This cut-price poppycock begins with husky seaman Thorne Sherman (James Best) arriving with supplies for Doctor Craigis (Baruch Lumet), a scientist working on an isolated island with his team.
A storm breaks before the goods can be unloaded, and Thorne is forced to stay the night.
He soon discovers that the experiments by Craigis and his associates have transformed shrews into vicious, flesh-devouring animals.
The shrews attack, but Craigis and his daughter Ann (Ingrid Goude), and Thorne survive. The three eventually safely reach Thorne’s ship in a makeshift tank.
The movie – made on a shoestring – was filmed at Cielo Ranch, a 100-acre estate on the shore of Lake Lewisville (north of Dallas, Texas), which was owned by star/producer Gordon McLendon who invested $125,000 in the movie and remarked in a 1984 Los Angeles Times article that he quintupled his money in profits.
Close-ups of the giant shrews were filmed using hand puppets. The wider shots used dogs made up as the shrews. Actor Ken Curtis commented that he had to force himself not to laugh during filming when the shrews attacked because they were basically just “dogs covered in shag carpet.”
A sequel – Return of the Killer Shrews – was produced 53 years later in 2012, again starring James Best as Thorne Sherman.
Dr Radford Baines/Narrator
Dr Marlowe Craigis
Judge Henry Dupree
Alfredo de Soto