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11.8.14

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)


Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Antony Carbone, Robert Towne (as "Edward Wain"), Betsy Jones-Moreland, Beach Dickerson, Robert Bean
Not rated 63 min.

There are a few cut price DVD outfits selling CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA and marketing it as a horror film. It's not. This is a parody of horror and spy flicks that Roger Corman threw together in five days using leftover footage from LAST WOMAN ON EARTH.  It is also a strong contender for Corman's chintziest production.

Secret agent XK150, aka Sparks Moran (Robert Towne, billed as “Edward Wain”), goes undercover aboard a boat captained by an American gangster named Renzo Capetto (Antony Carbone). Renzo is helping a group of Cuban military officials smuggle a crate of gold out of the country, and XK150 is trying to figure out why. However, Renzo is conspiring to get the Cubans out of the picture so he can have the gold for himself. He concocts a harebrained scheme to kill off the Cubans and blame it on a sea monster that he has his dimwitted lackeys create. The plan works for a while, until a real sea monster makes an appearance.

Agent XK150 (Robert Towne) in disguise


The Creature from the Haunted Sea
This was the third comedy Charles Griffith wrote for Corman, following BUCKET OF BLOOD and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. It has not aged nearly as well as those films. Part of the reason is Griffith took a "quantity over quality" approach this time around, and launched a barrage of sight gags and corny jokes with hopes that something would stick. Not much does. The funniest aspect of the movie is the creature, which looks like a mountain of steamed spinach with ping pong ball eyes. Apart from that, I can't imagine anyone in this day and age finding CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA very amusing.

Sergio Aragones of "Spy vs. Spy" fame drew the cartoons featured during the opening credit sequence. "Edward Wain" is actually Robert Towne, who would go on to incredible success as a screenwriter and director. He would also write TOMB OF LIGEIA for Corman just a few years after this. Like a lot of Corman's early movies, the people involved are more interesting than the movie itself. Corman would direct the fantastic PIT AND THE PENDULUM next.


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