Sunday, January 25, 2015

Let us prey: The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Recently I've been revisiting the numerous 1950's sci-fi "creature feature" movies. They all generally have at least one thing in common: a giant, irradiated insect, mutation or alien mutation. The Deadly Mantis, directed by Nathan Juran and theatrically released by Universal in 1957, is one of my all time favorites. A long frozen giant mantis is inadvertently thawed out by atomic bomb testing, escapes its icy hibernation and flies away, subsequently beginning an immediate campaign of terror on mankind. A dedicate scientist(played by William Hopper) and an equally dedicated U.S. Air Force officer(played by Craig Stevens) become the movie's heroes and requisite military-scientific "brain trust", tasked with tracking and ultimately stopping the "deadly" giant mantis. The film's conclusion features a downed, gravely injured giant mantis against a group of miltary personnel inside the Washington(DC) tunnel. (no other spoilers)

As much as I hate to admit it, one of my favorite aspects of this movie is the mantis' ability to roar like a dinosaur. The idea of a "roaring" insect is obviously preposterous...but it absolutely works in this fun, entertaining '50s monster flick.


This movie has long been available on VHS. Universal released The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Vols 1 and 2(sold separately or packaged together) in 2008 to official R1 DVD and this release includes The Deadly Mantis(1957). I own both of these DVD sets which also feature some of Universal's most recognizable and successful sci-fi monster movies from the decade of the 1950's.

 A trailer for this film:

To see the packaged DVD release for sale at Amazon click the link: The Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection on DVD