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Deadly Mantis [VHS] (1957)

Craig Stevens , William Hopper , Nathan Juran  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Craig Stevens, William Hopper, Alix Talton, Donald Randolph, Pat Conway
  • Directors: Nathan Juran
  • Writers: William Alland, Martin Berkeley
  • Producers: William Alland
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • VHS Release Date: May 26, 1994
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302763916
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,927 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Beware of global warming! After an arctic glacier undergoes a sudden mysterious thaw, the world faces the wrath of a not-so-jolly green giant in this moderately diverting big bug movie. Although the handsomely produced film follows the standard '50s monster movie playbook--plentiful stock footage, tired characterizations, a lengthy intro documenting the wonderfulness of a newfangled gizmo named radar, etc.--a little too closely to be truly memorable, it nonetheless remains a more than acceptable time-waster, with above-average special effects and a nicely atmospheric conclusion inside the Manhattan Tunnel. Writer-producer William Alland, in addition to being affiliated with some of the period's greatest achievements in the horror/sci fi genres (including the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon), is notable for his longtime association with another gigantic force--namely, Orson Welles. --Andrew Wright

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BUGINESS AT ITS BEST! January 7, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Back in the 1950s, giant bug movies were all the rage. Insects like scorpions, spiders, wasps, and ants all got the kaiju upgrade, and it is no suprise that the Praying Mantis got the same treatment. Being made by Universal back in 1957, the movie would be the first in history to star a giant monster attack Washington DC.

The story is basic, a nuclear bomb test had awakened a prehistoric, giant Praying Mantis. The mantis causes quit a stir when it attacks a huge jet and the accident is unexplained, and when a huge hook like object is found in the wreckage. A paleontologist is called in, and quickly finds out that it is from an insect, and a Praying Mantis to be exact. As they study the piece of hook, the Mantis attacks eskimos. As the Paleontologist and his assistant are at a military hanger in the Artic, the mantis attacks them, and is soon made to flee by flame throwers, and then goes to the states, where the real fun begins...

The mantis is spotted and starts to attack buses, trains, and soon Washington DC, missiles miss, bullets have no effect, and nothing seems to stop it. The mantis attacks DC, and craws up the Monument and then flies off to New York City, where it is finally shot down by a missile and then enters the Brookyln Tunnel. The Paleontologist and a few others enter it, and use a special poison gas on the mantid, causing it to fall down...dead.

The movie is good, but fails to compare to movies like "THEM", "THE BLACK SCORPION", and "TARANTULA", but all in all, it is very enjoyable. The acting is solid but tends to make a person squinch once in a while. The effects are good, and the mantid looks great...even if it is missing antenna.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE TRAGIC TALE OF 1 FARMER'S HELPER! September 1, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
I recently rediscovered this long forgotten [for me at least] monster classic after looking at the video box and seeing that Nathan Juran who produced many of Ray Harryhausen's best films also produced this creature feature. Although I saw this movie when it was originally released in 1957, I did not immediately recall seeing it as I did so many others of the same period and genre like,"The Crawling Eye" and "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms". My way of gauging the value of this type of 50's MONSTER/CREATURE FEATURE today [as a mature adult] is whether or not it holds my interest first [usually by a scary credible premise], and then how much I care about the outcome the monster and the people involved. Well this is a formula film though at the time [1957] this was not a cliched theme. The monster is for the time, a very believable huge praying mantis. I have trouble finding this scary, because as a child my mother frequently told me that the praying mantis was one of only a few "good insects" the other being the "lady bug" and that it was a sin to kill one and you could be punished by a fine [if anybody found out]! Okay, so to me it is sort of like the "Giant Lady Bug" but with a sin and a possible fine thrown in as the outcome. Anyway, the film executes itself quite in the same manner as "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms","THEM" or "The Giant Behemoth", all films I enjoy often, but worth watching because they are surprisingly believable.

PLEASE NOTE: To avoid giving away the movie I have to resist going into scene detail though it is tempting.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Not as well known as the other classic sci fi titles from the 1950's like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "Them", or "Creature from the Black Lagoon", "The Deadly Mantis", has on display I feel one of the more original "creatures", that abounded during that decade terrorising countless cities, isolated farmhouses or ships out at sea. The Praying Mantis of the story, a huge prehistoric ancestor of the specimen we know today, is the intriguing creature of the title and it makes for a most enjoyable sci fi film that while always taking itself very seriously as a drama can also be appreciated for the superb special effects that give the impression of a huge bug causing untold destruction in cities and in the airways. I personally feel this "monster", is one of the better of these mutated or reawakened creatures that were common on theatre screens during the fifties. Nathan Juran, a director I admire greatly clocked up an impressive sci fi directing record in the late 50's with not only this effort but also the classics "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman", "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad", and especially "Twenty Million Miles to Earth". He seemed to have one of the best understandings of working in this genre and his efforts are always worth taking a look at.
"The Deadly Mantis", begins with a lengthy explanation of the "new" wonder of this period the radar, how it operates and what it is capable of picking up. The action then moves to a massive volcanic eruption that disturbs the natural order of things in the artic circle. The resulting global warning releases an enourmous prehistoric ancestor of the modern Praying Mantis from its millions of years deep freeze.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Tons of Horror From a Million Years Ago!!!
When the North & South Poles collide, it is almost like two worlds clashing together to wreck havock in the middle, as a volcanic force seems to meet at both ends! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Daquan13
2.0 out of 5 stars You can't pray to this mantis
"The Deadly Mantis" is a monster movie made in 1957. A volcanic eruption on Greenland frees a frozen, jumbo-sized praying mantis from its oblivion. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ashtar Command
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Mantis
Movie was in excellent condition. It was what I wanted in the old sci-fi movie. Would like to see more.
Published 8 months ago by Gloria Hardin
4.0 out of 5 stars In All Of Kingdom Of The Living There Is No More Deadly And Voracious...
4 1/2 Stars = Minor Masterpiece

This film has been unfairly maligned over the years. It is indeed one of the greatest giant monster movies of the 50's, with great... Read more
Published 13 months ago by JAMES MCCORMICK
4.0 out of 5 stars Who's doing the praying now, Mr. Man?
For my money, The Deadly Mantis is one of the better American monster movies of the 1950s. I really don't know why it is overshadowed even by the clearly inferior likes of Attack... Read more
Published on August 19, 2008 by Daniel Jolley
5.0 out of 5 stars Foe Every Action, There is an Equal and Opposite Reaction!!
After monster glacier erruptions occurs in both the South Pole and the North Pole, the dreaded horrible truth is revealed. Read more
Published on July 27, 2008
The 50's was a time when no bug was safe from becoming the next giant menace to society. 'The Deadly Mantis' is a fairly good entry in this series but, not the best. Read more
Published on November 1, 2007 by ! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b
2.0 out of 5 stars No No No
Although I've seen many movies worse than this one, there is no way I can possibly call the Deadly Mantis good in any way. Read more
Published on September 4, 2006 by theboombody
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Average Giant Bug Flick from Universal Pictures
From the golden age of Universal Pictures, "The Deadly Mantis" (1957) is an above-average giant insect film directed by Nathan Juran in glorious black and white. Read more
Published on June 11, 2006 by Harry Fink
4.0 out of 5 stars It Ain't Easy Being Green----and 50 Feet Tall!
I've been a huge (pardon the pun) fan of the big bug movies from the 50's ever since I was a kid, and "The Deadly Mantis" is second only to the legendary "Them! Read more
Published on September 26, 2004 by Jeffrey C. Branch
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Topic From this Discussion
That would be nice. I still have my VHS player, but the movie's probably going to look terrible on VHS.
May 26, 2009 by brownie |  See all 3 posts
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