Poor Jeff Morrow!
The congenial star of such sci-fi greats of the 50s such as This Island Earth and Kronos was just an average guy to his neighbours. His business was acting and he was no different than the local doctor, the mayor or the neighborhood Chevrolet dealer.
He would make a habit of attending the first screening of his latest movie in his small town. This would give his neighbours a sense of glamor. The friday night screenings at the local Bijou would find themselves transformed into a bit of an event- an occasion if you will. Morrow would shake hands with the people going in and hang around after the screening to chat congenially.
One night the film that opened was The Giant Claw, the latest offering from producer Sam Katzman and director Fred F. Sears. It promised to be quite a spectacular film. The same duo had previously offered us Earth vs The Science Saucers , an epic alien invasion film which boasted special effects by none other than Ray Harryhausen.
And so it was that that fateful friday, the good neighbours gathered for their little slice of Tinseltown, excited at the prospect of seeing a prehistoric bird “as big as a battleship” destroy the country’s notable tourist spots.
As the film unspooled, however, the audience started giggling. Something was amiss. With each appearance, the laughter grew until it reached hysterical peaks.
Morrow leaned over to his wife, whispered “I’ll be waiting in the car” and silently sneaked out, obscuring his face with his hat.
As it turned out, the producer ran out of budget before finishing the film. he could no longer afford the very time-consuming work by Harryhausen. Spinning saucers is one thing but bringing a giant bird to life is a lot more work for the animator. So he was forced to hire a team of puppeteers from Mexico who gave him this :
Dubbed “La Cacargne” by a “superstitious French Canadian” in upper New-York state (who acts like your stereotypical supersticious mexican only sports a terrible “french” accent), this stupid -looking bird ranks right up there with Robot Monster‘s Ro-man and El Santo’s “Dwarves-under-a-blaket blob” for most laughable monster ever. La Cacargne (or la Cacanya as it is pronounced in Hollywood’s version of the Quebec patois) is described by “goner” Pierre (who will die but be replaced by his brother Jacques, played by the same actor) as having the body of woman with a wolf’s head and bat-like black wings. [ Note: The Cinémasochist is very familiar with French-canadian folklore but has no freaking idea what the crap that hysterical fake frog is yammering about.]
The complete epic unspools below. Beware!
Pain Level: 8/10 (9/10 if you are French-Canadian)
Quality of Pain: Laughter will produce enough endorphins to quell the pain. Promise.
Painjoyment™ Index: Maximum!