Spectacle | 124 South 3rd Street
CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA
Dir. Roger Corman, 1961.
USA/Puerto Rico. 75 min.
Recently emboldened by shooting THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS in two days on a successful bet, Corman squeezed an extra movie out of his and his LAST WOMAN ON EARTH cast’s plane tickets by calling up screenwriter Charles B. Griffith (recently of LITTLE SHOP and A BUCKET OF BLOOD) to crank out a new script. The result is another madcap macabre satire that knowingly plays its low budget for big laughs.
Commenting on history as it unfolds, CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA was shot during the waning days of Cuba’s Batista government. It’s narrator introduces a story of “robbery, double-cross, and murder,” in which Renzo Capeto (Anthony Carbone), an American gambler and con man, is hired by Batista’s generals to help them abscond with the Cuban treasury. While fleeing revolutionaries by sailboat with secret agent “XK150”—played by future Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne—on board as an infiltrator, Capeto hatches a plan to knock off the Cubans one-by-one while blaming it on a fictitious sea monster. Or is it fictitious? In a knowingly absurd twist, it just so happens that the same monster he’s invented just happens to be lurking beneath their vessel.
In few movies is the fun the cast and crew were having so apparent on screen. One gets the sense of the movie as a “working vacation,” and Griffith’s script provides the perfect opportunity for no one to take themselves too seriously: Towne might not have cut it as a leading man, but he and Carbone are perfect in their roles as deadpan hams. And yet against all odds, the movie is recognized by Corman as one of his most personal. Everyone is an inept con, there are no heroes—and in the end, the guy in the cheap monster suit with tennis ball eyes wins.
Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:30 PM
Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:00 PM