Oh My God! Look at the Size of Those Things!


 'The Killer Shrews'.
 

This fine film dates back to 1959, a period during which many gigantic creatures roamed the earth. Rodan, Mothra, Gamera: they were all big and they were all mean as hell. [editors note - Gamera was not always mean as hell. In many of his early films he was referred to as 'friend of all children'] So it is no surprise that during the trailer to this feature, the creatures were described in the voice over as 'The Giant Killer Shrews'. Nor was this a misnomer as the average shrew is a very small critter, a fact that can be verified via a visit to this scientific site, wherein the shrew is described as 'the world's smallest mammal'.

So by everyday standards, one can quite rightly describe these particular shrews as enormous. To quote the trailer once again "You'll be terrified by their very nearness."
 

 How was the film, you ask? Well, duh. Fantastic.
 

 Let's make it through the setup in one sentence. A rugged and kind-hearted cargo captain is making a delivery to a mysterious island, accompanied by his trusty but black first mate, when they notice that a hurricane is coming their way, so they anchor the boat off shore and decide that they're going to spend the night, but as soon as they set foot on land they are met by a kindly old scientist, his beautiful daughter, his nerdy assistant, a Mexican laborer, and a drunken asshole, none of whom are particularly happy with the fact that the twosome is planning to spend the night, although common courtesy requires them to invite the two in the house (even though the black first mate declines because he has chores to do), and then drink lots of martinis until the horrible truth slips out that the island is inhabited by Killer Shrews.

Okay, Sherlock, you figure it out. 1959, a Black, a Mexican, a Nerd, and a drunken asshole. Who's gonna get eaten on this island?

 

 [Fun Film Facts - The part of 'Drunken Asshole' was played by Ken Curtis, famous for his role as 'Festus' on the classic TV show 'Gunsmoke']
 

 


 

Fortunately, the rest of the movie steers clear of political subtext, and concentrates primarily on the shrews efforts to eat everyone on the island. Did I mention that the shrews are large? I don't think that I can overemphasize this point. These are huge shrews, about the proportions of a medium-sized dog; that is, if one were able to imagine a dog with long dagger shaped bicuspids that drip deadly poison and had fur that appeared to be dipped in the wreckage of the Exxon Valdez.

I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, in case you are fortunate enough to view this movie at some later date, but suffice to say that much excitement ensues when these horrible creatures begin - literally - to eat the house.
 


And I don't think I'll be giving too much away if I say that the good captain devises a way for the survivors (who are they, hmm?) to escape to the boat by wearing protective shrew-proof human-sized oil cans as they make their way to the  safety of the little cargo ship which has been miraculously unharmed by the hurricane.

p.s. - Festus is lunch.