The Killer Shrews: Heard But Rarely Seen
, 14 Sep 2013
After watching this film I discovered that the leading man James Best later gained fame as the hapless and bumbling Sheriff Roscoe in the 70s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, but here he plays a handsome and able young sailor (with an admirable quiff) who has reason to visit a remote island where genetic scientists have inadvertently unleashed a mutant monster strain of shrews. Perhaps Steven Spielberg watched this film in his youth and had it in mind when filming Jaws, as due to an obviously low budget the monsters appearances are kept to a minimum, with the director forced to find cheap but effective means of scaring the audience such as sound effects and extremely short close-ups of gnashing fangs. A less impressive aspect of this is the boffins quarters, where there is a fireplace, a moth-bitten settee and not much else, with bare walls that remind you of the sort of places that crack addicts inhabit as opposed to a research facility. However, if you allow for that the main cast are actually quite good (apart from the wooden if lovely female love interest). Overall definitely one to watch in the late hours for a cheap post-modern retro thrill, but with a few genuinely scary moments as well, and like many films of its era its interesting to view with regard to the social standards of the time. Everyone smokes like chimneys (the senior character has a pipe of course) and neck various kinds of booze like its going out of fashion despite needing to be alert to face impending danger. But perhaps most amusingly although being in the middle of nowhere the scientists insist on wearing ties, and our heroine spends much of her time in this dingy dump sporting a conical bra under a skin-tight low-cut top, and a skirt so voluminous it nearly catches fire when she gets a bit too close to the hearth!
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