BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Deadly Mantis (1957) - Blu-ray Review

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The Deadly Mantis (1957) - Blu-ray

With all its talk of radars and Pine Tree Radar Fences, it’s a wonder that The Deadly Mantis, warning of a sneak attack across the polar ice (by anyone), manages to be so much fun.  STILL!  But, honestly, few things in the cinematic world beat the scene where the giant insect SLOWLY approaches the house where our scientists are taking shelter.  That scene is still a marvel – especially in HD!

Because, damn, this film – using way too much stock footage and dry science – can be a bit of a slough to get through.  And that narrator, sounding a bit too much like Charles Foster Kane’s News on the March!, doesn’t really help sell the sound of giant radioactive bugs sneaking their way across the continent.

"The Deadly Mantis is yet another Universal-International science fiction tale that warns of atomic blasts and radiation in the similar vein of Them!  Although, admittedly, it’s not entirely that great of a B-movie."


It starts with an explosion.  And then logic follows as we are told that for every action, there is an opposite and equal action.  So, from the South Seas straight to the Arctic Circle we go, as The Deadly Mantis is unthawed and eventually unleashed from its prehistoric ice tomb deep in the water and makes its way toward civilization.

Start the screaming now! 

Produced by William Alland and starring Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Pat Conway, and Alix Talton, The Deadly Mantis is yet another Universal-International science fiction tale that warns of atomic blasts and radiation in the similar vein of Them!  Although, admittedly, it’s not entirely that great of a B-movie.

The action actually begins when Commanding officer Col. Joe Parkman (Stevens) discovers that an entire arctic post has been destroyed by something strange.  It either burrows under the frozen ground and then springs out or it is landing on the frozen tundra, leaving all sorts of unusual markings on the things it destroys.  Not to mention, all the men are gone. 

And then, as another crew is sent out to investigate, the strange noises are heard again!  Something deadly is coming and it is more than a little angry about being awoken.  But, as the attacks progress, no one knows what exactly this thing is.

Well, we know what it is and, thankfully, Scream Factory, using the film’s original 35mm elements, presents The Deadly Mantis on blu-ray thanks to a brand-new 2K scan.  The hook has never before seen with such detail! The Deadly Mantis (1957) - Blu-ray

Director Nathan Juran, working with a huge papier-mâché model of a mantis, loads his film with lots of footage from actual army footage.  In that way, the planes and the troops are real, yet this overreliance of stock footage kills a lot of the narrative drive of the film.  It also diminishes the effect of having a hydraulic-infused praying mantis as your main event. 

That doesn’t keep him from turning up the special effects as a REAL praying mantis climbs on the Washington Monument.  Using the same logic as Jurassic Park (we know which came first), The Deadly Mantis has a lot of amber and a lot of theories about how something this big survived. 

Gentlemen, let’s NOT be logical.  The Deadly Mantis is upon us!  In all the living world, there’s nothing more deadly than this flying insect.  Find out now and get your copy of The Deadly Mantis!

3/5 beers

The Deadly Mantis (1957) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
79 mins
Director
: Nathan Juran
Writer:
Martin Berkeley
Cast:
Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton
Genre: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Out of a million years ago ... a thousand tons of horror!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Maybe there's an ordinary explanation to what happened, but I wouldn't take any bets."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 26, 1957
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 19, 2019
Synopsis: What's worse than a horde of locusts? A gigantic man-eating praying mantis, released from a million years of deep, frozen sleep and ready to claw its way to world domination!

This menacing insect kills everything in its path while scientists and military men work feverishly to stop it. Craig Stevens (Abbott And Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde) stars as the commander in charge of putting an end to this beastly insect with William Hopper (20 Million Miles To Earth) as the paleontologist and Alix Talton (The Man Who Knew Too Much) as his beautiful assistant, a photojournalist, assigned to help in this epic battle between man and mantis!

The Deadly Mantis (1957) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- March 19, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
:
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Deadly Mantis is presented in 1080p with a crisp transfer that handles the blacks and grays quite well. The 2K restoration pulls out nice black levels and an even balance of the greys.  Shadows, while not too terribly detailed, are thick and atmospheric throughout. Presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the film looks marvelous and easily beats the poor appearance on television and on home video DVD that has previously dogged it. The sound is presented in a solid DTS-HD Master Audio English track that is perfect for the film’s low budget demands.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by film historians Tom Weaver and David Schecter, the commentary that is included with this release is pretty damn informative.

Special Features:

Scream Factory loads this release with the hilarious Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode that featured The Deadly Mantis.  We also get a still gallery and a theatrical trailer.

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode: The Deadly Mantis
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Deadly Mantis (1957) - Blu-ray

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