‘The nightmare terror of the slithering eye that unleashed agonizing horror on a screaming world!’
The Trollenberg Terror is the title of both a 1956 “Saturday Serial” ITV British television programme and a better-known 1958 science fiction horror film (in the US it was released as The Crawling Eye).
Both TV and cinema versions were directed by Quentin Lawrence and feature Laurence Payne as journalist Philip Truscott, who investigates unusual accidents occurring at a Swiss resort. The film also stars Forrest Tucker as United Nations troubleshooter Alan Brooks. Peter Key wrote the story for the serial, and Jimmy Sangster scripted the film version based on Keys’ story for producers Monty Berman and Robert Baker.
The film was distributed in the UK by Eros Films Ltd. and in the US by Distributors Corporation of America (DCA).
One of three student climbers is mysteriously killed on a mountain, his head ripped off. Two sisters are on a train to Geneva. Anne faints as they pass a mountain and on waking, she now knows all about the town and that there is something wrong with the mountain. She decides they should get off at the next stop, Trollenberg. She was part of a mind-reading act in London.
Alan, who was on the train with them, goes to an observatory a little way up the mountain, where Professor Crevett (Warren Mitchell) asks for his help. He is told that despite many accidents, dead bodies are never found on the mountain and a radioactive mist cloud is always on its south side…
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“This film is badly hampered by an extremely low budget, and sluggish direction by Quentin Lawrence, which doesn’t wring anywhere near as much paranoia and atmosphere from the story as it should. Nonetheless, the story is fun and irresistible to fans of invading alien movies.” This Island Rod
” … well-directed with Quentin Lawrence adding a tense psychological dimension that is enough to make it a good film.” Moria
“… we get a couple of decapitations and a surprising “head in a rucksack” shot that I wasn’t expecting. As well as playing out like a high-altitude reworking of The Thing, withholding the big reveal until the final act adds a layer of Lovecraftian paranoia…” Heropress
“For all the silly pseudo-science and cheesy sensationalism, The Trollenberg Terror makes the grade as an engaging, fast-paced thriller. Its no worse than most fifties creature features and its merits elevate it above much of the genre.” James Oliver, Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems
Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk
“Efficient low-budget science fiction thriller spoiled by unimpressive special effects, slack direction and hurried exposition.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982
Director John Carpenter saw the film as a youngster and it apparently influenced him to make The Fog (1980)
The film is mentioned in Stephen King’s 1986 horror novel It as having been watched by one of its protagonists, and The Crawling Eye itself later appears as a manifestation of the novel’s title monster.
A song called “Crawling Eye” is featured on American horror punk band The Misfits‘ 1999 album, Famous Monsters.
Cast and characters:
- Forrest Tucker as Alan Brooks
- Laurence Payne as Philip Truscott
- Jennifer Jayne as Sarah Pilgrim
- Janet Munro as Anne Pilgrim
- Warren Mitchell as Professor Crevett
- Frederick Schiller as Klein
- Andrew Faulds as Brett
- Stuart Saunders as Dewhurst
- Colin Douglas as Hans
- Derek Sydney as Wilde
- Richard Golding as the first villager
- George Herbert as the second villager
- Anne Sharp as German woman
- Leslie Heritage as Carl
- Jeremy Longhurst as first student climber
- Anthony Parker as second student climber
- Theodore Wilhelm as Fritz
- Garard Green as Pilot
- Caroline Claser as Little girl