Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966)

Nomination Year: 2009
SYNOPSIS:  A remake of the 1957 film Voodoo Woman, this was made in the same year as (and with the same director and about half the cast of) Zontar the Thing from Venus. You can really see the evolution in director Larry Buchanan's style. Zontar was washed out, and this movie's colors are much brighter. So to make up for it, the acting was worse (the actor who played CotSW's main bad guy actually got worse from Zontar).

There are two groups of characters (the household of the mad scientist who is trying to create immortal beings to do his bidding, and the fortune hunters seeking surface signs of oil under the swamp). They don't meet until nearly an hour into the movie.

A good ten minutes is made up of the fortune hunters walking through the deciduous forest swamp, taking boats through the open waterways swamp, and stock footage of alligators. Oh, was there stock footage of alligators! It was sort of like all the worst parts of Swamp Diamonds rolled into a neat ball of stock footage.

Everybody wore sunglasses. But not normal-sized sunglasses, no. Weirdly-enlarged sunglasses that were just one step down from novelty sunglasses. When the fortune hunters headed into the swamp, the Creole natives got sight of them, and spread the word by beating on African-style drums. There was a Snake Dance, too. And a character died in quicksand (set conveniently under about 30 inches of water) by thrashing around and "sinking" beneath the water's surface.

Certain scenes were set at night, but you could only tell by the context. There was no real attempt at day-for-night shooting. They didn't even care enough to fake it. Not even to have a character say "What a bright moon tonight." Of course, since this is the first script credit for actor Tony Huston (who went on to write The Sidehackers), maybe we shouldn't expect too much. We certainly don't get it.

When the Swamp Creature is finally created (about two minutes before the end of the film), the good guys coax her into killing the evil doctor. Then they promptly ignore her, leave her in the mad scientist's alligator-infested swimming pool greenhouse, head back to civilization, and fly off into the sunset together. Without another word about her, or even a second thought.

This movie is superior (or perhaps inferior) to Zontar in that three major characters survived this one ... even if one (Brenda) was technically transformed into a Swamp Creature.

Stupidest-Looking Monster

One Part BEM, Two Parts Gill Man, Three Parts Willful Suspension of Disbelief.
The Swamp Creature (previously Brenda) is in a bind. The Doctor is asking that she kill the geologist that she's gotten attached to. The geologist is asking that she kill the Doctor. The geologist (and the Doctor's wife) harp on how beautiful she used to be, and how ugly she has now become (and they're not kidding) at the Doctor's hands. In the end, she (in all her bug-eyed rubber-suited Swamp Creature glory) picks up the Doctor and throws him into the swimming pool. Where he attracts stock footage of alligators, which eat a white sheet with some sort of alligator food in it him.

Worst Science

Crocs, Fish, People, Whatever.
The Doctor gloats to his assistant about his success at reverting crocodiles back up the evolutionary path to fish. Which is why the gill transplant, of course! Um ... what?

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
John Agar 50's square-jawed B-movie hero; played "Police Captain" in The Amazing Mr No Legs 
Jeff Alexander  
Shirley McLine  
Bill Thurman  
Tony Huston writer of The Sidehackers and Curse of the Swamp Creature, among others 
Charles McLine  
Director Claim to Fame
Larry Buchanan was a folk musician prior to becoming a director 

Kevin Hogan

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