Friday, October 22, 2004

how not to rename a film on re-release

The DVD for The Trollenberg Terror (more info) bears the title The Crawling Eye. Everything else including the censor certificate bears the original title. The film (evidently a spin-off from a TV show) is a fairly engaging bit of good ol' sci-fi-esque horror -- strange decapitations by a radioactive cloud hovering near the top of the Trollenberg mountain, a telepath, and the unfortunate laughable cliché of the American superstar/hero who has all the brain and brawn while everyone else (read: every other European) (including eminent scientists) seems at their wit's end. The writing's merits stem from Jimmy Sangster, a familiar name from the Hammer horrors. And the film benefits from the Tourneur-esque "less is more" approach, except when the monster is finally revealed -- it's a large eye with tentacles (the ideal reaction would be a nod of appreciation at the effectiveness of the construction as well as a round of ROTFL). And with the revised title of The Crawling Eye, you lose out on anything that they were building up to. As with most of these old invasion horrors, the denouement is quick and terse. Stanley Black provides some appropriately chilling background music. The opening credit sequence begins as a train enters a tunnel. Against the dark background, arrows slide in along the X and Y axes to point to credits (which begin in white letters and later move on to collections in black against grey-filled boxes). When Anne (the telepath) suddenly begins to insist that they break their train journey at Trollenberg instead of going on to Geneva (their original destination) and stop at the hotel Europa (a place she has never heard of or been to), the first thing that popped into my head was a similar sequence (with different motivations, of course) from Kudrat with Hema Malini. No further comparisons intended, clearly.

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