With their little beady eyes and murderous poison-tipped fangs flashing a wolf-pack of some 200 to 300 giant killer shrews have overrun an almost deserted island off the US Atlantic coast devouring everything on it in order to stay alive and not starve to death. These killer shrews were a experiment in world population control that went wrong by Dr. Mio Craigis, Bruch Lumet, and his colleague Dr. Baines, Gordon McLendod, who were on he island with Dr. Craigis’ gorgeous daughter Ann, Ingrid Goude, and the doctors assistant, Jerry, Ken Curtis, and the handyman Mario, Alfredo De Soto. It was Jerry who while in a drunken stupor left the cages of the shrews open for them to escape and multiply in the wild and become the deadly threat that they are now. Jerry also became the shrews main course for lunch the next afternoon.
In the middle of all this the skipper Capt. Thorne Sherman, James Best, and his good friend and 1st as well as only mate “Rook” Judge Henry Dupree come ashore to bring the monthly supply of food and medicine for the island staff not knowing just what their in for. Trying to keep the news of the deadly shrews from them, the skipper an his mate, “Rook” is later killed and eaten by a gang of shrews as he went back to bring the supplies ashore.
With the skipper now taking charge he and the people on the island try to hold off the deadly shrews as they devour everything alive on the island as they plan to keep the shrews outside their compound long enough for them to cannibalize each other until their all destroyed before devouring them, but the deadly shrews have other planes.
Fairly good horror thriller with the skipper saving the day as well as the island survivors, Dr. Craigis & Ann, as well as in the end getting the girl Ann and planing with her to re-populate the earth. In spite of the acute food shortage that Ann’s father Dr. Craigis was trying to alleviate. Even though many people and critics made fun of the killer shrews looking like dogs wearing badly moth-eaten fur coats they were as real and as terrifying as Hollywood could make them look back then, 1959. The movies ending was both tense as well as exciting as the skipper the doctor and the girl escaped with steel drums turned over on them and tied together to protect them from the shrews. As they slowly trekked from the island compound to the sea and then swam to the skippers boat to freedom and safety.
Gordon McLendon easily stole the show as the absentminded Dr. Baines who you sometime needed sub-titles to understand his babbling all kinds of scientific lingo that nobody in the theater audience, as well as almost every one in the movie cast, could understand. Baines was so focused on his work that when Mario died from a killer shrew bite he excitedly said that isn’t it wonderful that the poison that we put out as bait to kill the shrews was absorbed in their systems and has now become part of their natural chemistry! WHAT A NUT!!! Also later when Dr. Baines was attacked and bitten by a charging killer shrew he goes to his typewriter and typed out the symptoms of the poison from the bite that would eventually kill him up until the moment that he expired!