This little gem from 1961 tells the story of gangsters, secret agents, stolen Cuban gold, and of course the creature. The movie tells the story of a group of Cuban army officers who are attempting to get away with a chest full of gold during the revolution. To this end they make a deal with an exiled American gangster, who himself plans to steal the gold, to sneak it out of the country aboard his yacht. The Cuban officers have brought a group of soldiers with them to guard the gold, so they decide that the only reasonable thing to do is kill the soldiers one by one with garden rakes and blame their deaths on a mysterious sea creature. To complicate matters further there is an American spy, XK150, who has infiltrated the crew of the gangster’s yacht and is making secret reports to his superiors. Of course yet another twist is the sudden appearance of a real honest to god sea creature that actually starts killing people off.
Well this is a very odd little film. To begin with this movie was an afterthought by the always-shrewd Corman. They were already on location shooting two films back to back when Corman decided to make a third feature. Using the same cast and crew Corman had the script written in six days. Even with the all of these challenges Creature from the Haunted Sea is a very amusing take on the films that directors like Corman himself were churning out for the drive in crowd. You have the brave American hero, the damsel in distress, the sneaky bad guy that gets his comeuppance in the end, as well as the guy in a suit monster. The biggest difference here is that Corman was making a parody of these films, and a pretty good one at that. So is it a good film? Well it actually drags a bit, and some of the jokes are drawn out too much. And this is in a movie that is just a bit over an hour long. The acting is at best passable, and at worst just awful. The creature makeup is pretty damn bad, even by the standards of the 50’s and early 60’s. Though in a way this works for the film. I suppose if you are looking for a straight up black and white monster movie you will be disappointed with Creature. But if you want to see a very well executed parody you may get a kick out of this movie.
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