Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) by #RogerCorman
w/ #
AntonyCarbone #BetsyJonesMoreland

A crook kills his partners and blames a legendary sea creature, not knowing that the creature is real.

“This Gangster’s “Silent Partner” Isn’t Even Human!”

#Horror #Comedy

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) is the third movie that Roger Corman made in Puerto Rico – the final chapter of his Puerto Rico trilogy, if you will. It was made, I believe, almost as an afterthought. We’re here, let’s quickly make another movie (or something like that). I wrote about the first movie in the trilogy a while back. It was, of course, Last Woman on Earth (1960). The second movie was a bit more unusual for Corman. It was called Battle of Blood Island (1960), and was a fairly straight forward war movie. Creature from the Haunted Sea is probably the zaniest of the three, and, truth be told, the worst. But seeing as how Corman is one of my filmmaking heroes, I still say there’s a lot to like about it…

The problem with Creature from the Haunted Sea is that it’s a comedy, and as such, it’s not very funny. Maybe I’d better back up for a minute…

I am a fan of bad movies. So bad they’re good movies, you might say. One reason that they appeal to me is that they are funny. Not intentionally, but funny all time same. When a serious movie is bad, it’s often funny. Not always. Some bad is just boring. But a really bad movie, when it’s aiming to be serious, can sometimes hit the bullseye of unintentional humour. Hence, a bad action film can be amusing and a bad horror film can be hilarious. But a bad comedy, by definition, CANNOT BE FUNNY. If a comedy is funny, it is for all intents and purposes a good comedy. It’s doing its job (or at least appears to be doing its job) by making us laugh. Only when a comedy fails to make us laugh do we tend to call it a bad comedy.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Comedies that go so far around the bend that they bypass unfunny and come all the way around to being funny again. But you have to practically be an unintentional genius to pull that off. And I don’t think anyone ever does it on purpose. And in some cases, I think the audience member has to have a very specific appreciation for the kind of badness on display to truly appreciate films like that. And as such, I will refrain from trying to name examples.

All of this is to say that Creature from the Haunted Sea is a bad movie. If it had been an attempt at a serious horror film, it might be comedy gold. But because it was an attempt at humour, it mostly falls flat.

It was a sort of remake of Beast from Haunted Cave (1959), which is a far superior movie – one of my favourites, in fact. I knew that going in, so perhaps it coloured my experience of this one. Either way, it just doesn’t measure up to the high standards set by the original. 

Still, if you can lower your expectations for a little over one hour, you might find yourself chuckling occasionally at the unbelievable goings on in Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961). It’s #NotQuiteClassicCinema best remembered for one of the silliest looking monsters in the annals of silly monster movies. Not a ringing endorsement perhaps, but if you’ve already seen the other two parts of Roger Corman’s Puerto Rico Trilogy, you know you need to see this one, so you might as well get it over with on some dark and stormy #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.