It has been a while since we dabbled into the territory of modern Z-grade movies about killer animals, so it’s time to descend into the muk of the ultra cheap features, so cheap that they are barely discernable from freshman cinema assignments shot during the summer break of the past.
An advice for fellow collectors living in Europe: you don’t need to get the german version, there’s a cheaper UK DVD release under the title “Claws”, it’s the same movie, don’t be fooled by the wrong synopsis on the back of the box (and most likely on the Amazon item page as well), clearly written by people that didn’t actually see the damn movie, there are no “space meteor crabs” in Queen Crab.
It’s obvious from the first minute this is indeed a monster movie shot on a microbudget using cheap digital video equipment, but i was interested in it because it promised the giant crab done in stop-motion animation, indeed a tasty promise and a rare sight regardless of budget to any cinephile.
The plot is what you might expect, with 50s style premise and cliches, but not entirely, as it follows Melissa, a young girl who adopts a young crab – whom she calls PeeWee – as her pet, i guess because what else you’re gonna do in the quaint rural town of Crabbe Creek ? Her dad is a distracted scientist trying to combat world hunger by making animals, fruits and vegetables grow larger, à-la Food Of The Gods, her mother is there to bicker. So pretty much ignored by the parents, Melissa plays with the crab and feeds him some berries found in her dad’s lab..
2 months later, Melissa’s parents die in a explosion, and from then on she lives alone in the house, and at night meets with her pet crab, now grown giant and redubbed Goliath. Problem is the crab had already spawned a batch of killer younglings that attack the town. As one would expect, it’s up to the local sheriff, his deputy and an investigator to stop the hungry crab (rave-less) feeding frenzy.
There’s some wit to the dialogues and affection to the cliches without going into full parody territory… and maybe it’s for the best, it might be due to having watched Notzilla not too long before this one, but this feel kind of a step up because there’s some sincerity to the performances and the dumb cliched characters, even if the acting is mediocre at best and wooden at worst.
It’s directed by Brett Piper, and produced by The Polonia Brothers, a fairly resilient company specialized in making these incredibly low budget Z grade horror flicks high on ridiculous plots, you might remember them for the Feeders series, but they’re still around and for the coming future they have planned something called Sharkula, that’s exactly what you think it is. Why not? Why yes?
I don’t know what it says about me or them, but i was glad to see their names on the credits instead of whatever alias John Bacchus is using, because it initially gave me serious Easter Beaster/Peter Cottonhell vibes, but no, it’s not THAT bad. It’s also better put together than Suburban Sasquatch, it is.
Of course, it all come with the expected caveats on budget and special effects.
So i’m not really surprised they “had” to digitally add a broken CG hole over a wooden farm wall, or that some of the composite shots with the crab do look like ass, i just wish it had less audio problems, as it often becomes very low in some scenes, but at least you can fix this by raising the volume or focusing a bit. It’s not a Jurassic Shark level of atrocious audio mixing and recording. YAY.
But you don’t want to hear about this, you wanna know about the crab… and it looks surprisingly decent, the stopmotion is better than what you can reasonably expect with this ultra low budget, and it’s a nice treat to see some old school practical effects in movies like this. It’s the little things, you know?
Overall, really dumb but enjoyable Z grade flick, stupid but in a kinda cute way, and it does deliver the stop motion giant crab it touts as its main selling point, so not much to complain about without being pointlessly cruel.