A highlight among 1950s creature-features, The Monster That Challenged the World is a near-classic B movie that never goes out of style. When an earthquake reveals a nest of giant, prehistoric sea mollusks at the bottom of... more » California's Salton Sea, the local body count skyrockets. Navy lietenant Twillinger (Tim Holt) takes command, assisting the obligatory scientist (Hans Conreid) while wooing the June Cleaver wanna-be (Barbara Darrow) who inevitably tangles with the monster--a flailing caterpillar-like beastie with snapping mandibles and a voracious appetite. With a moment of vintage gross-out ("Get the eye! Get the eye!"), well-handled suspense, and the requisite balance of tepid romance and sci-fi jargon, this is a prime companion to any film in the atomic-monster lineup. The aging Holt made only two more movies after this (following a thriving career in Westerns), but he gives Monster his best shot and comes up a winner. --Jeff Shannon« less
firstname.lastname@example.org | Hopkinsville, Kentucky, USA | 09/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, this is an oldie, but a goodie. One of the best of the 50's. If you can travel back in time to the days of 25 cent movies and 10 cent popcorn, then you would enjoy such a treat as The Monster That Challenged The World. Pitted against today's horror specials, this one holds it own. It certainly was a shocking film during the 50's and is well remembered by those brave enough to view it alone. So, on a dark evening, lock your doors and windows, get out the popcorn and cuddle up for a trip back in time and enjoy one of the best from the 50's."
ESCARGO STRIKES BACK.
cb_33 | USA | 01/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best cold war flicks. It has all the traits THEM, BEGINNING OF THE END, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, and has all the warmth of TARANTULA, an THE GIANT BOHEMOTH. Misunderstood creatures from a past age whom are suddently unleashed on a present day world. the victom count is low but well placed. The last sceen comes right out of Norman Rockwell. this is the 50's lest we forget. what is nice about this film is that your told why every thing is happening. this is a very enjoyable title, this is one of my collection, and is top shelf. I think you will enjoy this as much as I do."
You had to be there.....
Jack K Stinson | Columbus, Ohio United States | 10/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this movie on TV, late one night when I was working in Mexico and living in the southern California town of El Centro. Yep, right smack dab in the center of where the Monster decided to challenge the world! I started looking at the local canals a lot more closely at night!The DVD version has crisp video....much nicer than the VHS version. It was a MUST HAVE for my collection.
Okay, the flick is a little on the lame side....but it's still one of the most fun of the genre. Those mighty mollusks are simply too funny for words. And our hero is so busy chasing women, he almost lets the Imperial Valley and all of Baja Norte fall into the evil mollusk mandibles (do mollusks have mandibles?).
Absolutely essential viewing if you've ever lived in Baja or the Imperial Valley, or even in Southern California. And essential if you are at all into the B monster flicks of AIP and the like.
And it makes the Salton Sea look so very large! It is also fun to see the place as it looked in the late 50's.Jack Stinson"
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 01/12/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You're not likely to be frightened by MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD, but as 1950s sci-fi/horror programmers go it is better than most. The story, which resembles everything from THEM! to THE THING to BLACK LAGOON, concerns prehistoric eggs that are irradiated by atomic blast and then released by earthquake into a saltwater sea by a military station--where several military men go missing as a result.The cast, script, story, and monster are all okay but nothing special and never rise above the "B Movie" level, but the movie is an enjoyable way to spend a rainy evening. It's also mild enough for use as a "family night" film with older kids, and would be a good way to introduce them to the genre without giving them fits; younger kids, however, will either be bored or genuinely frightened, so you might want to prescreen it just in case."
Classic 1950's Creature Feature With Good Story And Effects
Simon Davis | 06/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Despite it's grandiose title which screams out "B movie for the drive in circuit!", "The Monster That Challenged the World", is a good piece of 1950's science fiction, offering capable performances, an interesting, if not totally original storyline and an interesting "creature on the loose", in a giant mollusk that proceeds to drain all the blood from its victims in its quest for nourishment. The creature when it is eventually seen in its entirety is quite horrific and far more sophisticated than the usual rubber suit or tentacled fur balls employed in alot of Sci Fi films of this period. All of this is presented in a pleasing and (for this genre) largely non sensational manner and benefits greatly from some very effective locations filmed in and around Florida's famed Salton Sea."The Monster That Challenged the World", starts off with an explanation of the curious history of the Salton Sea and introduces us to the scientific base where most of the action develops from when it is rocked by a tremor which in itself is not serious but which with time is revealed to have created a "hiccup" with some of the "dormant", forms of life in the sea. All seems well until some of the military performing routine parachute jumps into the sea strike trouble with two men completely disappearing and the third being literally scared to death by some horrific vision. Put in charge of the investigation into what happened to the men Lt. John Twillinger (Tim Holt), finds one of the bodies rising to the surface which has been strangely drained of all of its blood. Meanwhile swimmers in the local area also begin to disappear and it becomes obvious that something is lurking in the sea that is unlike anything encountered before. Equally mystifying is that at each of the sights where a death has occured is found a strange sticky substance which when examined by the base scientist Dr. Jess Rogers (Hans Conried), is revealed to come from a prehistoric form of sea Mollusk that supposedly had been extinct for millions of years. During a further expedition out into the sea the divers discover strange egg sacs of a size never seen before and then encounter the creature in broad daylight as it attacks them in their boat. It appears that the prehistoric sea mollusk had lain dormant for millions of years below the sea and was shacken out by the tremor. Affected by elements of radioactivity present in the sea the mollusk had grown to a huge size with a decidely hostile manner. Beaten off by the men the gravity of the situation is revealed in that these creatures multiple rapidly and have a consuming appetite for other creatures blood. One of the egg sacs is taken back to the lab where it is kept at a neutral temperature to stop it from hatching so that it can be studied. In the lab Lt. Twillinger makes the acquaintance of lab assistant Gail Mackenzie (Audrey Dalton), a young widow with a child and they begin a romance. Closing off the sea's beaches patrols are set up of all the loch's leading from the sea. When one of the loch watchmen is killed in the same way as the divers, being drained of his blood, emergency measures are taken. The team manages to find the main nesting place of the creatures and divers proceed to blow them all up. It seems like the threat has now been removed however at the base Gail's young daughter has played with the temperature control on the observation tank and the creature hatches trapping both Gail and her daughter in a storage room. Not able to reach her on the telephone and sensing something is wrong Lt. Twillinger races back to the base and is confronted by the creature just as it is breaking down the door where Gail is trapped. The military then move in and destroy the creature with fire. The conclusion sees John and Gail happily reunited outside the burning base building.For this kind of film the screenplay surprisingly presents the material in a fairly intelligent and well thought out manner. The creature of the title doesn't exactly threaten the whole world however its general look and the explanation of how it has got to the size it is is dealt with in an interesting manner. Performances are generally good for this type of effort. Tim Holt had had a long busy career appearing in many Hollywood "A" efforts prior to this film and indeed "The Monster That Challenged the World", was almost his final film performance. He looks decidely unfit in the unlikely role of the male romantic lead however he combines well with Audrey Dalton to make a fairly believable couple. The direction by Arnold Laven, is capable without being spectacular for science fiction. He keeps the action moving along and the old technique of not revealing the monster until the story is well set up is a standard one in 1950's sci fi which works well here. His direction of Audrey Dalton is probably the best part here as he doesn't reduce her character to the standard screaming damsel in distress as is normal. Gail is a resourceful and intelligent woman and when she is put into a crisis situation at the films conclusion proves herself to be level headed and capable of good judgement when faced with the sea mollusk on the rampage. Certainly not top grade science fiction "The Monster That Challenged the World", however makes great viewing if like me, you are a fan of the "creature features", of the 1950's. I think its most appealing feature apart from the terrific monster is the fact that it has an almost at times low key, non sensational approach to the material. The earnest performances by Tim Holt, Audrey Dalton and Hans Conreid in particular give this film a certain credibility that is missing in some of its "B" cousins from the same period in Hollywood. Enjoy a nasty blood sucking creature awakened from its slumber after millions of years in United Artists "The Monster That Challenged the World"."