The Killer Shrews (1959)

The story is intriguing: a scientist experiments with rodents, who turn into giant mutants, running loose on a island of seven people, including his daughter. When their food supply runs out, the creatures turn cannibalistic. Ingrid Goude is good as the lone female, while James Best is best as a seaman who tangles with a drunkard (Ken Curtis) for her affections. But the romantic entanglements soon dissipate when the giant shrews, seeking food, start gnawing at the house of the islanders. This theme predates “The Birds” (1963), “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), even “Signs” (2002).If the monster costumes disappoint, the music, sound effects, performances, atmosphere and pacing more than compensate.