Thursday, July 15, 2010

"My Beautiful Indestructible Fish Man"

Rick Baker, eat your heart out.

The title of this post? A quote by Dr. Simond Trent, mad scientist in the movie "Curse of the Swamp Creature" (1966).

This grade Z effort was recently broadcast on the television network This TV, sponsored by that new miracle drug, Colon Flow.

Dr. Trent is hiding out in a Texas swamp, transforming human beings into fish men. Of course, none of these humans volunteered for his experiments but when the law is far away, who's going to stop you?

Well, maybe the local "natives," poor blacks who live in the same swamp. Trent exploits the locals, forcing one to be his lieutenant and number one lackey. Another local ends up as a failed experiment, dumped into a screened swimming pool loaded with hungry alligators who like to chew up the scenery.

Besides the locals, John Agar shows up, a geologist searching for oil in the swamp. He doesn't suspect that the people in his party -- a B-girl, a slow-witted young adult named Ritchie, and a guide named Rabbit -- have done away with the oil man he was supposed to meet. The B-girl -- first name Brenda -- is pretending to be the wife of the murdered oil man, using the name "Mrs. West."

This party of idiots travel by motorboat through the swamp. Scene after scene is shown of the swamp. Hey, it's free, so shoot it. Eventually they end up at Dr. Trent's home where he has been holding his wife a virtual prisoner.

Mrs. Trent -- portrayed by "statuesque" Francine York -- at one point is alone with John Agar. She tells him that her husband is insane, they have to escape. John doesn't buy it. After all, it's normal for someone to keep hungry alligators in his swimming pool.

The party of idiots stay the night at Trent's home. John sleeps in the living room, apparently a sound sleeper. Trent passes by him, carrying another dead experiment from his lab for a late night swimming pool party. Later the mad doctor drugs Brenda, the so-called Mrs. West, and carries her right by John. Apparently John could sleep through Trent dragging a trumpeting elephant into his lab.

Trent has locked up his wife in the lab closet. Despite her screaming, John doesn't hear a thing, despite both the lab door and the closet door not being that thick or soundproof.

Ritchie the stupid overgrown kid goes off and spies on a voodoo ceremony. What is odd is that the leader of the ritual is Trent's number one lackey. Why is he now putting on a voodoo mask and stirring up the others against his master? Motivation is as murky as a dark swamp in this movie.

As the oppressed locals leave, Ritchie is entranced by a girl who danced provocatively during the voodoo ceremony. Apparently voodoo got his mojo working. Following her back to her home, he corners the girl in her dressing room, telling her: "Be good, baby. There's nobody here but us chickens." Will Ritchie ignore the warning about staying away from the river and the quicksand when he chases the poor girl? Do I really have to answer that question?

Ritchie's last words: "I won't hurt you... help me... helpgurglegurgle--"

Let me mention the actor Bill Thurman has a dual roll in this cinematic classick. He's the overweight oil man who is killed in the beginning. And in the end he's the flabby monster with bad make-up who is supposed to be the slender Brenda/Mrs. West transformed into a fish woman.

John Agar wakes up when he hears a gunshot outside the house and somehow he finally notices Mrs. Trent screaming in the closet. The mad doctor orders his creature to attack the mob of locals approaching his home. John and Mrs. Trent try to convince Fishified Brenda to attack the mad doctor. This scene is shot through the eyes of the monster, all three actors trying to influence it/her. It's a technique called Ham-O-Vision.

Mrs. Trent: "Look at yourself! You were a beautfiful girl, Brenda."

The monster visually checks itself, an amazing feat since its eyeballs are painted rubber balls cut in half. Will the monster turn on Dr. Trent and will they end up falling into the swimming pool filled with hungry alligators? Do I really have to -- never mind.

This movie features looped in dialogue done post production inside a big steel bin, beating drums that almost never stop, and sound synchronization off half a beat, from someone hitting a drum to hand-clapping. And let's not forget dialogue that the one microphone could barely pick up. Of course, there's all the "night" cinematography, scenes shot when the full moon was bright as the sun. Filmed more or less in color, apparently on some WW II era Kodak film left inside a hot warehouse in Brazil.

A small turtle makes the perfect crunchy snack while experiencing this disasterpiece.

[If you're a fan of goodbad movies, check out this series by X. Dell over at his blog, The X-Spot:]


Doug said...

Well, now that I know the ending I don't need to bother watching.

Just because a movie was made before either of us was born is no reason to leave out "Spoiler Alert".

Thanks to the availability of reasonably good computer technology we have today even for the general public, it's unlikely we'll see this sort of quality production ever again.


And now, from the I-am-not-making-this-up department:

As I was typing up this comment, I had the TV on in the background, set to the Science Channel (showing a "serious" documentary-esque something about stars), and it went to commercial and what appears?

An ad for Colon Flow.

Apparently they're branching out beyond the rubber-eyeball circuit.

Ray said...


Speak for yourself about when the movie was made.

I had debated whether or not to include a Spoiler Alert warning at the beginning but decided against it because this movie is pre-spoiled. I don't want anyone to sit through every minute of it, hoping for a twist ending that makes the whole, long slog worthwhile. Like Mother Teresa, I was put on this planet to alleviate pain and suffering.

Or maybe I'm more like Colon Flow...

X. Dell said...

(1) Okay. It's now on my to-see list.

(2) I prefer mock turtle snacks.

(3) I too am older than this movie, but not by much.

(4) Looking this up on, I saw that Larry Buchanon directed this film. I'm more familiar with his conspiracy flicks (e.g., The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald, and Down on Us--both of which I have in my video collection). He consulted briefly with Mae Brussell, but Brussell thought of him as a crackpot.

This seems more a more suitable venue for his talents.