I remember once, as a teen, I was down at Point Arena cove with my dad, getting some quality abalone picking in. I came to a tide pool filled with sand, and on a lark I decided to dig into the sand with my hands. I dug for a few seconds, made a hole, then straightened up to watch it fill in with water. In that instant, a kelp crab reared up out of the sand precisely where my fingers had been a moment before. For those who don't know what a kelp crab looks like... check out the picture. My memory says the thing was about a foot across... it was probably closer to six or eight inches across. Regardless, I missed having my finger snatched by a spiky brown alien monster by only a few seconds. I never dug in a sandy tide pool again.
|"I HUNGER FOR HUMAN FINGERS!"|
Giant crabs and their kind show up relatively often in fiction, if you know where to look. There's Ebirah, one of the various kaiju that co-stars now and then with Godzilla, although Ebirah's more properly qualified as a giant lobster. There's also the giant crab that menaces the cast of The Mysterious Island. That crab's got the distinction of being an actual crab shell that was then articulated and animated by Ray Harryhausen, and as you can see in the clip at the bottom of this post... it looks pretty awesome, even half a century later! And then there's The Lost Continent, which is about a ship full of sweaty dynamite, man-eating seaweed, the descendants of the Spanish Inquisition stranded on said lost continent, and a fight between a giant crab and a scorpion.
kill them and eat their brains to absorb their knowledge... they mock and threaten humans while they do it! This movie is nearly perfect!
There's also a series of books (SEVEN!) by a man named Guy N. Smith that features crabs. He's also written a few short stories about his favorite critter, and it's one of those that I've read—I've not yet read his novels. Come to think of it... I should do so. Huh... looks like the first of those books became a movie called Island Claws. Unseen by me—and indeed, never even heard of by me before this post. Island Claws isn't out on DVD or Blu-ray or on Netflix... but as is the case with such obscure old movies, it DOES appear to be on You Tube, and the first of the crab books he wrote is available on the Kindle... The movie (which I just watched a little bit of) looks disco-riffic—not a quality I associate with giant crabs, but skipping ahead, the giant crab itself looks not bad for a 3-decade-old movie. I can't yet put any of his books down as recommended reading, since I haven't read any yet...
Perhaps I jumped the gun on this giant crab post. Obviously, I need to educate myself more on the genre!
- Attack of the Crab Monsters, dir. Roger Corman
- The Lost Continent, dir. Michael Carreras
- Mysterious Island, dir. Cy Endfield
- Gojira, Ebira, Mosura: Nankai no daiketto (AKA Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster), dir. Jun Fukuda
- Gojira: Fainaru uozu (AKA Godzilla: Final Wars), dir. Ryuhei Kitamura