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Creature from the Haunted Sea

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1961). Roger Corman Productions/The Filmgroup. Directed by Roger Corman. Produced by Corman and Charles Hannawalt. Written by Charles B Griffith. Cast includes Antony Carbone, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Blanquita Romero and Robert Towne (credited as Edward Wain). Narrator: Towne. 63 minutes, expanded to 75 minutes for television. Black and white.

After the Cuban Revolution a group of military officers wishes to flee the nation with much of its treasury in the form of gold bullion. American gangster Renzo Capetto (Carbone) offers transport on his boat. In reality, he and his gang of mobsters intend to kill them once safely far from shore, and blame their deaths on an attacking sea Monster. US CIA agent XK150 alias Sparks Moran (Towne) has infiltrated the gang to obtain evidence against Capetto, but keeps fouling up through his own ineptness; he is smitten by Capetto's girlfriend Mary-Belle Monahan (Jones-Moreland), but she detests him, a fact he seems unable to realize. The gangsters' plans go awry when a real sea monster appears and begins killing everyone, starting with the Cuban officers. Sinking the ship in shallow waters, the survivors make it to a nearby island where Moran meets Carmelita Rodriguez (Romero) and other women. The crooks are killed off one by one by the monster as they attempt to retrieve the gold. Moran and Carmelita reach safety on a deserted island where it appears the two will be stranded together indefinitely; neither seems to mind their plight.

Corman had filmed this basic script twice before without any Satire, first as the nonfantastic crime film Naked Paradise (1957) and then as Beast from Haunted Cave (1959). This angered screenwriter Griffith, who wrote this version as well, including a part so difficult to play that Corman had to abandon his plans of taking the part himself. Creature from the Haunted Sea was filmed in Puerto Rico with footage left over from Last Woman on Earth (1960), featuring many of the same cast. It was advertised as a straight Monster Movie thriller: many film-goers felt cheated when it proved to be a comic Parody. In 1963, Corman hired director Monte Hellman to shoot some additional scenes before its sale to Television. [GSt]


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