Island Claws (1980)

You get to take your pick…

Is it the possible leak from a nuclear reactor failure or a biology lab’s attempts at breeding bigger crabs that have created the swarm of bigger and more aggressive crabs that are attacking animals and even people on an island in Florida?

In a way it doesn’t really matter, except for the irony factor of the marine researcher talking about the inherent dangers of nuclear power while denying that his research could cause similar problems.

If you’ve seen this sort of B-movie, this one is mostly familiar, with the expected hordes of crabs and even a few giant ones.  The only thing which would normally distinguish this one is the presence of Robert Lansing, one of the more underrated actors around.  His efforts are a bit hampered by the terrible Irish accent he’s saddled with, but fortunately it disappears towards the end of the film.

However, the real star is the biggest of the crabs, which is not a superimposed stop motion model, but a full sized giant crab which must be at least twenty feet in diameter.

Full sized monsters like this are rare in the movies, mostly because they seldom look all that impressive:  one thinks of the “live” dragon in Fritz Lang’s Siegfried, which seems to bounce around because it weighs so little.  The crab here seems solid and substantial, but it doesn’t move much, other than its claws and a few legs and mouthparts.  Still, it’s a nice change from blown up tiny crabs, or badly inserted monster footage.

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