The Giant Claw (1957)

Directed by Fred J. Sears (Don’t Knock the RockEarth vs. the Flying Saucers, Teen-Age Crime Wave), The Giant Claw is somehow inspired by matter and anti-matter, as well as la Carcagne, the mythical bird-like banshee from French-Canadian folklore. Yes, some heady material, but then this movie has one of the goofiest — and most awesome — monsters ever.

Producer Sam Katzman originally planned to utilize stop motion effects by Ray Harryhausen. This movie didn’t have the money for that, so he hired a Mexico City effects studio who sent him a marionette that, well, looks like a monstrous turkey. Seeing as how he spent fifty dollars on the monster, I think he got so much more than what he paid for.

No one in the movie knew what that creature looked like until they saw the movie. This really embarrassed lead actor Jeff Morrow, who was there to see the movie live in his hometown and every time the monster showed up, people laughed louder, until the actor ran home and started drinking. I mean, Morrow must have felt the same way when he was in Octaman.

Obviously, the poster artists never saw the special effects either. That said, the film is also quite aware of the UFO sightings of the day, which is what they think the monster is until scientists discover that it’s an evil bird from an antimatter universe.

This is a pretty nihilistic film for the time, as the evil bird kills people without a thought when it isn’t destroying every building it can.

The Giant Claw is one of four movies on Arrow Video’s new Cold War Creatures: Four Films From Sam Katzman set along with The WerewolfThe Zombies of Mora Tau and Creature with the Atom Brain. Each film has a 1080p blu ray presentation, along with a fully illustrated 60-page collector’s book featuring extensive new writing by Laura Drazin Boyes, Neil Mitchell, Barry Forshaw, Jon Towlson and Jackson Cooper, as well as 80-page collector’s art book featuring reproduction stills and artwork from each film and new writing by historian and critic Stephen R. Bissette, the former artist of Swamp Thing. Plus, you get two double-sided posters featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin and reversible sleeves for each movie with original and newly commissioned artwork for each film by Matt Griffin.

The Giant Claw has extras including an introduction by critic Kim Newman Brand, commentary by critics Emma Westwood and Cerise Howard, a visual essay from Mike White examining the theme of Cold War paranoia in Sam Katzman monster movies, a trailer, an image gallery and a condensed Super 8mm version of the movie.

You can get this set from MVD.

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