Public Domain Movie: Attack of the Killer Shrews (1959)

Horror Movie Review:

Attack of the Killer Shrews (1959)

Attack of the Killer Shrews is a cult classic movie that was released in 1959. Is it a  a science fiction movie or a horror flick? The truth is, it’s a bit of both.

The story begins on a small boat at sea. The captain of the vessel, Thorne Sherman, is on his way to deliver supplies to a group of scientists on a small, remote island. The only other person on board is his first-mate, Griswold.

When they arrive at the island Thorne and Griswold find that the leader of the group, Marlowe Cragis, has come out to meet them and he tells Thorne that he has a passenger for them. It turns out to be his curvy, blond-haired daughter, Ann.

Thorne takes one look at Ann and you can see straight away that he is impressed. He takes Anne’s hand and tells her that he will be more than happy to have her aboard, as he is getting a little tired of looking at Griswold. They won’t be leaving yet though. A hurricane is on the way.

Anne’s fiance, Jerry, has accompanied Ann and her father and Jerry is carrying a gun. Thorne does not fail to notice this fact. Nor does he fail to notice how anxious everyone is to get Ann away from the island.

Attack of the Killer Shrews (Movie Poster)
Attack of the Killer Shrews (Movie Poster)

Griswold goes back to the boat, but Thorne accompanies the group back to their stockade, where he finds out the nature of the research being conducted there. Worried that one day the world will become overpopulated and that there will not be enough food for everyone, Griswold has decided on a rather unique form of action. He is trying to make it possible to shrink people to half their size because a smaller person would need less food.

Griswold has not been using guinea pigs for his experiments. He’s been using shrews and, somewhere along the line, he has made a mistake. Now the island is home to hundreds of giant killer shrews. This explains why Jerry was packing iron when the boat arrived.

It has got to be said, Jerry isn’t a nice man. The lovely Ann is much too good for him and, bearing in mind the fact that she soon only seems to have eyes for Thorne, a conflict between the two men is inevitable.

Attack of the Killer Shrews is an unusual movie that is definitely worth watching, but it’s not a movie that’s likely to make you want to watch it over and over again. The giant shrews are actually just dogs that have been dressed up. Close up they do look pretty scary . . . well . . . pretty ugly anyway. From a distance, when they are jumping about, you can tell by their distinctive dog-like movements exactly what they are. The Killer Shrews was made on a low budget and it shows, but a lot of people love this movie. Maybe you’ll be one of them, head back to the player at the top of  this page and see.

Additional Information

Directed by Ray Kellogg


James Best … Thorne Sherman
Ingrid Goude … Ann Craigis
Ken Curtis … Jerry Farrell
Gordon McLendon … Dr. Radford Baines
Baruch Lumet … Dr. Marlowe Craigis
Judge Henry Dupree … ‘Rook’ Griswold
Alfredo DeSoto … Mario

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