Creature From the Haunted Sea

Year Of Release: 1961
Running Time: 73 Minutes
DVD Released By: Alpha Video
Directed By: Roger Corman
Writing Credits: Charles B. Griffith
Filming Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Starring: Anthony Carbone, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Robert Towne, Beach Dickerson, Robert Bean, Esther Sandoval

Tagline: What was the unspeakable secret of the sea?

Alternate Titles:
I was unable to find any reference to alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Anthony Carbone who played Renzo Capeto, also played Doctor Charles Leon in The Pit and the Pendulum, which came out earlier that same year.




Cast Of Characters
Sparks Moran (aka Agent XK150): He's, well...a dork, and a cheesy one at that. He's supposed to be a spy trying to track the missing gold for the Cubans, but all he really does is hang around acting like a cheesy dork and getting in the way. The man can swing a fish though I'll give him that.

Renzo Capetto: He's your typical all around gangster. Unfortunately he's got this serious obsession with the Skipper from Gilligan's Island. Seems that as a boy, it was always his dream to own his own boat so that he could take people on three hour tours. Unfortunately, his dream never came true. Now that he's a gangster, he still wears his skipper's hat as a constant reminder of his shattered dreams. Are you crying yet? No? You people are just heartless!

Mary Belle Monahan: She's Renzo's squeeze and an all around bad chick. She walked into a convention of police chiefs and rubbed them all out with a Tommy gun, and then went and sold heroin out of the laundry room at Boys Town. I've heard about behavior like this in women before. They say it's menstrual...um...I mean mental.

Happy Jack Monahan: He's Mary Belle's brother. They call him Happy Jack because he developed a muscle spasm in his cheeks after watching too many Humphrey Bogart pictures. I know the real truth though behind that bizarre smile on his face. I've seen him kiss his sister. There were tongues involved. I ain't sayin' another word. You figure it out.

Pete Peterson Jr.: Pete is the fourth gangster in our merry bunch. This guy's story is too bizarre to even get into. He does animal impressions. Apparently, he does them a lot. Must have learned them from all his former lovers. This guy has an IQ of about three. At least he's interesting, which is more than I can say for some of the other characters in this movie. Here's a shot of Pete trying to look interested while Renzo is talking to him.

The Creature: Normally I wouldn't give the creature his own section on the characters list but I thought I'd make an exception in this case. I mean seriously now, is this not the goofiest lookin' thing you've ever seen?




The Plot

After the revolution in Cuba, a Cuban general makes a deal with an American gangster and his crew to smuggle a chest full of gold out of the country. The gangsters plot to kill the Cubans so they can take the gold for themselves and concoct a cunning plan to get rid of them once and for all. They decide to fake attacks by some kind of a sea monster to explain away the deaths of the Cuban soldiers. Little do they know that a real sea monster is tracking them on their journey to Puerto Rico, and is looking to make a light snack out of anyone it can get it's hands on.



What The Hell???
1. Ok, the movie starts out with a shoe, a leg, and two hands with a rag polishin' the shoe. Then one of the hands with the rag reaches up and sticks somethin' in the sock that's on the leg that's in the shoe that's gettin' polished. Ok, seriously, I can totally see where this is going. I'm sure all of you can too.
2. Boy, was I way off!!! It was actually a guy getting a shoe shine! Well, it just goes to show you how unpredictable a movie like this can be. I don't think the guy giving the shoe shine was very good though. A couple of guys just came along and shot him and started chasing the guy who was having his shoes shined. I think a complaint to the better business bureau would have been a lot less harsh.
3. So "Mr. Gettin' His Shoes Shined" escapes from the killers and finally stops to look at the note that the shoe shine guy stuck in his sock. I know what you're thinkin' it probably was, but it wasn't that at all. It was actually an invitation to a bar. So the guy slips on a fake moustache and some cool spot sunglasses and heads off on his merry way to the bar to meet up with somebody he doesn't even know. Are you following all this so far?
4. Oh, actually he's there to meet a girl. She's playing chess by herself. He sits down with her and they have some cheesy as hell small talk. They order some drinks and have some more very seriously cheesy small talk. He then kisses her and leaves. On the way out he trips on the stairs. What a dork.
5. Now the opening credits roll and we're treated to some very cute cartoon characters. All I can find myself thinking is, "Let's all go to the lobby... Let's all go to the lobby... Let's all go to the lobby, and get ourselves a treat."
6. This movie takes place right after the revolution in Cuba. As the movie starts we're treated to a scene of an ex Cuban government official and a couple of ex-Cuban military officers meeting up with an American Gangster named Renzo Capetto and his young and somewhat irritating sidekick, Happy Jack Monahan. They're discussing how Renzo and Happy Jack are going to take the Cuban's gold out of the country with them for safe keeping. It sounds more like a Ricky Ricardo convention. I keep expecting everyone to pull out conga drums and start singing Babalu.
7. Oh no! All hell just broke loose as Renzo, his sidekick, and a bunch of Cuban army guys all piled into his car and proceeded to get chased and shot at by a bunch of rebels in a VW Bug. The bug looks more like a clown car at the circus. You know the one... It drives around in circles for a while and then about twenty midgets in clown outfits come piling out of it. Oh how we used to laugh when...um...nevermind.
8. Now we're treated to an introduction to all the characters on the boat. These people are bad and nasty. I hope the Creature shows up and eats them soon.
9. A bunch of Cubans ended up on the boat with the four baddies. Renzo comes up with a brilliant idea to make some of them disappear. They're going to make it look like a sea monster is popping up out of nowhere and killing the Cubans one by one. I wouldn't want to be around when the real sea monster gets a load of all these shennanigans and decides to sue these people for trademark infringement. A monster is scary enough but there's nothing in this world thats scarier than a monster who's retained the services of a trial lawyer. Unfortunately for Renzo and company, our hero, Sparks Moran, was listening to them plan this whole thing from the other side of the door. Didn't anyone ever tell this guy that eavesdropping is rude?
10. What the hell is this now? Ol' sparks is making a radio out of hot dogs and pickles. He uses it to call his people back in Cuba. Oh actually they're fave hot dogs and pickles. Too bad Pete didn't know that. He happens along and decides to have lunch with Sparks. I didn't know hot dogs were crunchy. Pete didn't seem to mind it though.
11. The General and his assistant are on the boat. He comes out and starts saying nice things to Mary Belle but she's talking smack back to him. He doesn't understand English, so his assistant is giving him false translations of what she's saying just to spare his feelings. Don't you just hate a boot licker? After the general walks away, Sparks walks up to Mary Belle and tries to talk her out of her life of crime. That's like trying to talk a fat woman out of a hot dog.
12. Woohoo!!! The creature just killed someone...the real creature that is. Not the fake one they were gonna make. What a set of eyes this thing's got. I hope it kills more people soon. Mary Belle would be a good start. Unfortunately though, she would probably just make the creature turn around and run home crying. What an attitude she's got.
13. Renzo's laying his plans out to head to Puerto Rico but before he gets to the Puerto Rico part, Sparks, who was listening at the door overhears them discussing Bali. He runs back to his hot dog radio and tells his cohort on the other end that they're headed off to Bali. With spies like this, who needs enemies.

14. Now we're treated to a scene of Mary Belle singing a song and trying to look casual as they're approached by a Coast Guard vessel. She's got a pretty decent voice for an incest lovin', cop killin', heroin sellin' gangster. I wonder where she found the time to learn to sing like that with her busy schedule.

15. Oh wait! Those weren't Coast Guard dudes. They were just after the gold. It's ok though because after Sparks whacked Renzo with a big fish, Pete took care of the other guys with a machine gun. Don't ask about the fish thing...it's just too stupid to go into.
16. Sparks is trying to sweet talk Mary Belle again and she's still not responding favorably to his advances. I'm seeing a lot of cheesy acting here but I've only seen the real monster for about a half a second so far in this movie. I better start seein' that monster kill someone soon or it's gonna cost 'em at least a half a bee.
17. Oh my god! Renzo just explained his brilliant plan to Pete about how he was going to run the ship up on the rocks and then how in the panic, they'd take the gold, put it in a lifeboat, row out about thirty feet, and dump the gold to the bottom of the sea so they could come back for it later. He has Pete repeat his brilliant plan back to him and it's absolutely hilarious because he's such a dork that when he talks and repeats all this back, he's talking exactly like Gavin. Gavin is the annoying little kid character that Bruce McCulloch played on the comedy sketch show Kids In The Hall. I don't normally do this in my reviews, but just so you can see who I'm talking about, here's a screenshot of Bruce McCulloch playing Gavin and a sound clip of Gavin talking to a cop. Yes, he could definitely be Pete's son.

18. After the ship crashes, we finally get to see the monster again. He comes up and grabs one of the guys who was in the water and drags him back down. I don't think we're gonna see this guy again, although we probably won't miss him since all the Cuban extras are so generic anyway.

19. They dump the boat over with the gold in it so that it sinks to the bottom. For a trunk full of gold, it sure didn't sink too well. In fact, it only sank on one side and the other side kept floating making it sink in an upright position. When they were carrying the chest out to the life raft, they didn't seem to be having much trouble carrying it either. I'm starting to wonder if there's anything at all in the chest.
20. Sparks goes exploring around the island to see if anyone else lives there. For some reason, he manages to find a pay phone. While he's talking on the pay phone, some dorky guy in sunglasses comes up and stands there smiling at him like some kind of a...well...a dork. I'm wondering why the hell there's a pay phone in the middle of a rocky beach anyway with nothing else around it. So he walks away from the phone and passes by a guy in a nice suit walking through the water in his good shoes. I don't know where the hell he came from. I think that when they made this movie, they knew that someday, someone like me was going to be reviewing this film, and they just wanted to throw in a little somethin' extra for my What The Hell??? section.
21. While Pete is wandering around the island, he finds some fat old woman that can make the same kind of animal sounds he does, and he falls instantly in love with her. In fact, he gave her a wedding ring already too. Not sure where he got that, but now she's tagging along with them all. Happy Jack just brought a woman back with him too from San Juan. Man, this is gettin' crazy.
22. Looks like the girl that Happy Jack brought back now has the hots for Sparks. I'm having a really hard time keeping score here. She just walked up out of nowhere and planted a big ol' wet kiss on him. If the girls in Puerto Rico are that easy, then I gotta get me a plane ticket right away!
23. So the bad guys and the Cubans are all swimming around under water now looking for the gold. The one Cuban who's near the gold gets aced by the bad guys. While I'm watching all this, I notice how incredibly ugly and nasty lookin' the fish are that are swimming around down there with them. There's one especially that has extremely nasty lookin' teeth.
24. Man this movie is stupid. I wish the monster would show up already.
25. Since Happy Jack's girl Carmelita fell in love with Sparks, Pete's woman drags Jack into the jungle so she can pimp her daughter off on him. Her daughter's name is Mango and as soon as mamma walks away her and Jack head over to the nearest tree and start makin' out. Mango starts ripping on him big time in Spanish and saying how her mother hooks her up with losers so she can sell them coconut hats and other trinkets.
26. Pete and Jack decide they're gonna rub everyone else out and keep the money for themselves so they can settle down and marry Mango and her mamma. Jack feels bad about killin' his sister, so he decides they should keep her around to do all the housework. What a great brother he is huh?
27. Now Renzo is diving for the gold again. At this point, we get to see the monster again as he stalks Renzo. Now that we finally get a good look at the monster, we can see that he really looks like a giant whale turd that came to life and grew arms and legs...and teeth.
28. I guess the monster is partial to tropical fruit because he just ate Mango and left Renzo alone. Not sure how that came about, but she's dead and he's alive, which is a shame because she was much nicer to look at.
29. The general just found the gold at the bottom of the sea, which sucks for him because Renzo, Jack, and Pete killed him right after. Unfortunately for Jack, the creature is about to do the same thing to him.
30. Ok seriously now, this monster looks like a turd. A great big turd with a couple of pieces of giant corn for the eyes. When will mankind ever learn that it's not safe to dump sewage into the sea? I mean, we've all seen what happens when you flush a baby alligator into the sewers of New York. Think about it... I mean, one day you could be at the beach and a giant turd could come meandering on out of the water and say, "Daddy!"
31. Sweet. The monster just killed everyone except for Pete's woman, Renzo, Sparks, and Carmelita. Oops, I spoke too soon. He just killed Renzo. So by my count, that leaves just Sparks, Carmelita, and Pete's Woman left alive.
32. Now the conclusion. Sparks is asking Carmelita to marry him. He's also trying to talk like Humphrey Bogart and rolling his lip up over his teeth. Very cheesy indeed... The monster ended up with the gold by the way and as the creature sat burping at the bottom of the sea, (yes the monster actually burped), everyone who was still alive, except for Pete's woman that is, lived happily ever after.



Best Quote

Mary Belle: "You know sump'n? We oughta get married."
Renzo: "Now don't be a drag baby."

 

- Mary Belle and Renzo gettin' busy in the Captain's cabin. - (Reviewer's Note: The poor guy just about dropped his spleen when she said that.)



 

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Creature From the Haunted Sea
I wonder if it wouldn't be more appropriate to fight this thing with a plunger and a spray bottle full of Liquid Plumber.


 


The Conclusion

I'm not really sure what sort of a rating to give this one. It's definitely not without it's humor and the cheeseball factor goes through the roof at times, but there were certain things lacking here, like excitement.

Once they got out into the ocean, the story kind of bogged down for a while. The film became mired in the interaction of the characters rather than bringing the monster into it sooner and letting him kill off a few people here and there. Before the end of the movie, the monster only killed two people and they only really noticed that one was dead. They either didn't notice, or didn't care about the other one.

As I sit here writing this up, I feel like I've kinda been cheated in a way. The monster was definitely the best part of this film and yet we only really get to see anything out of him at the end. When we do see him though, it's magical. This is by far the single cheesiest monster I've ever seen in a B-Movie, and I loved every second of it. Watching this giant turd looking thing attack these people was the most fun I've had watching a b-movie in a long time. Before it even got there to attack them, it was approaching with it's head sticking out of the water and I was sitting here thinking to myself, "QUICK! FLUSH IT BEFORE IT GETS TO THE CHILDREN!!!" There weren't actually any children in this movie, but it was funny nonetheless.

Most of this movie is just average at best with just enough humor and interesting interactions to hold your interest until you get to the real payoff, which is the monster at the end. If you can only make it to the end of this film, you'll find yourself watching one of the most special bits of cheesy goodness you'll ever have the privilege to see. Unfortunately, it's making it all the way to the end that's the hard part.

I would also like to mention here that the film quality was horrible throughout most of this film, as was the sound, and it made it really hard to get good screenshots of the characters in most instances.

So where does that leave us for a rating? Well, I believe that any real b-movie fan would like this film until they get to the end where the monster comes in and then that "like" would turn to pure, unadulterated love. Unfortunately, that first 98% of the film is going to drag down it's final rating somewhat, but believe me, there are lots of worse things you could find yourself watching on a Saturday night.

B-Movie Central's Rating: Movie: 3 Bees / Monster: 5 Bees!


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