulled off. A scientific observatory under Professor Crevett (actor Warren Mitchell) has seen some evidence of this mist and when Alan Brooks (actor Forrest Tucker) arrives, seemingly on a holiday, he has someone to tell of his suspicions that the fog is hiding something. From the same train are Anne Pilgrim (actress Janet Munro) and Sarah Pilgrim (actress Jennifer Jayne), who perform a mind-reading act except Anne is actually telepathic and does it for real. A mind-reading demonstration in the hotel alerts Brooks to the danger to two investigating mountaineers who have gone up the mountain to their danger before they, too, vanish. With the fog descending on the hotel, it then becomes imperative to clear the people at the hotel to the safer observatory. Finding a child missing, Brooks returns to the hotel to get her and has his first encounter with the creature, hardly a spoiler from the title that it has a prominent eye in a giant bulbous body and tentacles that couldn’t get in the doorway but its tentacles could. Quite how it invades the Swiss chalet where the second mountaineer was attacked and the door later locked isn’t shown but when you consider that there are four of them, maybe that was one before it grew to full size. Even so, the solution involves getting the Swiss air force to attack them.

‘The Crawling Eye’ works well as a suspense movie simply because no one there really knows what is going on. Back in 1958, there was never a need to be that blatant. When the creature is finally seen, you’re ready to jump and that still works. The shape of the creature itself is odd and you have to wonder how they can negotiate around the mountains. Interestingly, the solution isn’t an attack by Brooks who clearly realises he’s out of his depth but he does have the authority to organise the solution.

If you like 50s Science Fiction and, bear in mind, I can’t recall the last time that ‘The Crawling Eye’ has been on TV, then you’ll find this film an interesting viewing. The minor extras include the theatrical trawler which reveals the creature and a few stills.

GF Willmetts

August 2013

(region 2 DVD: pub: Image Entertainment ID8701CODVD. 1 DVD black and white 84 minute film with minimal extras. Price: under £ 2.00 (UK) if you know where to look)

cast: Forrest Tucker, Janet Munro, Lawrence Payne, Jennifer Jayne, Warren Mitchell and Andrew Foulds

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