Monday, March 11, 2019

THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957) Blu-ray review

The Deadly Mantis (1957) d. Nathan Juran (USA) (79 min)

After our titular prehistoric big bug is released from an iceberg in the Arctic Circle by an earthquake, it begins a southerly wave of destruction, eventually climbing up the Washington Monument and hiding out in New York’s Holland Tunnel. Released during the height of gargantuan screen mayhem, the menacing mantis murders everything in its path while military man Joe Parkman (Craig Stevens, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and paleontologist Ned Jackson (William Hopper, 20 Million Miles to Earth) work feverishly to stop the beastly insect, with beautiful photojournalist Marge Blaine (Alix Talton) livening up the scenery.

Director Juran served up some of the finest (The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 20 Million Miles to Earth) and goofiest (Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, The Brain from Planet Arous) fantasy and sci-fi efforts of the 1950s. Mantis (his first of four films to be released in 1957) falls somewhere in between, a wildly uneven mix of impressive puppetry and less-than-impressive matte shots of the “deadliest creature known to man” in flight.

As with The Mole People, producer William Alland’s previous Universal effort, there is an inordinate amount of stock footage in play, which writer Tom Weaver mocks mercilessly on his audio commentary track. (It’s too bad he couldn’t spend more time extolling the virtues of special effects technicians Clifford Stine, Cleo E. Baker, Fred Knoth, and Tom McCrory, because the oversized creepy crawlie and the miniatures it mashes are actually deserving of praise.)


NEW 2K Scan of the original film elements

NEW Audio Commentary with film historians Tom Weaver and David Schecter

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Episode “The Deadly Mantis” (02/22/97)

Theatrical Trailer

Still Gallery

The Deadly Mantis is available March 19 on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and can be ordered HERE:


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