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“Sargassum, the weed of deceit”

One of the reasons I always liked Roger Ebert as a film critic is that he knew how hard it is to make a really bad movie.  So many things that ‘seem’ like they should be easy to do, are apparently quite difficult.  Linking scenes and themes, conveying information without exposition, building tension—all of these factors and more just escape the lesser writers and directors.  It is even more frustrating when you see the people behind the film nail a detail or two right.  I really do love the ‘board of vengeance’ the bad Doctor has.

It is always nice to be reminded that the Age of the Stock Footage movie was still going strong in the early 70’s.  Don Barton seems to be a man who studied the work of Robert Lippert closely.

Thankfully cut for MST3K, extended *silent* swimming and walking sequences of the Walking ManCatfish (CatfishMan?).  Extended water testing sequences.  Extended net casting sequences.  Extended acid bath sequences.  Extended ManFish sketching blondes sequences.  Extended Manfish peeping sequences.  Even extended non-manfish fish walking sequences!

God even I know about cueing action before the scene starts.  A sissy slap kills the wife of the first boat attack victim and the son (?) is floating dead, with hands moving to stay afloat.  That’s the best shot you could get?  Is that on the director or editor?

Gerald Cruse does a pretty decent job as Rex “Boy” Baker.  Sad to say, I don’t really think the racial tension he conveys with the sheriff is all acting.

Jeremy Wade could take Dr. Z.

Is it the acting or writing?  I’m thinking writing loses, 75-25.  In the 86 minutes of the movie, it feels like there are 60 minutes of silence.  Can they act?  They were never given the chance.

I get why SciFi was paced the way it was in the 70’s (at least until Star Wars).  2001 and Silent Running were subtle, artsy, acceptable for adults.  Subtle is too close to boring for most people.

The blonde in the tub is the first believable dead person in the movie!  And it leads to a relevant cut scene.  A fight with the fish monster!  A short bad fight, and it runs from a camera, but still—I can’t believe that didn’t make the cut.  AND the sheriff told the stupid scientists about Dr. Leopold waaay before he talks about him in the Jeep.

Gene Roth so should have been the sheriff.

Oh for some rock climbing.  Even John Agar would be an improvement.  Hell, Nestor Paiva would be an improvement.

Watchabilty: 1 of 5.  If I want to watch a Lippert movie, I’ll watch a Lippert movie.  I’ll forgive most anything but dull.  Nothing builds to short bursts of nothing.  It has all the worst features of the Creature from the Black Lagoon series with none of the strengths.

Missing the Riffs: 1 of 5.  There is just so little dialogue in this movie, not having the Bots and Mike is painful.

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