Made near Dallas, Texas, The Killer Shrews (1959) and The Giant Gila Monster (1959) wrapped back-to-back on the same soundstages. Setting producers back $123,000, The Killer Shrews leaned on its director Ray Kellogg who acted as head of 20th Century Fox’s fx department for most of the 50s and supervised Shrews’ special effects. Hand puppets on close-ups and hunting dogs costumed as shrews in the wider shots, the illusion translated to a million in box office. Present Time, The Mads Drilling Into The Earth, Jim Henson’s Edgar Winter Babies, Junior Rodeo Daredevils, The New Killer Shrew Boardgame, The Killer Shrew Drink. “Starring Joan Collins and Jackie Collins”, “Ooh I passed a Bluestone last night let me tell you”, “Hey it’s PT-90210.” “Four Weeks Later” or “Full Speed Ahead”?
The Killer Shrew Brew.
I am an absolute sucker for alcoholism jokes, so this is a favorite episode of mine. I also love the Killer Shrews board game that makes the bots break down in tears.
I talked about the Killer Shrew Brew a few times before.
Again, despite the fact that I have a sweet tooth, I refuse to drink something that has WAY too much sugar in it.
This is another black and white monster movie I’ve got a soft spot for. Let me just stop and make a drink. Shrews are awesome, cheesy puppets are awesome, and dogs wearing throw rugs are… awesome? Hang on, I need to freshen up my drink. The premise itself actually makes more sense than a lot of monster movies, and the characters play it straight enough that it almost works as a horror movie. Drinks, anyone? It’s got some memorable characters in it, too, even if all they do is stand around drinking all the time. Speaking of drinks, I think I’ll help myself to another one.
This is one of my absolute favorites. I introduced a friend to MST3k with this movie and she said she was actually frightened of the “shrews” until I reminded her that they’re dogs with rugs. I find myself humming the Killer Shrews song often, but have never had the Killer Shrew drink (honestly, it’s too scary!).
Here’s a dirty little secret. George Romero was essentially ripping off The Killer Shrews when he made Night of the Living Dead. Both center around a gathering of people trapped in a house besieged by monsters which can effectively kill by inflicting a mere scratch, where they spend most of their time arguing. The only practical difference is that in Shrews the black guy dies first.
Is that the shoe she lost during the escape? Seems very in-character. If we’re pretending that she had any character.
That poster definitely shows what you could do with this movie if you really wanted to. A giant shrew would be terrifying, and now we know that some of them are actually venomous. I’d happily have an army of them. I mean, if I was that kind of maniacal supervillain, which I am definitely not.
By the way, has anyone ever tallied up how many of these coocoo Science Guys committed wholesale manslaughter, or (in the case of the drunken, mush-mouthed clown in this flick) trashed the ecosystem of an entire island that they probably didn’t even own-- without ever seeming more than about 2% contrite about it? I have a feeling it would be a long, LONG list.
But it’s FOR SCIENCE!!
Not seeing the whole creature HELPS.
None of them had tails like that anyway.
Yes. The imagination of the poster art topped that of the movie.
The thing about The Killer Shrews is that it’s the MST3K episode that arguably has the most significant audio issues. Those lines of dialogue are SO GARBLED. So you have the guys trying to compensate for that by gleaning humor through misunderstanding what the characters are saying. And it works!
I like how the movie has this tight feel to it, that it’s cozy in the most positive of viewpoints and claustrophobic in the most unflattering opinions. Either which way, it’s that tightness lends so much to the atmosphere (conveniently ignoring that absurdly spacious basement), and thus, makes it far more watchable than it has any right being.
This was made by the same team that brought you The Giant Gila Monster. In terms of the film experience and the MST3K episode experience, I’d go with The Giant Gila Monster, but these two WOULD make for a fun double-feature, if not a “compare and contrast these films” analysis.
Having watched plenty of Gunsmoke reruns on TV Land, I got a kick out of seeing Ken Curtis (aka TV’s Festus) doing his thing and drawing some fun riffs. The many drinking scenes help, too, and contribute to an underrated stinger.
The less said about those shrews, the better.
This is one of those episodes where the movie treatment gets upstaged by the treatment of the short, Junior Rodeo Daredevils. There’s a reason why we see references to Ol’ Timer Billy Slater lasting down the road, even to the Sci-Fi era. It’s a jarring short to watch, but the dark humor is able to eclipse that.
On the host segment side of things, I adore the hell outta the Killer Shrews Drink sketch. But I also love board game humor, so the Killer Shrew Board Game sketch was a hoot as well. Severely underrated is the one where Joel gets all folksy and starts tossing out random phrases.
And we can’t forget that this is the episode where Crow gets his sensible brown slacks!