Director: Larry Buchanan

Hoff! Hoff! Hoff!

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Deep in the heart of a Floridian swamp, Dr. Simond Trent hovers over a vat of...of...some smoky concoction..as a scaly, reptilian hand protrudes forth from the mist. "Breath!" Trent commands. But unfortunately, the beast dies, and the After the alcohol consumption got a little out of hand at the Klan rally, Janice had to be carried homedoctor is forced to dispose of yet another failure into the pit of alligators conveniently located in his front yard.

Many miles away, at the Fly 'N Fish lodge, Driscoll West bellies up to the bar. Frenchie, the bartender, introduces him to the lodge bookkeeper, Brenda Simmons. They banter back and forth for a while, and Driscoll believes he may score big with his newfound friend. But suspicion arises when Brenda asks if Driscoll truly believes he is going to find oil out in the swamp. The problem being, Driscoll had never voiced his intentions of searching for bubblin' crude - Black Gold - Texas Tea, and realizes that he is merely being distracted. West quickly returns to his room to find Richie, the resident thug, browsing through his suitcase.

Accusations turn to blows, and when Richie appears to be at the bad end of good beating, he evens the odds by pulling a knife. Finally, Brenda and Frenchie arrive, but only to find the corpse of Driscoll West, and Richie holding the bloody knife. They then discover that Driscoll was to meet with a business partner, Barry Rogers, the very next day. Where can they hide West's body? And how can they"Hi, I'm Frenchie, your Time Life operator!" still profit from Rogers' excavation into the swamp? Brenda suddenly comes up with an idea - she'll pose as Mrs. West! They'll say that Mr. West had urgent business that popped up unexpectedly, and reluctantly had to send Mrs. West in his stead (along with an assistant - who would be played by Richie).

The next day, after chopping up Driscoll's body and disposing of the pieces, Brenda, under the guise of Mrs. West, rendezvous with Barry Rogers, and weaves her elaborate lie. Barry, reluctantly, concedes with the plan, and the next morning, Barry, Brenda, Richie, and Rabbit (their guide) climb into a boat, and head out into the heart of the swamp. After travelling along the river for a while, they come to a tract of marsh impassable by boat, and continue their trek on foot.

Meanwhile, at the lab, Dr. Trent and his assistant, Tom (Larry Buchanan), celebrate after having successfully transplanted gills onto a crocodile. Though the rationale behind wanting to put gills on a crocodile is never addressed, it's a "She blinded *me*...with SCIENCE!"remarkable feat, nonetheless. But even though the doctor is successful in gill transplants, his efforts in creating a monster still prove futile, and once again, the doctor must make that long walk from the lab to the alligator pit to dispose of yet another specimen. This provides the breaking point for Trent's wife, Pat, who has never approved of Simond's experiments - and knows the real reason why so many natives from the neighboring village have been coming up missing.

Meanwhile, out in the swamp, it has taken approximately five minutes in the wetlands before Rogers is spurning the advances of Brenda - who, by the way, was also juggling affairs with both Richie and Frenchie. The next morning, the prospective Ewings happen across Dr. Trent's estate. The doctor invites them in, offering the research party a break from their swampish endeavors - as well as a variety of beverages. During the "getting to know you" conversation, Dr. Trent explains a little about the experiments he performs, along with his theory of how man evolved from snakes. Which is quite logical, because snakes - like man - have long, cylindrical bodies, forked tongues, scales and an appetite for hamsters.Richie: White Hunter, Numb Skull Meanwhile, in the woods outside the doctor's property, Richie discovers a tribe of natives performing the sacred "Snake Dance" (similar, perhaps, to the "Humpty Dance"), which, as explained by some locals, is meant to ward off the evil spirit inhabiting the area. In the midst of the ceremony, a replica of Dr. Trent serves as the guest of honor. Back inside, Simond invites his new friends to stay the night, and continue their arduous journey in the morning. Rogers and the gang gladly accept, and they all bed down for the night.

That evening, while house sleeps, Dr. Trent, desperate for a new guinea pig, slips into Tom's room, drugs him, and carries him off to the lab to begin the transformation process. But Pat discovers Simond's grisly undertaking, and terminates the experiment, killing what was left of Tom in the process. Simond, enraged, locks his wife in the lab closet. "Oh no, Scarlet, you won't be turning me out tonight!"Back outside, the villagers have formed an angry mob, and are about to lay siege on the evil doctor's lair. But Dr. Trent has one last trick up his sleeve. With some new (and rather convenient) derivatives he recently discovered (along with 11 secret herbs and spices he borrowed from the Colonel), Simond's monstrous experiment will finally bear fruit (not that the monster will be a fruit, mind you); but not only will the experiment be a success, the transformation will be instantaneous (which is good, because the movie was almost over). All Simond lacks is one last subject - and being short on options, he settles for Brenda (which, to me, was the logical choice, being that she was fairly reptilian in nature to begin with).

Back in the closet, Pat finally breaks free from her confineIs it soup yet?s, and finds Rogers in the living room (which is suspiciously close to the lab - if you were a mad scientist conducting grotesque experiments to fellow human beings, would you have your lab right next to the living room where your houseguests are casually chatting?). She convinces Barry of Simond's dastardly doings just as the angry mob outside gets to the front door. Meanwhile, the Brenda Monster (looking quite manly, might I add) comes to life. Dr. Trent then orders his creature outside to confront and destroy his adversaries - and a battle of truly epic proportions commences.

I can't honestly say I didn't enjoy CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE; but I can't really say I liked it either. Indifference would provide a fairly apt description of my feelings towards t"Um...rar?"his film. The acting, for the most part, was abysmal - but I thought Dr. Trent was entertaining - in a true, mad scientist ham-like fashion. The most heinous atrocity was the actual quality of the print itself - this film defines cheapness. Dark, grainy, and for the most part, unintelligible (which sucks when you have to take vidcaps).

David, random contributor to OTF, told me that Buchanan had used the same creature from this film in several other pictures. So, being that I'm a staunch advocate for recycling, I'm giving CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE the benefit of a Hoff.

PIGS - IN - SPAAAACE!!!

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These are the times of which to cherish...

 

"Damn you, Serta! DAMN YOU!"

Dr. Trent's Pillow-Hating Alligators. Whenever Simond disposes of one of his cadavers, it shows him carrying the corpse, wrapped in a bedsheet, to the pool, then dumping it in from atop the diving board. Then, oddly enough, we cut to stock footage (?) of alligators eating pillows. For one thing, I don't see what this has to do with the film. For another, what do these alligators have against pillows?! Was this part of some bizarre subplot that was deleted in post-production?

- Before Driscoll discovers the intruder rifling through his belongings, Frenchie tries to warn Richie (via telephone) in Driscoll's room. The amazing thing is: Richie picks up Driscoll's phone before it even rings. Must have been a disturbance in the Force. Or something.

This is the ancient ritual of "Shaking Your Money-Maker"

The Snake Dance. Whenever Hollywood (or Larry Buchanan) attempts to simulate an "authentic" tribal ritual, you can almost guarantee that something ludicrous will result.

- The final scene where Pat tries to convince the creature (Brenda, remember?) not to carry out Simond's evil bidding, and that she "used to be a beautiful woman." I was waiting for someone to plea, "Brenda, I know that you're in there - somewhere - inside that monster! Don't let it take over! You can fight it, Brenda! You can beat it! Do it...because you love me!"

"Hiiiiiiii.....ya?"

The tribute to William Shatner. While one of Dr. Trent's servants is being reprimanded for his incompetence, the Head Servant gives him a punch to the gut, and a karate chop to the back of neck worthy of Captain Kirk. I mean, that weak chop wouldn't bring down a rabid gerbil - let alone a two hundred and some-odd pound man.

 

Doesn't appear to be available at Amazon.com. Sorry.

 

-- Copyright 2000 by J. Bannerman

 

 

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