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Attack of the Crab Monsters

Black-and-white quarry-bound Cormania, with the titular monsters rendered in full-size, rather wobbly-pincered, lumbering fibreglass. It’s a thing, isn’t it, the life-size sci-fi monster? Not stop-motion, not a model, most certainly not the old lizard-plus-body-kit cop-out, it’s an area of special effects not covered in so much detail. To be strict, we’re not talking bloke-in-costume, but massive on-set puppet here, so Skaroth and various other Who monsters wouldn’t count (but The Nucleus of The Swarm would). It’s an odd sort of trade-off – what you lose in fluidity of motion you gain in a sense of physical presence – plus it cuts out the need for fiddly optical superimposition, of course. They may be ignored by yer trad monster buffs, but we’ve always admired the craft – building something on that scale isn’t to be sneezed at, and then there’s the logistics of transporting the whole thing to the obligatory square mile of Californian desert for shooting, operating the thing in a cramped little gulley, not to mention the inevitable running repairs. So we doff our caps to the likes of Roger Dicken, creator of that life-size giant octopus that turns up at the end of Warlords of Atlantis, which is sneered at by the many, but there’s a certain wibbly wobbly weight to it we really like.

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