Film Review: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)


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Grant Williams plays the eponymous shrinking man in this terrific sci-fi/horror gem.

This terrifying tale of emasculation is my favorite sci-fi/horror flick from the atomic age. Grant Williams stars as Scott Carey, a man who gets caught in a strange mist while boating with his wife. Afterwards, he notices his clothes don’t fit quite like they used to. His wife assures him everything is fine, that he just needs to eat more. A few days later, she finds she no longer has to get on her tip-toes to kiss him, and before you know it, his wedding ring falls right off his shrinking finger. “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” written by sci-fi master Richard Matheson, is the ultimate male panic movie, an impotence allegory that far exceeds your B-movie expectations. It’s genius from beginning to end, with Scott’s situation growing exponentially dire. At first, there’s concern about his marriage (ability to sexually satisfy?), then concerns about being a freak (he tries dating a midget), and then you get to the famous scene where the cat scares him right out of his doll house. The final thirty minutes are an epic of miniature proportions, where Scott nearly perishes in a basement flood and ends up fighting a spider for the only crumbs of food in sight. The film ends with him desperate to find comfort in the fact that no matter how small he is, he still exists. I’m always interested when men are the victims in horror movies, if only because we so rarely are. I think we must surely have at least as many insecurities as our female counterparts, and Matheson preys upon one that I challenge any man to deny: his preoccupation with size.

Rating: 4.5/5 ★★★★½ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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