THE TROLLENBERG TERROR
THE CRAWLING EYE
The Trollenberg Terror, more well known under its crasser American retitling The Crawling Eye, was originally based on a tv serial The Trollenberg Terror (1956) that aired in six half-hour episodes. The film version was also directed by Quentin Lawrence and retains several members of the original cast. The film version was clearly hoping to copy the Quatermass films, which had been similarly adapted from tv serials into films with some success by Hammer Films.
The Trollenberg Terror is not an astoundingly great film its story and the ground it covers is standard for the genre and all the rest, including the acting and effects is no more, no less than the average science-fiction film of the period. It is however well directed with Quentin Lawrence adding a tense psychological dimension that is enough to make it a good film. In scenes like the one where Janet Munro picks up visions of the men on the mountain during an ordinary parlour trick or where the undead Andrew Faulds returns and attacks Janet Munro with a knife, Quentin Lawrence makes striking contrasts between fore and back-ground and light and shadow. Lawrence also adds horror effects that were daring for the time of decapitated bodies and dismembered heads turning up in bloodied knapsacks.
However, when The Trollenberg Terror moves from the realm of psychological to outright horror when it confronts its aliens it becomes less effective. The image of a giant pulsating blob with a single eye sitting outside the hotels double-doors is compelling but the blob proves severely limited when required to do more than that. Forrest Tuckers venture back down to the hotel to rescue the little girl is a decidedly unheroic affair thanks to a laughably unconvincing fight with a set of telephone-cable thin tentacles. The climactic fight with the aliens on the mountainside is badly let down by poor effects, especially the image of a bomber doing absurdly low strafing runs on the observatory, almost to the point of touching the roof. The locations are also betrayed by obvious cuts between second unit location pick-ups, back projection and painted cyclorama the hut sitting on the mountainside looks more like something one would put on a Christmas cake.