Close-ups of the giant shrews were filmed using hand puppets. The wider shots used dogs made up as the shrews.
This low-budget feature is still regarded as one of the most successful "regional films." Unlike other regional films, it not only received national distribution but also had some foreign sales.
The man playing Dr. Baines is Gordon McLendon. He was the uncredited executive producer and financier of this and its companion feature The Giant Gila Monster (1959). He owned radio stations and a chain of theaters in Texas.
This film and its companion piece, The Giant Gila Monster (1959), marked the directorial debut of veteran special effects man Ray Kellogg.
Coon dogs were used to play the killer shrews.
This was one of two features produced by an independent company in Texas and intended to be distributed as a double feature. The other feature was The Giant Gila Monster (1959).
Producer/star Gordon McLendon (Dr. Baines) invested $125,000 and remarked in a 1984 L.A. Times article that he quintupled his money in profits.
A sequel, Return of the Killer Shrews, was produced in 2012, again starring Best as Thorne Sherman. Bruce Davison took the role of Jerry. The film also starred John Schneider and Rick Hurst, Best's co-stars in The Dukes of Hazzard. The length of time between the original film's release and the sequel's release (over 54 years) is one of the longest between film sequels in history.
For its German release the film was titled "Die Nacht der unheimlichen Bestien", which means "The Night of the Scary Beasts".
Actor and co-producer Ken Curtis once 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 new colorized version was released alongside The Giant Gila Monster as a double feature by Legend Films.
Shot at Cielo Ranch, a 100-acre estate on the shore of Lake Lewisville (just North of Dallas, Texas) which was owned by star/producer Gordon McLendon (Dr. Baines). McLendon's family sold the ranch in the late 1990s and it was turned into an upscale housing development.
At one point Thorne says they should open the windows in the house because of the approaching hurricane. It was a popular belief at one time that opening windows during a hurricane or tornado would equalize the extreme air pressure and save houses from being destroyed. This has since been found to be a myth.
Spoofed on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). Season 4, Episode 7.
Now in the public domain, the film has been released on DVD and was featured in the fourth season of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988).
Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious and bear no resemblance to any person living or dead.