Creature From The Haunted Sea (1961)(Roger Corman)
Here at Monster Island News we like to feature some of the best monster films ever made, like "Creature From The Black Lagoon" and "Them!." To balance this out we also like to feature some of the worst monster movies ever made like "Green Slime" and our present topic "Creature From The Haunted Sea." Both types of films can be enjoyed on many levels for many different reasons. Creature From The Haunted Sea is no exception. The levels of just plain strangeness are far too numerous to be overlooked. Only famed "low-budget" movie maker Roger Corman could have concocted such a strange mix of camp, cheesy rip-offs, cliché characters and the most poorly designed movie monster ever. Hey at least the Ro-Man from Robot Monster had some charisma. Don't get me wrong, I somewhat liked the film for just these same reasons. Like I mentioned before bad movies have their enjoyable levels.
Corman made the film in three days. He had just finished filming "The Last Woman On Earth" and decided that the tropical local of the film would be great for a monster movie, so he took the money he had left over and the film's cast and hurriedly threw the production together. How "low-budget" is film made from the left-over money from another "low-budget" film? To be honest the lack of funds really doesn't show to much in the production until you see the monster. The film's title character is a horrible combination of "Cookie Monster" and "Sigmund the Sea Monster." One can only assume that such an awful movie monster was the result of having only $10 left to make the costume.
On the outset, the plot sounds very promising. An American Secret Agent is sent to investigate a band of mobsters who intend to steal treasure from a group of Cuban Military Officers who are fleeing Castro's revolution. The mobsters come up with a plan to knock off the Cubans and blame their deaths on a legendary sea creature that is rumored to live near the islands along their route. The mobsters soon learn that the monster isn't a myth at all and the whole group finds themselves marooned on the creature's island home fighting for their lives.
If the film had been left to work as a standard "B" monster flick the results might have been different, but Corman wanted the movie to be a comedy. Inserted into the monster story are a Humphry Bogart rip-off mob boss, a henchman who only communicates in animal sounds, two separate love triangles, and more cliché dialogue than could choke a horse. The henchman who communicates in roars and growls is annoying enough, but he soon meets up with older woman who does the same. The other love interests only make the film a little more interesting at best. The Cuban College Girl loves the Secret Agent. The Secret Agent loves The Moll. The Moll loves Bogey. Bogey, of course, loves the treasure. It all really doesn't matter in the end because everyone becomes lunch anyway.
Overall the film doesn't really work as either a monster film or a comedy. The result is a just plain weird film. It is however entertaining for this reason alone. There are a few actual funny moments, but you really must look for them. The monster really must be seen to be believed. The film is a true testament of what can be achieved with $50 in your pocket and three days to blow.
Did I enjoy Creature from the Haunted Sea? Yes, I did, but you must remember that I have a soft spot for "weird cinema."
Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)
Roger Corman Productions
Directed By: Roger Corman
Written By: Charles B. Griffith
Antony Carbone as Renzo Capetto
Betsy Jones-Moreland as Mary-Belle Monahan
Robert Towne as Sparks Moran / Agent XK150 / Narrator
Beach Dickerson as Petet Peterson Jr.
Robert Bean as Happy Jack Monahan
Sonia Noemí González as Mango Perez
Edmundo Rivera Álvarez as General Tostada
Runtime: 75 Minutes
Color: Black and White
Released: June 1961
Starcrash (1979)(New World Pictures)
Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)(Universal)
Big Trouble In Little China (1986)(20th Century Fox)
The Mighty Peking Man (1977)(Shaw Brothers Studio)
Kingukongu no gyakushu / King Kong Escapes (1967)(Toho)
Negadon The Monster From Mars (2005)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1954)(Toho)
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