Saturday, October 26, 2013

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)

Hell o Prisoners

Time for Disc #1, Movie #9, from 50 Horror Classics

Allied Artists Television Corporation Production


Directer (and Producer) Roger Corman's

"The 20th century occurred in Havana, Cuba. The revolutionary victors marched in, and the national complexion changed completely. They had been liberated. The survivors of the old regime had escaped the best they could, taking with them only a few meager effects, such as the Cuban Treasury and other art objects. It wasn't always easy to smuggle a loot out of Cuba, and so secret meetings were being held all over the island.

This story of robbery, double-cross, and murder, begins with just such a meeting..."

Right out of an episode of Get Smart, Agent XK 150 (Robert Towne) gets a simple shine, plus a secret message in his sock. He tips the man accordingly, and is on his way, but not before shots are fired. The shoe shine man drops, and XK 150 is chased by two bearded men.  

Who knows.
You never see them again.
Just another day in the life of a secret agent...

XK 150 gives them the slip and stoops in a doorway to read the note. "Santa Domingo Bar XK 120." He eats the note, puts on his fake stache and shades, and proceeds to the Santa Domingo, where he deduces the girl sitting alone in front of a chess board must be XK 120, so once she gives permission, he joins her.

They banter.
She asks, “Do you play?”
“I never work, if I can help it.”
“I mean chess.” 
He positively identifies her as XK 120, and will report back to her during the mission, but please don't ask what that is, because I have no idea. She’s got a decoder ring. Oh boy. For appearances sake, they kiss, and unable to wrench his eyes from her, he trips on his way out. 

Meanwhile in a secluded wood, three cars meet. Out of one, exit Cuban officers, Counter Revolutionaries "As you know, our country has been order for us to....a counter has become necessary for us to, uh, steal the Cuban Treasury...You'll have 1/4...Deliver the treasury; we'll give the money." And a crate that takes six men to carry is lifted from one vehicle to the other. They depart, and the shooting begins. It's all very dark and confusing and difficult to tell who is who. But you know, the guys who were entrusted with the gold are now stealing it and making their way to their getaway boat. Narrator, none other than XK 150, says, "The first move in the great conspiracy had been made. The Cuban Treasury was now in the hands of Renzo Capetto (Antony Carbone), the most trustworthy man to be deported from Sicily..."  XK 150, alias Sparks Moran, boards posing as a "Notorious gun machine burglar from Chicago, but  'My real name is XK 150.'"

Players on the boat:

"Renzo Capetto, alias Capo Rozetto, alias Ratto Pazetti, alias Zeppo Sticcato, alias Shirley Lamour" a low-life-do-badder Bogart Doppelganger, regarded as dangerous.
His gal, Mary-Belle  (Betsy Jones-Moreland) alias "Mary-Belle Monahan, alias Mary-Monahan Belle, alias Belle-Mary Monahan, alias Monahan Marybelle." Low-life sleeze, heroin dealer, and femme fatale.
Happy Jack Monahan (Robert Bean) Mary-Belle's brother, a strapping young beach boy type, with striped T and original Vans, to boot.

And then we have Pete Peterson, Jr. (Beach Dickerson), son of a Vaudeville star, "but unfortunately he blew his brain out of whack when he was imitating a whooping crane at an Elk's convention picnic in Osh Kosh in 1942." Since then, he makes mostly animal voices. Renzo likes him. I think he's annoying, but Renzo takes care of him, and in turn, Pete Peterson is Renzo's faithful servant. 
And then last, but not least, XK 150, alias Sparks Moran, alias Narrator--Edward Wain, the Cuban soldiers, and the Generals. 

As the Cubans make merry on deck, down below, Renzo and Company make a plan. "We got to get rid of at least half of these Cubans without making the rest of them suspicious." He tells a folk tale about a sea monster known to be in the area. So, naturally they'll make a monster on which to pin the murders. It will have the claws of a garden rake and olive oil and seaweed for skin. 
In his cubbie, XK 150 sets up his "undetectable radio set" using "simulated hot dogs for knobs and tubes inside of dill pickles." 
And Mary-Belle's up on deck trying to ward off the Cuban General's advances, and, due to the language barrier, and a translator who feels it best to skew the message. Mary-Belle's "Will you please tell the General I think he would be most at home cooking over a hot spit?" Comes out, well, just look to the right. He kisses her hand and passes on. 
That night, Renzo and his cronies rig the scene. They make footprints with a plunger and paint. Everything seems to be going according to plan, except there was to have been only one Cuban killed, not two. One of the Generals is easier to convince than the other when it came to blaming a monster. 
A boat approaches. They see it's the Coast Guard, which is now actually the National Coast Guard. To act natural, Renzo had Mary-Belle, alias Mary-Belle Monahan, alias Mary-Monahan Belle, alias Belle-Mary Monahan, alias Monahan Marybelle sing a song.  They were looking for gold. They didn't find any, but they did find you don't mess with Renzo, alias Renzo Capetto, alias Capo Rozetto, alias Ratto Pazetti, alias Zeppo Sticcato, Alias Shirley Lamour. Once everything dies down...

XK 150 pants at Mary-Belle. "Mary-Belle, you have a beautiful voice. You're talents are being allowed to molder away unknown to humanity. You could be a star. The toast of three continents. Let me take you away with me...She was madly in love with me, only she didn't know it yet...You're ravishing...When Renzo isn't looking, we'll jump and swim through shark infested waters, so no one will follow us." To which Mary-Belle replied simply, "You're sick." 

Renzo sets the plan; They'll go to a little island at the tip of Puerto Rico. The entry reef is narrow, so he'll run aground, and then a lifeboat will be lowered. Once the Cubans get in the boat, Pete is to capsize it. Check.

The water is full of Cubans, and the monster, and, unfortunately, the gold. On shore, the Cubans are building a shelter on the little island and Renzo and Mary-Belle are planning their triple-cross. They'd all go down for the treasure. He'd get it, without them knowing, kill a few Cubans, tell the Generals they were unable to retrieve it, and return a few years later for the loot.

Now, I'm not gonna spend a lot on this part, because it's boring, but this little island turns out to be, like, the Love Island.  Pete hooks up with some island wench named Rosina Perez (Esther Sandoval), and Happy Jack hooks up with this chick named Carmelita Rodriguez (Blanquita Romero) who later hookss for Agent XK 150, so Rosina hooks him up with her daughter, Mango (Sonia Noemi Gonzalez).

First, they need to get everyone back in the boat. Renzo sees his chance right off the bat to put the plan in motion, picking off a Cuban who ventures off alone. Then another makes the same mistake. The divers float up on the beach, and believe Renzo's story about a monster. 

Down below, Renzo locates the crate, but he's not alone. The Creature watches unnoticed.

The couples frolic in the water, but Mango gets drug under by the Creature in true Jaws form. They really don't notice to begin with, but then Happy Jack starts freaking out. "Mango! Why'd ya do it, Renzo?!" 

Renzo managed to convince him that it had to be the Cubans, cause at this point, he didn't know if the monster was real either. There had to be another dive. He needed to pick off the Generals. It didn't take long for them to separate, and they were knocked off one by one, while the monster looked on. The Creature, however, struck out at Happy Jack, and the love lost boy checked out. 

And now, Special Report from Agent XK 150 notes, "It was getting dark, I could tell because the sun was going down." 

He flees with Carmelita in a lifeboat to the island. On board, Mary-Belle is about livid, what, with Jack being killed and all, and not  knowing who to believe. Who killed him? The Cubans? A monster? Renzo? And so while Renzo's trying to get back into her good graces with a kiss and a hug next to the bow, the monster snatches Mary-Belle up and out of the boat, and well, that's the end of her. The Creature boards, wreaking havoc, while Renzo rows away in a lifeboat for one. He makes it to shore, but the monster doesn't have to stay in the water, and so that's the end of Renzo, too. 

In black tie, shades, but no stache, fickle Agent XK 150 says,“Carmelita I love you, and I want to marry you and take you away from all of this…Of course we have to live on the salary of an American spy which is $41.50 a week. “  This is alright with her. And then as humble as he is, he comes clean.  “I’m not really as smart as I look.” Well, he fell for the fake monster bit too, and they kiss. 

And Narrator, Edward Wain, alias XK 150, alias Sparks Moran, wraps it up. “So I got the girl, and guess who got the gold.” And the Monster holds the camera in the last shot, sitting on the crate, down with Davey Jones.

What'd I think? Well, I thought it was alright. Actually, it was better than alright. I still don't know what XK 150 was doing on the boat, though. haha. You can't deny the script is a hoot! Thanks Mr. Corman! Scary? No. But there was a monster in it! And no atomic energy! Bonus! I'm going to give it two flames on the flame scale. Certainly entertaining, if you're looking for a good laugh. 

Next, it's Disc #1, Movie #10, Eaten Alive (1977).

Until next time...Keep those fires stoked.

Eternally Yours
Warden Stokely


  1. Eaten Alive (1977)? Is that the Tobe Hooper directed Eaten Alive? What's that doing mixed in with all of these older oldies?

  2. Congratulations! You're a recipient of The Sunshine Award!

  3. This is truly one of the happiest days of my life. I'd like to thank Brandon from Movies at Dog Farm for nominating me for this prestigious award, even though it has the word "Sunshine" in it, AND a yellow flower. Since it's the first award I've won, hell, I don't care if it's sunny or floral. Seriously, thanks, Brandon. I will display it with pride.