The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Talon the Giant Killer Claw is a lousy novel with a pinch of charm. In other words, it’s a lot like the infamous movie it’s based on.

Back in 1957, moviegoers laughed out loud when they first saw The Giant Claw in theaters. Positioned to be the next monster movie blockbuster, it turned out to be a disappointing mix of bad plotting, bad acting and bad science.

But mostly what earned The Giant Claw its ignominious reputation was the big bird itself. Initially hoping to enlist the talents of Ray Harryhausen to animate the giant turkey vulture, the crew ultimately hired an inferior production outfit that produced a goofy-looking marionette.

In all other respects, The Giant Claw was a typical low-budget monster movie from the 50s—featuring preposterous science and predictable scripting along with modest acting (including the talents of Playboy model Mara Corday). But the bird! My goodness, audiences from the Eisenhower era couldn’t forgive the goddamn bird. If you’re curious, you can see the movie for yourself (here).

A funny thing happened on the way to the future, however. Over the years, the titular creature became the gold standard for wacky kaiju movie FX. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The only reason people remember The Giant Claw today is because of its half-assed, low-rent puppeteering.

And now we have a dubious sequel to The Giant Claw in prose format. Lucky us. Talon the Giant Killer Claw begins immediate after the movie ends and takes readers up to the present. Note: Don’t get confused—character names have been changed to protect the innocent.

A “Dimensional Protoplasm” wormhole is discovered in a cave at the Mexican border and suddenly the earth is alive with mutant kaiju. There are giant moles, a huge Chupacabra-like thingy and of course there’s another Giant Claw to worry about.

There are also vampires—lots of vampires. The whole area is swarming with Latino bloodsuckers. If something isn’t done immediately, the earth was doomed to become the playground for vampires and giant killer monsters.

The situation is eventually stabilized thanks to the efforts of the Mexican military, a charitable space alien, a gaggle of comandos vampiros and a secret U.S. agency tasked to confront ecological anomalies. In the end, the author leaves the door open for future sequels. Like it or not, The Giant Claw is the gift that keeps on giving.

[Talon the Giant Killer Claw / By T.E. Heglin / First Printing: April 2021 / ISBN: 9798733223988]