"The Monster That Challenged the World"Radioactive prehistoric sea snails, need I say more?
By Adam Frazier
was 1957 and "creature features" ruled the Earth. By conveniently
packaging nuclear paranoia and selling it to mass audiences, the movie
business was able to produce low budget B movies one right after
another. These films always showcased some new abomination of science,
the result of an experiment gone horribly wrong.
have been around since the silent film area, the ‘50s saw the highest
amount of creature features, with films like "Godzilla," "The Creature
from the Black Lagoon," "Tarantula," and a little flick called "The
Monster That Challenged the World."
"The Monster That Challenged
the World," which is one of the most bizarre titles I've ever seen,
takes place on the Salton Sea in Southern California. Unbeknownst to
the fine citizens of the good ‘ol U S of A, a prehistoric mollusk is
lying at the bottom of the Salton Sea, awaiting the catalyst of an
earthquake to free it from its underwater prison.
This of course
happens and the monster begins laying eggs. Here's the thing, the Navy
has a base at the Salton Sea and uses it in their training
routines. One day while out on one of these seemingly normal routines,
a couple seamen come face to face with the monster (you know, the one
that would soon challenge THE WORLD?).
Never has a mollusk been
so scary. I mean honestly, it's basically a big sea snail. It leaves
goop everywhere that looks like marshmallow fluff and lets face it,
it's slow as hell and easily escapable. Yet, every time this bad boy
shows up, men are left helpless to its giant pinchers and piercing eyes.
the Navy's first encounter with the creature, Navy Lieutenant Commander
John Twillinger (Tim Holt), teams up with Dr. Jess Rogers (Hans Conried)
to end this threat. After a brief explanation by our good scientist Dr.
Rogers, we understand what this prehistoric mollusk is capable of. There's lots of cool footage of slugs and snails digesting their prey that is way more terrifying than the poorly made animatronic monster.
the creature runs out of food in the sea, it and its hatchlings will
crawl out of the depths and onto dry land, thus CHALLENGING THE WORLD!
Essentially, after a few more encounters with the Navy, the beast
escapes into an underground sewer system and finds its way into the
canal system, where it terrorizes the citizens of California's Imperial
Now there's only one thing to do - a showdown between the monster and the world for which it is challenging. Twillinger and Dr. Rogers must battle the mollusk and end this threat once and for all!
This is a quirky, but oddly inspired creature feature
that takes elements of "The Creature of the Black Lagoon" but also
feels eerily familiar to Steven Spielberg's 1975 monster movie, "Jaws."
While definitely not for everyone, the B Movie will always hold a place
in my heart and while "The Monster That Challenged the World" isn't
that great when compared to the other creature features of its day,
it's still an entertaining reminder of the atomic age.