Curse of the Swamp Creature (1966)

“Breathe!”

“Live!”

“Breathe!”

The mad scientist bellows.  A webbed and clawed hand stretches out of a dense cloud of mist, then vanishes back into it.

At which point, seconds into the movie, it all suddenly gets far less interesting.

There’s a mad scientist living back in the swamp, carrying out the usual forbidden experiments with people and alligators, trying to prove that man evolved from lizards and trying to push his subjects backwards and forwards on the evolutionary scale; there’s the scheming woman and her criminal cohorts, plotting to get rich if John Agar can find oil back in the swamp; and here I am, once again, watching one of Larry Buchanan’s AIP TV movie remakes of some dreadful AIP movie.

While some have mistakenly identified Curse of the Swamp Creature as a Buchanan original, it is, in fact, a remake of an Edward L. Cahn film, Voodoo Woman.  Somehow there’s something about the very idea of remaking one of Cahn’s film that turns the brain to dazed mush.  Which does seem to be the state in which this film was made.

Ironically, believing that it was a Buchanan original, I had come to the conclusion that he was better off remaking old AIP films, as this particular film makes even The Eye Creatures (which, now that I think of it, was based on a Cahn original) look good.  Buchanan himself later advised against filming a movie in a swamp as all his footage came out “strange”.  However, I’m not sure just how much of all this actually was filmed in the swamp, as the mad scientist’s compound seems to be just an ordinary house with a few trees around it.  Oh, and a swimming pool full of alligators.  No suburban home complete without one of those, y’know.

It also deserves some sort of prize for the absolute worst monster ever, a statement I make well aware of the fact that I will probably see one even more terrible within a matter of days, as a friend has recently discovered the wonders of bad Youtube movies and has been eager to go exploring some of the worst. However, not only is this big burly guy, with the silly ping-pong ball bugged-out eyes that look as if they’d been borrowed from Killers from Space, wearing the most incredibly lazy costume ever, as if no one was even trying, but he clearly is not the sexy gal who just minutes before got the injections that turned her into a big, burly guy covered with green grease paint.

And, of course, Larry reused the costume from one of his other films.  Naturally.

On the plus side, Jeff Alexander, the scenery-chewing actor playing the mad scientist does give an interesting performance that gives a little life to the tired proceedings.

Other than that, one feels a little sorry for John Agar, who went from playing the nice, young, all-American boy character in John Ford’s Cavalry trilogy to such dire films as this.  Truly sad.

But that’s Hollywood for you..

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