Death Curse of Tartu

Year Of Release: 1967
Running Time: 84 Minutes
DVD Released By: Something Weird Video
Directed By: William Grefe
Writing Credits: William Grefe
Filming Location: The Florida Everglades

Starring: Fred Pinero, Babette Sherrill, Mayra Christine, Mayra Gomez, Bill Marcus, Sherman Hayes, Gary Holtz, Maurice Stewart

Tagline: "They thought it was a joke..."

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

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Fred Pinero and Babette Sherrill, who played Ed and Julie Tyson, each appeared in only two films. The funny thing is, they were both in the same two films. In addition to this one, they both appeared in a film called The Devil's Sisters which came out earlier that same year. Mayra Gomez, who played Cindy, only ever appeared in this one film. Frank Weed, who played Sam Gunter, also served as the animal trainer for this film.

Cast Of Characters
Sam Gunter: The intrepid explorer type who doesnt believe in all that spiritual mumbo jumbo. Did I mention he's the first one to bite it?

Ed Tison: Archaeology teacher who has the brilliant idea to take four students out to visit an ancient indian burial ground out in the Everglades of Florida. For some strange reason he has a bit of a cuban accent.

Julie Tison: She's the devoted wife of Ed. She's pretty useless throughout the whole movie, so I figure they just threw her in there as window dressing. She looks nice, but that's about where her redeeming qualities end.

Johnny: One of Mr. Tison's archaeology students. That's about where his interest value ends.

Cindy: Another one of Mr. Tison's students and also Johnny's girlfriend. She falls apart a lot and is more dead wood than anything else. At least she's more interesting than Johnny was, and she can throw a good freak out for the cameras.

The Plot

Four archaeology students deep in the Florida Everglades activate the Death Curse of Tartu when they start making out and go-go dancing on an ancient Indian burial ground. This so annoys Tartu, a Seminole witch doctor dead some 400 years, that his decomposed corpse comes to life, changes into a variety of animals, and promptly starts killing everyone. But when the students' teacher finds Tartu's resting place and tries to destroy his remains, Tartu climbs out of his casket, turns into his young, pre-rotted self, and goes chasing after the leading lady.

What The Hell???
1. Sam Gunther towards the beginning of the movie, digs up something at the campground that is supposed to be an old Indian tablet. It looks more like a giant alligator turd. This awakens Tatru and he is shown in his coffin stirring slowly. Actually he looks more like some drunk guy in bad makeup from the set of a cheap horror flick who downed two fifths of Jack Daniels and decided to sleep it off in a coffin on the set. We're then treated to a very long shot of a big snake slithering slowly along. Oh my God! It's the spirit of Tartu! Can you feel the tension boys and girls?
2. Sam sets up camp. It's evening, but for some reason, he decides it's a good idea to go wandering around. The snake, which is moving totally slow, not only somehow manages to catch up with him, but it manages to get a bit ahead of him, climb up in a tree, and wait for him to come along, at which point it lunges at him. Actually it was thrown on him by some guy off camera. It managed to wrap itself around his neck and the rest of his body as well and strangle him to death. I believe I applauded at this point.
3. Billy is an Indian guide who lives near the Everglades. He keeps telling everyone the place is haunted, but no one ever listens to him. Why is it that people always seem to think that they know everything. No one ever seems to be able to accept good advice when it's freely given, and they always end up paying for it in the end.
4. There's this stupid skull on a stick that everyone seems to run into at some point. They all freak out when they see it. WHY?!?! It's just a skull on a stick! It's not like they found a cockroach in their oatmeal or something. I mean, come on.
5. At one point the four kids ask Mr. Tison if they can go down to the lake to roast marshmallows. He agrees and they head out. The next thing we see is them making out on the riverbank next to a campfire. The girls get tired of kissing, so they hop up and start go-go dancing like Frankie and Annette in the beach movies. There were butt wiggling shots a-plenty in this scene, and I found myself wondering... What the hell does this have to do with anything? Then I found out. They woke up Tartu out of of his drunken stupor in the coffin just long enough for his spirit to become a shark and kill two of the kids as they swam in the river. I guess after he killed them he passed out again because the shark dissappeared. (Reviewer's Life Lesson #372: Go-go dancing attracts things that will to kill you.)
6. They try to escape, but convieniently, an alligator destroyed the air boats they used to get to the burial grounds. Oh my gosh, whatever will they do now? I'll say it again...they should have listened to Billy. But noooooooooooooooooooooo.
7. So there's four of them left. Mr. & Mrs. Tison, Johnny, and Cindy. They decide that Johnny is going to walk the twenty-five miles back to civilization with a machette and a few cans of food so that he can send help. Now my question at this point is, why the hell didn't they just all go? They probably could have made it if they had just stuck together. And not to put too fine a point on this, but if I had seen the stuff they saw, I would have looked like a cross between Jesse Owens and Jesus Christ runnin' down that river at the speed of light, without even barely touchin' the water. Forget running through all the brush and trees, I would have put on my Jesus skis and gotten the hell out of there.
8. They figure out from some writings they deciphered off a tablet that they needed to destroy Tartu's corpse to break the curse. Then like, the very next scene, they're in his cave! Sure didn't take 'em long to find it did it?
9. I just about busted out laughing at this one. Inside the cave there's cobwebs all over the place, and there's a plastic spider hanging off the cobwebs. It was hilarious!
10. So the three that are left alive at this point, Mr. and Mrs. Tison and Cindy, are in Tartu's cave. The door to the cave starts to close so Cindy freaks out and runs for it. She makes it out but Mr. and Mrs. Tison are stuck inside. Now mind you, this is a stone door that probably weighs a ton. So Mr. Tison gets a brilliant idea for how to get them out. He pulls out a bunch of bullets, removes the bullet from the cartridge, and empties the powder out into his hand. His idea is to blast their way out! Woo Hoo! What a brilliant idea! Now here's what's wrong with it. First of all he'd have had to have an ammo case full of ammo with him to get enough powder to even make a dent in that stone door. Second of all, he had no way to compress the gunpowder, assuming he even did have enough, into an actual explosive device like an M-80 or something. When he set off the gunpowder, all it would have done is flare up, which it did, and then burn itself out. But you know something, I must be wrong, 'cause I'll be damned if that powder didn't go off and blow that door open. I wonder how he did that? He must be some kind of an explosives expert as well as being an archaeology teacher! Indiana Jones, eat your heart out!
11. So they found the casket but they didn't even do what they went there to do which was to destroy the corpse. Instead they went out looking for Cindy. If they had destoryed the corpse, instead of running out looking for Cindy, she might still be alive today.
12. So Cindy gets killed by an alligator which was actually the spirit of Tartu, and then after Mr. Tison shoots the alligator a few times, it goes away. They drag Cindy's body away someplace safer, and then the next scene is them covering her body up with a blanket. Where the hell did they get a blanket all of a sudden??? At some point along here too, Mr. Tison suddenly has an axe. I have no clue where it came from either, because he didn't have one at any other point in the movie up till now. It's just suddenly appeared out of nowhere!
13. So Mr. and Mrs. Tison go back to the cave to destory Tartu's corpse. Now you'd think after the first time, they'd have enough brains to prop the door open so it couldn't trap them inside again. You'd think, huh?
14. Tartu rises from the coffin and begins fighting with Mr. Tison. Tison shoots him like five times in a row and it has absolutely no effect. So tell me why, please somebody, he throws the gun to his wife and tells her to re-load it quick while he's fighting with Tartu? I mean, weren't the previous five, completely ineffective shots enough to make him think that maybe he wasn't going to kill him with a gun? Come to think of it, why the hell would she have any bullets anyway? She didnt even have a gun? Speaking of bullets, I swear this dude had an Elmer Fudd bullet pouch, cause no matter how much he shot, no matter how much he busted open bullets for the powder, he never ran out of the damn things. I was starting to think he had an Elmer Fudd gun too, like Ash had in the Evil Dead movies, but he actually ran out of bullets while he was shooting Tartu so I guess it wasn't.
15. There's a chase through the Everglades, and after some fighting Tartu ends up in a pit of quicksand, sinks like a rock, and dies. Now how does that make any sense? You shoot him five times and he's still coming, yet he sinks like a rock in quicksand and suddenly he's dead meat? Not only does that make no sense, but it makes me think... Even in Night of the Living Dead, you could shoot a zombie in the head and kill it. Maybe Mr. Tison just wasn't aiming high enough.



Best Quote

"If we stay here and wait, it's only a matter of time before Tartu destroys us all!"


- Cindy in a distraught state after she dreams of Johnny's death. - (Reviewer's Note: Oh God, PLEASE let Tartu just kill them all so this movie can be over already!)


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

Death Curse of Tartu
If you shoot someone who's already dead, is it really reasonable to expect them to die?

The Conclusion
This was a very boring movie. In fact, in my notebook that I use while I watch movies that I'm going to be reviewing, I really just wanted to start writing the word "BORING" all over the pages. I couldn't wait for this movie to be over. This movie was not only boring, but the writing, the directing, the acting, and the editing all sucked. The only interesting character in this whole movie was Cindy and that was only because she was good at throwing a fit. I've seen the trailer for the other movie on this double-feature DVD and it's looks quite funny. At the very least I'll have plenty of material for the "What The Hell???" section. This movie wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen but I can only give it at most one Bee...and that's being generous.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 1 Bee

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