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zz005| The Deadly Mantis
Director: Nathan Juran
Screenplay: William Alland, Martin Berkeley
Producer: William Alland
Cast: Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton, Donald Randolph, Pat Conway
Genre: Thriller

Running Time: 79
Aspect Ratio:  (NTSC )
Features: Black and White
Studio:  Universal Studios DVD Region:  1 NR
DVD Release:  May 1994 Discs:  1 (DVD) []
Reviews:  Beware of global warming! After an arctic glacier undergoes a sudden mysterious thaw, the world faces the wrath of a not-so-jolly green giant in this moderately diverting big bug movie. Although the handsomely produced film follows the standard '50s monster movie playbook--plentiful stock footage, tired characterizations, a lengthy intro documenting the wonderfulness of a newfangled gizmo named radar, etc.--a little too closely to be truly memorable, it nonetheless remains a more than acceptable time-waster, with above-average special effects and a nicely atmospheric conclusion inside the Manhattan Tunnel. Writer-producer William Alland, in addition to being affiliated with some of the period's greatest achievements in the horror/sci fi genres (including the classic "Creature from the Black Lagoon"), is notable for his longtime association with another gigantic force--namely, Orson Welles. "--Andrew Wright"

The story of The Deadly Mantis basically follows the familiar plot of many 1950’s monster epics. In the Arctic, an unknown force obliterates an American radar outpost. When Colonel Joe Parkman (Craig Stevens) and a fellow Air Force officer investigate, they find the outpost’s men missing, and they also discover curious skid marks and “footprints.”

Next, a C-47 is wrenched from the sky. When Col. Parkman and one of his men investigate, they discover the plane trashed, but they also find a curious hook-like object. In Washington, D.C., paleontologist Dr. Ned Jackson (William Hopper) determines that the hook is the “spur” of a giant prehistoric praying mantis.

No sooner can you say, “What the heck would a mantis the size of a blue whale eat?” than the antediluvian insect attacks an Eskimo village. (Most of this assault is actually stock footage from 1933’s S.O.S. Iceberg.) Dr. Jackson and his shapely assistant Marge Blaine (Alix Talton) journey with Col. Parkman to an Arctic Air Force base to get to the bottom of the mystery. (No mystery to the viewer, since we saw the giant mantis thawing from an iceberg at the beginning of the film.)

Before long, the lumbering mantid attacks the Arctic Air Force Base at which our heroes are stationed. Efforts to combat the beast are futile, and soon the titanic insect takes to the skies. Authorities in Canada and the U.S. are alerted; Dr. Jackson determines that the mantis is heading south along the eastern seaboard.

Near Richmond, Virginia, the mantis wrecks a train (offscreen) and mangles a passenger bus. Later, the creature briefly lights in Washington, D.C., then buzzes off, presumably in search of more human prey (gigantic as it is, it would probably take nothing less than a suburb of Los Angeles to fill its belly for even a day). Jets hound the creature, wounding it with a barrage of missiles, and the monster is further damaged when one of the war planes collides with it head-on.

Descending to the earth, the beleaguered prehistoric insect takes refuge in the “Manhattan Tunnel” (as it is billed in the movie), where Colonel Parkman leads a poison gas assault against the injured behemoth. After tossing a few cars around and coughing its last, the mantis finally expires – apparently not too soon for the movie’s two perfunctory “lovebirds” (Marge and Colonel Parkman), who embrace for the obligatory closing kiss. (http://americankaiju.kaijuphile.com/articles/kamakiras.shtml)

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