Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) review
Creature from the Haunted Sea is one of the most infamously terrible horror movies with terrible performances, an indecisive plot and style, cheesy special effects and a lack of screentime for the so-called monster. The movie tries to parody so many different styles that it only ends up parodying itself in a mess that's so bad it's borderline hilarious.
PLOT: During a time where Cuba is in political turmoil, criminal Renzo Capetto (Anthony Carbone) makes a deal to transport a group of Cuban exiles out of the country while also taking some of the country's national treasure. Capetto plots while on the boat with American ex-agent Sparks Moran (Edward Wain) to kill the exiles and blame it on an apparent sea monster so he can keep all of the money for himself. However, things begin to go awry when a real sea monster shows up and starts terrorizing the crew. Capetto must escape the sea monster to get away with the riches and the girls he wants. The plot is a hot mess with abundant unnecessary twists and turns. It seems to focus too much on the comedy relief and attempts at satire and not enough on the horror aspect of the movie. So many characters, situations, and quirks were just random and un-called for making the plot of this movie an unbalanced and substantially dead mess.
ACTING: The performances in this movie were very amateur at best. None of the actors or actresses truly stood out or showed any real emotion. In fact, it becomes hilariously evident about halfway through the movie that even the actors have given up. It's like they knew the movie was terrible and just didn't want to even put effort into it anymore. These performances are the equivalent of grabbing some random people off the street and offering pay.
SCORE: The score in here was very quirky and unfitting for most of what this movie intended to be. The music in no way matches the mood of a super-spy flick or a horror movie.
EFFECTS/ANIMATION: The special effects for the creature were very cheesy at best, making the monster appear clearly fake and apparently thrown together. As terrifically cheesy as the monster's costume effects are, his appearance is somehow one of the most widely known of early black-and-white horror films. Maybe Creature from the Haunted Sea is just notorious for being cheesy and bad? In addition to the creature effects, there were some unnecessary animations at the beginning of the movie. They served no purpose, changed the whole tone of the movie, and mislead the viewer in many ways, from under-exaggerating the monster and over-exaggerating the action and comedy. One can start a pure comedy, family movie, or children's movie with light-hearted animations in the title credits, but a horror film? It just doesn't sound reasonable.
OTHER CONTENT: Creature from the Haunted Sea seemed to just not know what it wanted to be. As it begins, the audience is led to believe it's going to be a super-spy satire complete with laughs for all. As it progress, however, it seems to wander into the territory of goofy Gilligan's Island-style comedy and doesn't really touch upon the horror genre or the whole "creature" part until near the very end. Even if it did want to be a comedy or a satire, it should have focused only on that aspect and not try to take the movie in a dozen different directions. Cheesy horror genius Roger Corman has made some ridiculous cinema, but this one seems to be the most brainless and underdeveloped. The movie surely would have been much better had the makers scrapped most of the additional characters and plot twists and added more production value and maybe even more screentime for the monster which bears the movie's name.
Roger Corman's Creature from the Haunted Sea is widely recognized among classic horror fans throughout the world, but in all reality one of the most terrible and cheesy ones the decade has to offer. The plot has too many unnecessary twists and can't choose which genre it really wants to follow, the special effects are cheesy to iconic excess, and the acting is hollow and ridiculously untalented. Save your time on something much funnier or much spookier, like an actual satire or an actual horror film.