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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961)

I'm back after a small hiatus due to being sick with the third of my "Terrorpolooza 2012" movie reviews.  One thing I learned is that while horror and comedy often work together, sometimes, it doesn't work as well as it could've.

A group of gangsters have helped a South American dictator to escape a revolution with a strong box full of gold.  They hope to gain possession of it by using a legend of a local sea monster to scare off the dictator and his guards.  All goes according to plan until an American spy... and the real sea monster take an interest in the group.

"Creature From the Haunted Sea" is a Roger Corman horror comedy that- as was typical of Corman films, shot in about five days.  To be perfectly honest, you can tell that it was a rushed production.

The story is certainly enough to provide a decent amount of comedic fodder to go with the horror, though the humour far outweighs the horror.  Unfortunately, due to a few of the characters, and unnecessary subplots, the story felt rather disjointed and unfocused.  I found myself wanting the characters to stay on track with the main plot, rather than go off on their silly tangents.  The "romantic" subplots of two of the characters finding "love" with two island dwellers were especially irritating to me.  Now, there ARE some decent moments of humour that had me chuckling, but they were brought about by only two characters in the movie, and the Creature itself.

Other than the character of Renzo Capetto and the Creature, I found myself either indifferent or annoyed with the characters.  Mary-Belle wasn't bad to look at, but not very interesting, and Sparks was a little irritating.  The most annoying character- and the one that served the least purpose to boot was Pete Peterson, Jr- who communicates soley with ANIMAL noises.  Yeah, you heard me- "animal noises".  You can probably guess why I got annoyed with the character rather quickly.  I liked the dictator because he was serious in a humorous fashion, and provided a nice bit of political satire to the movie.

Of the actors, the best were Antony Carbone as Renzo, and Betsy Jones-Moreland as Mary-Belle.  Edmundo Rivera Álvarez was enjoyable as well as the dictator.  The remaining cast was what I would consider between subpar (in the case of Beach Dickerson who played the animal noise making Pete) to average.  Of course, the five day shooting schedule could be a factor, so I'm willing to be a little more forgiving... though not to the animal guy.

When I saw the Creature, I wondered if Christopher Mihm (see my review of "The Monster of Phantom Lake") had seen this movie when he designed the Monster in his own movie.  There are some serious similarities between them- especially the ping pong eyes, and the moss covering.  I couldn't help but laugh and enjoy the look and antics of the Creature as it wittled the cast down.  The final scene of the movie with the Creature was what I would consider the punchline to the whole joke of a movie that preceeded.

When all is said and done, "Creature From the Haunted Sea" is a silly movie that drags in a couple of parts, but has some moments of fun and laughs.  Students of Roger Corman films would probably enjoy it, but I won't be watching it again.  I'm placing it in The Bad.

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