Film (1957). Universal. Directed by John Sherwood. Written by Norman Jolley, Robert M Fresco (1930-2014), based on a story by Jack Arnold and Fresco. Cast includes Lola Albright, Les Tremayne and Grant Williams. 77 minutes. Black and white.
In this rather good little film, crystals from a meteorite that has fallen near a small desert town grow and multiply rapidly when wet. They also cause death by absorbing all the silicon from any living thing that touches them, paradoxically turning the victims to stone. There is a rainstorm: the outstandingly surreal sequences of the crystals rearing up and crashing down, in their inexorable march towards the seemingly doomed town, are memorable. Then it is discovered that ordinary salt will stop them. Sherwood's debt to Jack Arnold is obvious, especially in the moody desert landscapes. The idea of the marching crystals may well have been borrowed from The Crystal Horde (Winter 1930 Amazing Stories Quarterly as "White Lily"; 1952) by John Taine. [JB/PN]
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