Last night’s film received a sitting non-ovation. Alright, Creature From The Haunted Sea comes across as a cheap-o cheap-o production because it was. Creature from the Haunted Sea was a Roger Corman production that killed three birds with one stone, twice. It was filmed in Puerto Rico at the same time as two other Corman movies, The Last Woman on Earth and Battle of Blood Island. Screenwriter Charles Griffith modified a script about a gang committing a robbery that had already been filmed twice. First as Naked Paradise and later as Beast from Haunted Cave. The new version moved the action from the ski slopes to the Caribbean, added plenty of comic bits and tweaked things here and there.
Released in 1961, Creature From the Haunted Sea was able to coast on the Cuban revolution wave just a bit. A group of ousted Cuban officials steal the treasury and hire Anthony Carbone and his friends to smuggle them to Miami. The CIA suspected something was up and sent their bottom agent, XK150. He manages to infiltrate the gang by cleverly posing as an inexperienced deck hand. Carbone wants to steal the money and has the gang use props to make it seem like a sea monster is killing the Cubans one by one. Unfortunately a real sea monster is following the gang and really screws up the plan.
Creature From the Haunted Sea features a typical Corman cast. As usual in a Corman film, there are a few future talents on hand. Goofy secret agent XK150 is played by future screen writing legend Robert Towne. As an actor he made a handful of mostly lame movies before concentrating on writing screen plays. As a screenwriter his movies include: Chinatown, Shampoo, Days of Thunder and Mission Impossible. Early Corman regular Anthony Carbone would appear frequently as an Italian gangster on TV and in movies until 1991. Beach Dickerson from Attack of the Crab Monsters is also on hand. He plays a guy who like to imitate the sounds animals make and we’re talking elephants and lions not chipmunks.
Creature From the Haunted Sea is a good movie to watch when you need a reminder that there’s always a cheap way to do things. The actors almost seem like they’re on vacation, partying it up between takes. Carbone in particular appears to be having a great time laughing at the antics of the other cast members. The entire script is so ridiculous, it’s easy to believe Griffith threw it together over a few Rum and Cokes. The important thing to remember is this. As shabby as this movie is, it made money when it was released and it’s still making money. It just goes to show, there will always be a market for cheap crap.
Creature from the Haunted Sea