Monster That Challenged the World, The
"The Monster That Challenged the World"
Radioactive prehistoric sea snails, need I say more?
By Adam Frazier

It 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.

Though monsters 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.

After 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.

When 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 Valley.

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.
Reviewed by: adam
3 Comment(s)
Andy said...
I'm so confused about where I should comment.
Shea said...
I was trying to sleep in the other room while this was are the things I heard from the audience.

"uhhh...can we mute the movie and just see how far we can go with our own dialog"

"AN AX!!!...always the last resort"

"Check the other side?...WHAT? OF THE OCEAN?!!!

"This is a lot like jaws"

Paul said...
Let us suppose for a moment, that a 20 foot tall sea snail has mutated and spawned vial offspring. Then, suppose if you will, that we can't find them, on EITHER side of the ocean! THEN, let's suppose that they have CHALLENGED THE WORLD by escaping into the local canals of the Salton Sea, unable to be stopped by the well-trained canal lock-keeper, nor be kept in suspended animation in a room with no lock on the door or glass on the windows. Lastly, let's suppose this monster can only be defeated not by gun, nor ax, nor any other army-made weapon of destruction, but by...that's right, a fire extinguisher...


postscript ... the world = the local beach patrol of the Salton Sea