Creature from the Haunted Sea
--Reviewed by Patrick
"Because I was a Secret Agent, I could tell she was attracted to me."
Plotline: It's the early 60's. Castro has taken over Cuba and, in an attempt to fund the overthrow of Castro, the old government steals the "National Treasury." In order to get the money off the island, they employ the help of a rag tag group of American criminals, who are supposed to transport a handful of generals, a few random Cubans and the cash onward to America. But, the Americans have plans of their own. They begin killing off the Cubans, one by one and blaming it on a mysterious sea monster. When the monster turns out to be real, the real trouble starts.
Scariness factor: Despite the violent description given above, this movie is actually a horror comedy, so don't expect any actual scares. The monster costume looks like they had a 6 pack of beer and some pocket change as a budget for it.
Originality: Oooh boy! You ever watch a movie and can't help but think that the creators were on drugs when they made it? This is one of those movies. Even one of the actors, an undercover secret agent named Sparks Moran, spouts lines with the crazed self-confidence of Hunter S. Thomson (complete with the droopy cigarette continually hanging out of his mouth). In fact, the whole movie has the sort of drugged out craziness that I haven't seen much in film, short of the movie "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas."
I've seen a few reviews online, which positively loathed this movie, and I think they just didn't get it. This isn't Corman's "Pit and the Pendulum" (Oh, did I mention this movie was made by the same guy who made "The Terror"?). This is a movie about a group of criminals who talk in animal noises, meet native women named Mango, make radio knobs out of the ends of Hot Dogs and see businessmen walk out of the water to use a pay phone on an "abandoned" island and do so with a blasé shrug.
The movie's style of insane, nonsensical humor is the same kind that made movies like 'Airplane' and 'Naked Gun.' You know, movies where you go "what the fuck!?" alot.
Other High Points: Let me just quote you a few lines from this movie, to give you an idea of where it's coming from:
"It was dusk. I could tell because the sun was going down"
"Happy Jack had gotten a permanent facial twitch from watching too many Humphrey Bogart movies."
"In exchange, Renzo let him make any animal noises he'd like."
It's also the first horror movie I've seen with a musical interlude, which the lead actress sings an ode to the "Creature from the Haunted Sea"
Other Complaints: The sound! Oh god, the sound! I don't know if it was just my print, but the sound quality on this movie was horrid. The whole track was so muffled, it sounded like everyone was talking through layers of blankets. If you have an EQ attached to your DVD player, by chance, I am sure this can be corrected with a little tweaking of the high end. Those of us without, though, will need to deal with some shoddy audio tracks.
I should also point out that the movie does drag a bit towards the beginning. Once they hit the island though, it's "full steam ahead" from there.
Overall: I don't know what else to say to make you go rent/buy/borrow this movie. Other than it would make a great party movie, so before you press play, invite some friends over, open some beers, start up the DVD and wait for the madness to begin.