director Larry Buchanan
Some bad movies are just a lot more fun than other bad movies. For my money, Curse of the Swamp Creature is nigh sublime bad movieness.
It comes from Larry Buchanan, a titan in a cinematic teapot. Buchanan, a Texan, was hired in the 1960’s to shoot cheap color remakes of American International Pictures originals from the 1950’s. These included titles like In The Year 2889 (remake of The Day The World Ended), Creature of Destruction (remake of The She Creature), Attack of the Eye Creatures (remake of Invasion of the Saucer Men) and Zontar, the Thing From Venus (remake of It Conquered The World). Per 1000misspenthours.com, Curse of the Swamp Creature is itself a re-make of 1956’s Voodoo Woman.
While the film “stars” John Agar and Francine York, since we’re still working with my money here, I’ll say the real star is Jeff Alexander, who could pass for Hunter S. Thompson’s more svelte younger brother, as Dr. Simond Trent, resident mad scientist, alligator farmer, and amphibio-human enthusiast. The whole film is shot with post-production sound synching and is a madcap camp comedy at every turn, and yet Dr. Trent is a genuinely interesting screwball scientist and good villain.
And somehow, perhaps due to the color requirements of re-making these B and lower grade pictures, Curse of the Swamp Creature features good-looking and clean photography in full color. Perhaps best appreciated in the film’s final moments when the creature finally appears in its greenish glory.
Knowing the backstory of Buchanan’s re-making of AIP’s 1950’s fare, it all makes a lot more sense why this looks like an odd color version of a Roger Corman production a decade out of time with no improvements added in at all. The result is something transcendentally camp, a pure late-night trek into a psychotronic cinema fantasia of badness and weirdness in equal doses.
My other favorite fact I uncovered in reading up on the film is this: