Roger Corman: Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)

Description

Creature from the Haunted Sea is a 1961 horror comedy film directed by Roger Corman. Written by Charles B. Griffith, the film is a parody of spy, gangster, and monster movies (mostly Creature from the Black Lagoon), concerning a secret agent, XK150 (played by Robert Towne under the pseudonym Edward Wain), who goes under the code name “Sparks Moran” in order to infiltrate a criminal gang led by Renzo Capetto (Antony Carbone), who is trying to transport a colonel, a group of exiled Cuban nationals, and a large portion of the Cuban treasury out of the country.

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Plot:

During the Cuban Revolution, deported American gambler and racketeer Renzo Capetto (Anthony Carbone) comes up with a get-rich-quick scheme and uses his yacht to help a group of loyalists headed by General Tostada (Edmundo Rivera Alvarez) escape with Cuba’s national treasury, which they plan to use to stage a counterrevolution.

American secret agent XK150, using the alias Sparks Moran (Edward Wain or Robert Towne), has infiltrated the gang which consists of Capeto’s brazenly felonious blond girlfriend Mary-Belle Monahan (Betsy Jones-Moreland); her deceptively clean-cut younger brother Happy Jack (Robert Bean); and a gullible, good-natured, and homicidal oaf named Pete Peterson Jr. (Beach Dickerson), who constantly does animal impressions.

Unfortunately, despite his other role as the story’s omniscient narrator, Sparks is too much the Maxwell Smart-style bumbler to figure out what is going on because of his own incompetence and his hopeless infatuation with the completely uninterested Mary-Belle, who regards his attempts to rescue her from a life of crime with an amused contempt.

Capetto plans to steal the fortune in gold and then to claim that the mythical “Creature from the Haunted Sea” rose and devoured the loyalists, but it is he and his crew who murder the Cuban soldiers with sharpened, claw-like gardening tools and leave behind “footprints” made with a toilet plunger and a mixture of olive oil and green ink. However, he does not know that there really is a shaggy, pop-eyed sea monster lurking in the very waters where he plans to do the dirty deed and that the creature may make his plan all too easy to pull off.

When the monster’s insatiable hunger upsets his scheme, Capetto decides to sink his boat into 30 feet of water off the shore of a small island and then to retrieve the gold later. Complications ensue when the male members of his gang get romantically involved with the natives, with Pete hooking up with the aptly named Porcina (Esther Sandoval) and Jack with her pretty daughter Mango (Sonia Noemí González), and local working girl Carmelita (Blanquita Romero) takes an instant liking to Sparks.

Capetto and his gang go scuba diving to attempt to salvage the loot, but the creature picks them all off one by one except for Sparks and Carmelita, and the movie ends with the creature sitting on the undersea treasure and happily picking its teeth. The creature burps and the bubbles roll up with the credits.

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Cast:

Antony Carbone as Renzo Capetto
Betsy Jones-Moreland as Mary-Belle Monahan
Robert Towne as Sparks Moran / Agent XK150 / Narrator
Beach Dickerson as Pete Peterson Jr.
Robert Bean as Happy Jack Monahan
Esther Sandoval as Porcina Perez
Sonia Noemí González as Mango Perez
Edmundo Rivera Álvarez as General Tostada
Terry Nevin as Colonel Cabeza Grande
Blanquita Romero as Carmelita Rodriguez
Jaclyn Hellman as Agent XK-120

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