Island Claws

Also Called:
Night of the Claw

Giant Claws
Date:
1980
Stars:
Robert Lansing

Steve Hanks

Nita Talbot

Writers:

Jack Cowden

Ricou Browning.

Director:
Hernan Cardenas
WRC Score:

 2.5 points

Island Claws tells the sordid tale of a Florida island catching a bad case of crabs.  As in the ocean dwelling Crustaceans coming out of the water and seeking human flesh.

As well as growing to a preposterous sizes.

As is their wont.

What to say about Island Claws?  Lemme noodle that a moment.

Sometimes, you just really want to like things.  Yeah.  Yeah, That’s a start.

This marks the third draft of this review.  As I finished ahead of schedule, that’s not a bad thing.  Gave me time to think about the flick a little more, try to decide if this is where I want to stand on the matter.

My first impression was that this was almost a good movie.  The acting seemed good to me, I made snide remarks about direction, this, that, and the other.  A fair review, I thought.

Only it doesn’t quite hold water.

Island Claws, on further reflection, probably should be my go to standard for what a mediocre flick looks like.  It doesn’t hit the mark enough to be good, but it doesn’t miss enough to be bad.

There’s something missing about the acting.  The performers are going at it, and I don’t think that they’re really bad.  Professional might be the right word for it, at least among the more seasoned faces there.  But even the newer ones don’t seem as terrible as they could be.

That’s a really nasty sentence I just wrote there.  Still think its true.

Maybe it’s the fault of Director Cardenas.  Some of the scenes have the same feel to it:  Professional but not passionate.  Maybe it’s just me.  Yet the crabs never looked threatening.  When they “attacked”, it looked like the victims were overreacting to the situation.

With the Giant Crab, which I adore, there’s a stillness to it that can’t be ignored.   Best part of the flick happens when it shows up, but I’m a Giant Monster fan.  Your own mileage may vary.

As for the story…  And here I hesitate.

See, there are aspects I like  For instance, the film seems to be hinting towards radiation causing the harm (or maybe toxic waste, I can’t quite remember which (another damning statement, I know)).  Yet all it does.  Hint.  There’s no confrontation with authorities, no real finger pointing.  Just enough evidence to point that way.

Yet the script has issues.  It feels fragmentary, like the writers didn’t know what it was supposed to be (or got entirely too many notes on the matter.)  Is it a story about a small town’s troubles?  A Birds type story about a crab invasion?  A giant monster movie?  It goes along all three tracks for a time, to no great effect.

This is typical low budget film making, but instead of being disjointed there is a narrative flow there.  One point follows the next, almost smooth.

Except plot points tend to float loose and drift away into the distance.  The young lead has a hidden connection to his new love interest?  Mentioned  to him once then gone.  Said love interest is attacked by crabs?  Investigate, find out its true, then apparently tell absolutely no one.  Discover evidence of a giant monster crab on the island?  Hey, that’s neat, let’s tell only one person, then go out to eat where our friends might be attacked.

It’s very, very frustrating.  The movie had promise.

So now that I’m done crabbing about the film (I pun claws I love), how does the whole thing score?

As I said on the onset, Island Claws is a mediocre flick (1 point).  It could have been worse, but oh, could it have been better.  It’s got a little something that makes me fond of it (1.5 points).  It’s probably that final battle at the end.  If the whole flick had hit that mark throughout, it might have been something special.

Oh well.

Score: 2.5 points out of a possible 4

 

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