The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this horror film, an underwater earthquake in the Sargasso Sea yields up the eggs of a long-extinct sea monster. Once hatched, the monster's offspring sustain themselves by sucking the life forces of various unlucky human land dwellers. Even worse, these horrendous creatures procreate at an incredible rate.
Classics , Horror , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Tim Holt
as Lt. Cmdr. John Twillinger
Hans Conried
as Dr. Jess Rogers
Audrey Dalton
as Gail MacKenzie
Harlan Warde
as Lt. Bob Clemens
Max Showalter
as Tad Johns
Mimi Gibson
as Sandy MacKenzie
Gordon Jones
as Josh Peters
Marjorie Stapp
as Connie Blake
Dennis McCarthy
as George Blake
Barbara Darrow
as Jody Sims
Bob Beneveds
as Mort Beatty
Michael Dugan
as Clarke
Mack Williams
as Capt. Masters
Jody McCrea
as Seaman Fred Johnson
William Swan
as Seaman Howard Sanders
Byron Kane
as Coroner
Hal Taggart
as Mr. Davis
Gilbert Frye
as Deputy Scott
Dan Gachman
as Deputy Brewer
Milton Parsons
as Lewis Clark Dobbs
Ralph Moody
as Old Gatekeeper
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Critic Reviews for The Monster That Challenged the World

All Critics (5)

Giant mollusks as monsters? It sounds like perfect MST3K fodder, but the truth is that The Monster That Challenged the World is a fairly nifty '50s treat, with an intelligent script and decent effects (more so given its low budget).

Full Review… | August 25, 2015
Creative Loafing

As Fifties monster movies go, the 1957 production isn't bad. There are a couple of good shock cuts, a special attention paid to idiosyncratic supporting players, and the usual mix of romance, military efficiency and doomed teenagers.

June 14, 2007

Agreeable retro nonsense.

September 17, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Agreeable sci-fi flick with unusual monster and location.

November 5, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

An enjoyable but poorly made monster film that should satisfy those whose expectations are low.

Full Review… | February 5, 2002
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Monster That Challenged the World


Silly 50's sci-fi.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Yep back in the 50's (or more specifically 1957 it seems) they made horror chillers using every kind of bug they could think of, not even the simple mollusk was able to avoid this fate. Yes a sea snail or sea slug I suppose, only these were of course giant prehistoric versions released by yet another pesky earthquake. To note, the films title is again ridiculous as the monster in question isn't actually a monster, its a mollusk as pointed out in the film, and it didn't challenge the world. The films alternative titles were also kinda dumb, 'The Kraken' which is surely an entirely different mythological beast and 'The Jagged Edge'? eh? So anyway, do I detect a slight pattern in plots here? no no no no no...well yes, apparently so. As I already mentioned the sea beasties are released from their watery tombs by another earthquake, the beginning of all monster movies back then. Various military types are killed which triggers a big the military...again. Yep the good old US of A just loved their military back then, every monster that emerged from a crack caused by an earthquake, was dealt with by the military...after it attacks the military. Suffice to say this leads to the usual crack team of smartly dressed, slick haired chaps, a scientist type (this time a youngish one) and the obligatory attractive woman (this time with a young female child). Guess what follows? I gotta be honest with this one, I found it pretty dull. For the most part this movie is purely dialog with little else happening. The cast go from room to room discussing stuff, from location to location looking at stuff, explaining scenarios to each other, lots of driving around and of course the other obligatory scene where everyone watches an old educational news film reel about their enemy and how it lives. In this case, the life of a snail and how it feeds. On the other hand this is also one of the most atmospheric of the giant bug movies I've seen, along with 'The Black Scorpion'. This movie genuinely had some really solid creepy sequences, when they actually turned up, mainly underwater and the finale. The underwater sequences actually reminded me of Spielberg's 'Jaws' with very similar shots and ideas in general. The way we follow the divers around almost as if it was from the creatures perspective, the fact we actually see dead bodies with minor jump scares, and the way a female gets dragged under the waves. I can well see this movie really terrifying people back in the day for sure, especially when they uncover shrivelled up, skinless bodies exposing muscle and bulging eyes. Another really well directed scene is the finale where we the towering mollusk in a laboratory attacking the female lead. This sequence kinda reminded me of Cronenberg's 'The Fly' at the end, the creatures posture, the eyes, the claws the camera angles etc... All this leads me to the creature itself, a simple yet large mechanical puppet. Now although this thing just looked like a giant slug, it did look very intimidating with its height and huge pincers. The two big round glaring eyes are also very unnerving and eerie, they gave off no emotion, just a cold blank stare, a pure carnivorous predator with one function. The slimy skin texture really boosted the creatures realistic appearance, you can't really see clearly but the black and white film does admittedly help cover any obvious rubber and seams. Overall its a terrific creature and very lifelike, accept for the exaggerated face I suppose, it didn't move much of course but the large puppet interacted very well with the actors. Its just a shame that we don't really see too much of the giant mollusk, though what we do get is pretty epic and classic I reckon, definitely one of the top Hollywood creatures. You could say that they were hiding the beast as much as possible, building up the tension for the finale, but that theory doesn't really add up. On top of that the rest of the movie is pretty uninteresting frankly, things only become fun and engaging when the creature pops up. All the discussions between characters is a really limp affair and you couldn't really care a less.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Fun campy monsters with a average 50's sci-fi plot. Generic characters and little plot-progress, it's pretty much the definition of a low-budget monster movie, but it's great for fans of those.

Wes Shad
Wes Shad

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