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Cuba 1961: To get the Cuban national treasure out of Cuba & away
from Fidel Castro's regime, general Tostada (Edmundo
Rivera Álvarez) hires American gangster & skipper Renzo
Capetto (Antony Carbone), a man who definitely has seen too much Humphrey
Bogart movies, & his crew - his moll Mary-Belle (Betsy
Jones-Moreland), her brother Jack (Robert Bean), & Renzo's animal
personating henchman Pete (Beach Dickerson). But being a gangster, Renzo
naturally has different ideas of who the money should go to ... not to
some silly Cuban counter-revolution but to his own pocket ...
there's also Sparks Moran (Robert Towne), American agent XP 150 aboard
Renzo's ship who is supposed to guard American interests , but generally
makes a mess out of things & soon falls madly in love with Mary-Belle
... who of course can't stand him.
Renzo has soon made up a stupid plan
to get rid of general Tostada & his gang of Cubans, to kill them one
at a time, & make it all look as if it was done by a sea creature ...
what of course nobody knows yet is that there is an actual monster around
too, which does a bit of killing of its own.
Soon Renzo figures it's a
good idea to wreck his boat & let the strongbox containing the Cuban
treasure sink to the ocean's floor near some (thought to be) deserted
island ... but of course he hasn'T taken into acount that all the Cubans
are frogmen ... so he & his little gang soon have to play monster
again ... but then both Jack & Pete fall for island beauties, &
soon with their girls even conspire against Renzo ... but as if that
wasn't bad enough, the (real) sea-creature kills Jack's girl Mango (Sonia
Noemi González) , & later, when going diving, Jack as well ... which
pretty much breaks the whole gang up, & it was about time too, because
now the creature attacks Renzo's new boat & kills everyone - Cuban as
well as American - in sight, only agent Sparks Moran escapes, with
Carmelita, a girl from a Puerto Rican coastal sorotrity house (yes,
that kind of sorority house) ...
Roger Corman, always
one who knew how to make a dollar count, filmed this one back to back with
Last Woman on Earth in
Puerto Rico, using the same principal cast, too. (A third movie, Joel
Rapp's Battle of Blood Island,
was filmed back-to-back with Creature from the Haunted Sea and Last Woman on Earth
as well, by the way.)
Creature from the
Haunted Sea is however one of his least popular movies (even if Corman
himself refers to it as one of his favourites), loathed by both those who
celebrate Corman as an auteur (& can't fit this little flick neatly
into their theory) & those who slammed him for his 1950's
monster-movies (& couldn't come to terms with the fact that he was
actually capable to consciously make a fool out of the whole genre). For
my part, I thought the film was wickedly funny, an over-the-top nonsense
comedy that was years ahead of its time, that always only pretended to
adhere to certain genre rules only to throw them overboard in the least
expected moments, & that not for one moment wold take itself seriusly.
Granted, the film is not a genuine masterpiece, nor Roger Corman's best
film or the best conmedy/genre parody ever, but it effortlessly delivers a
bit over an hour of fun.