The Deadly Mantis – Blu-ray review
By Brian M. Sammons
Director: Nathan Juran
Stars: Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton
I don’t know about you, but I love big bug movies from the 50s. Maybe because I grew up watching them on the Saturday Afternoon Thriller Double Feature on TV as a kid? Maybe because as hokey and silly as they are they’re still a lot of fun? Whatever the case I will always dig old big bug movies and this one is one of the best. So three cheers to Scream Factory for putting this out on Blu-ray, but is it worth a get? Well grab your can of Raid, get out you big, BIG bug squishing boots, and let’s find out.
A volcano erupts in Antarctica and in Greenland an iceberg melts and releases a gigantic praying mantis from prehistoric times. So yeah, unlike other big bug movies of the time, this one doesn’t have The Bomb and/or radiation as the culprit for the big bug. That’s nice. So the recently thawed mantis stars south attacking various radar outposts, boats, busses, and towns. When the big bug sets its sights on Washington D.C. it’s up to the military to squash that mantis.
This is typical 50s sci-fi fare with moral lessons, the government knowing best, and women screaming, biting their knuckles, and doing little else. It is also loaded with stock footage and padded to the gills, so at times it can be a bit long, even at just an hour and nineteen minutes in length. As for the special effects, well it was the 50s and this was the B-est of B movies, but the giant mantis looks good to passable and it’s silly fun to watch it wreck stuff and that’s all I want when it comes to film like this.
Let’s get to the extras that Scream Factory has put out with this new Blu-ray edition of this classic monster movie. First there the full, complete Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode that riffed this film back in 1997. As a huge fan of MST3K that is a nice big extra for this film. I love it. Then there is an audio commentary with film historians Tom Weaving and David Schecter that was a lot of fun and very educational. There is also a still gallery and a theatrical trailer. So for a movie that is 61 years old, that’s isn’t a bad collection of goodies.
The Deadly Mantis is a lot of fun if you are a fan of these corny old movies. The addition of the MST3K episode is the perfect cherry on top, so even if you don’t love big bug movies, you’ll love laughing at it with Mike and the bots. I love both of those things so yeah, this new Blu-ray gets a big recommendation from me. Be sure to pick it up when it comes out March 19th.