Release Date: June 1961
Directed by: Roger Corman
Written by: Charles B. Griffith
Music by: Fred Katz
Cast: Anthony Carbone, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Edward Wain
Filmgroup, 75 Minutes
Creature From the Haunted Sea is famous for having one of the most hokey monsters in cinema history. As a kid, I saw several late night horror shows that featured a clip of the monster in their credits sequence. He was also used in a lot of other stuff too, always to be made fun of.
The film itself has an abysmal 3.4 rating on IMDb. While it is a bad film, that’s a bit harsh and maybe goes to show that this is the sort of film that only appeals to old school horror lovers that can see beyond the flaws of the era and this film’s budgetary constraints, appreciating the whole picture for what it is, a lot of friggin’ fun.
Directed by Roger Corman, it is safe to assume that this was shot in an afternoon on a budget that could only afford snacks for the cast and a a pair of googly eyes for the creature that was essentially just a big dude wrapped in a sheet of dark wool. Corman was famous for being able to film an hour of footage in a fifteen minute shoot. While I am being facetious, if anyone could bend the laws of space and time like that, it would be Roger Corman.
This film has a great sense of humor and maybe that is lost on modern audiences. Although, it does go a bit overboard and becomes bizarre, at times. There is a character that is a complete moron and he mostly speaks in animal impersonations. He meets a Puerto Rican island woman who does the same thing and they fall in love. Her name is Porcina and it is really fitting.
The story is fairly interesting at its core. A criminal lot makes a deal with a Cuban general to steal a bunch of gold to fund a counterrevolution, as this takes place just after Fidel Castro gained power. The criminals plan to double cross the Cubans and fake an attack by a sea creature, sinking the gold to the bottom of the ocean, only to be procured at a later date, once the Cubans are picked off. Except, there really is a monster.
The final shot of the movie is one of my all-time favorites as it shows the creature, picking his teeth at the bottom of the sea, while sitting on the trunk of gold.
Creature From the Haunted Sea is a delight, if you have an appreciation for the work of Roger Corman. It teamed him up with long-time collaborator Charles B. Griffith, who wrote a ton of his earlier films.