The Trellenberg Terror

Posted: 11 May, 2018 in Movies, Rants
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Or, I Loves Me Some Scary Movies!

It’s 1964 and we’re living in upper Putnam County, New York. Just about an hour’s drive from New York City. Dad’s in the Air Force, which has sent him to Turkey for a year and a half. Mom’s parents live about a mile or so from the house we rented, which is why we rented it: so we’d have some support close by.

WOR-TV, Channel 9 out of New York City, has a series called "The Million Dollar Movie." I never knew why they called it that. The format was that every day for an entire week, they’d show the same movie again and again. Once in the afternoon and once more in the evening.

Friday nights found us (Mom, me, and my two brothers) eating dinner at Grandma’s house, after which my brothers and I would watch the Million Dollar Movie while the grownups sat in the dining room, doing whatever it was that grownups did.

One particular Friday, the movie was "The Crawling Eye." The original title was "The Trellenberg Terror," but I guess the powers that be decided that didn’t sound interesting enough for American audiences, so they renamed it.

The plot was simple: aliens from space had landed in the German Alps, where the cold apparently mimicked their climate back home. This was their base from which they were going to convert the Earth so it could become their new home. Whenever the aliens approached, they were preceded by a cold, radioactive cloud.

In 1964, this was pretty scary.

Jump Ahead a Few Years

Now it’s 1982, and the family is living in Anchorage, Alaska. A few favorite summertime activities are hiking, fishing, and camping. And one of our favorite places for camping was a rented US Forest Service cabin a the top of the Crow Pass Trail, so named because of its proximity to the Raven Glacier.

The trailhead was reached by driving south of Anchorage for about an hour. A 3-mile hike took us to the cabin. Ironically, this put us about 15 miles south of the town of Eagle River—which was about 15 miles north of Anchorage. Ain’t geography fun?

Anyway, it’s a beautiful summer’s eve and my brothers and I have arrived at the cabin and unpacked our gear. Since the cabin was above the tree-line, we’d packed in 5 gallons of kerosene for the stove. Hey, it gets cold in the mountains at night! We’d lit the stove, and were sitting on the front porch, looking down to the valley below…and passing around some fine herb. "Matanuska Thunderfuck," our dealer friend called it.

The valley gradually began filling with fog. My brother John just had to say it: "It’s the Crawling Eye fog!"

We spent the night sleeping on the second floor of the cabin, with the door latched and our camping gear piled on top of the access hatch.

All of this came back to me after I watched "The Trellenberg Terror", aka "The Crawling Eye," on the Internet. Is it just me, or does nobody make decent—if only B-Grade—horror movies any more?

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