Sunday, February 8, 2015

Curse of the Swamp Creature - 1966

If you are an amateur film maker, and someone hands you a script (or you write one), and it contains a line where a scientist says "my beautiful indestructible fish man" it might not be the best movie ever.  In fact, it's probably a pretty shitty movie.  Especially if it also has scenes where a character speaks to someone off camera, pretends they respond, and then speaks some more.

Dr. Simond Trent is researching evolution.  He has his lab, set up way out in the swamp, where he's researching the evolution from fish to man.  What better way to do that than to take a human and cross it with a fish?  Create some sort of fish/human/thing?  He does just that.  His wife disapproves of tampering in god's domain, and he quickly locks her in a closet.  Meanwhile, a geologist, Barry Rogers (John Agar) and his team come upon the base of Dr. Trent's research, and they sense something amiss.  Dr. Trent's wife soon enough escapes and pulls the plug on the fish/man, killing it.  But Dr. Trent has noticed that one of the girls in the geologists team, Brenda, fits the mold of a candidate to become a fish/creature thing as well...

I wanted to hate this movie.  Believe me, another film by Larry Buchanan, a self described schlockmeister, and director of It's Alive.  I also heard this film's monster was the same later used in It's Alive.  Plus this was another made for TV extravaganza. My expectations were set pretty low.  I was just as surprised as I could be when I discovered this movie was actually quite a bit better than expected.

For one thing, it cuts down the dialogue by having multiple story lines.  What I didn't mention in the review up there is that there are these weird neighbors that Dr. Trent has, a community of black people who do a weird voodoo ritual they keep cutting to.  Just when you assume that they'll never explain why the neighbors are always drumming and dancing around in a pretty damn racist series of scenes, they come out of nowhere and turn up to be against the doctor.  Their storyline, the geologists storyline, and then Dr Trent make the movie flow quicker, and be less painful.

Another thing is that the characters in this are a lot funnier.  Not on purpose of course, but the people in this are played a lot more with a silly undertone, and they have that "this movie is a joke" way they seem to treat the material.  It's done especially well by Dr. Trent who spoke that line I have in my opening sentence.

The movie is still cheap and easy, but it also seems to have a higher production value, there is more than $50 worth of props in this, unlike other Buchanan films.  It does rely on the same stock footage of alligators swimming around, which are supposedly in the creek right beside the lab where they do all this.  Take a guess where Dr. Trent is eventually killed, by the way.

I don't really know what to rate this.  It's not good, but it's not terrible.  The poster sucks, just look at it:

Again with the Moasasouri thing.  If you're not paying attention, they claim the creature in It's Alive is a Mosasaurus.  I'll have you know that genetically splicing a fish and a human does not make a dinosaur.  That makes no fucking sense.  Makes me wonder though if this creature is actually supposed to be the same exact one in It's Alive, just bigger. 

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