Bonus Reviews: Idle Roomers, Creature from the Haunted Sea, and Last Woman on Earth
Horror Bulletin Bonus for Week 173
For this week’s bonus films, we’ll look three very different films: the fairly-serious “Last Woman on Earth,” the God-awful “Creature from the Haunted Sea,” and the silly “Idle Roomers” starring none other than the Three Stooges!
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Last Woman on Earth (1960)
Directed by Roger Corman
Written by Robert Towne
Stars Antony Carbone, Betsy Jone-Moreland, Robert Towne
Run Time: 1 Hour, 11 minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
She might not be the actual last woman on Earth, but after an apocalyptic event she’s at least the only one around their immediate area. It’s a decent presentation of the very-few-survivors scenario, watchable and entertaining.
Harry and Evelyn Gern watch a cock fight in Puerto Rico when Martin Joyce approaches. He’s got a newspaper that says Harold is under indictment; Martin is his lawyer. Martin and Evelyn don’t approve of the cockfight, but Harold is all in on the gambling. The trio goes to the casino afterwards. Ev tries really hard to seduce Martin, but he resists.
The next morning, the trio take out the yacht for a quick cruise. They all put on scuba diving equipment and go down and explore the bottom. Ev accidentally shoots Martin in the shoulder with her spear gun, and they all return to the surface. They feel funny and can’t breathe when they surface. They put their tanks back on and swim to the boat.
Manuel, the boat captain, is dead; it looks like he couldn’t breathe. It’s like there’s no oxygen in the air any more. They have a few spare air tanks, so they’ll be OK for a little while. The engine won’t start, and the matches won’t light either. They make it to shore and find dead birds everywhere. After an hour or two the tanks run out, and they find they can breathe now. Whatever it was was only temporary. They’re surrounded by greenery that’s doing its job. Something took the oxygen out of the air, and now it’s back, because “science.”
The town is deserted except for bodies. These three may actually be the last people on Earth. They go back to the Hilton and try to call out, but the phones don’t work. They go to the bar and help themselves. Martin theorizes it must have been some new kind of bomb. They pack up and head to a friend's house on the tip of the island. There won’t be so many corpses there. They arrive and go to bed, waiting to see what the morning brings.
The next morning, they all talk about what needs to be done. Martin wants to stay put and enjoy the island, but Harold wants to go back to New York City, which Martin thinks would be awful. After more discussion they work out the food situation and a basic plan on where to go next. They’ve got canned goods for now, and they start fishing. Ev and Martin start getting closer, and older Harold starts getting jealous. He does the math and figures out that there are two men and only one woman. His marriage may not be worth much in the new world.
Jealousies flare, and the two men come to disagree on many things. Eventually, they come to physical blows. Harold hits Martin in the head with a rock and wins the fight— he “exiles” Martin.
Evelyn, however, wants to go with Martin. The pair steal the car, leaving Harold on his own. Martin passes out from his head wound and wrecks the car, so they have to walk through the jungle. Meanwhile, Harold hot-wires the truck and finds their car.
Ev talks about making babies, but Martin doesn’t see any point in it now. Harold gets the drop on Martin at gunpoint. Harold whacks him in the face with the butt of his gun and they fight some more. They chase each other across the beach and end up in an old church, where Ev is waiting.
Martin starts staggering around; he’s had too many blows to the head, and he’s gone blind. He falls over dead. Harold still wants Evelyn, and the two of them go home to make babies.
This used the same cast as “Creature from the Haunted Sea,” and was filmed at the same time. It was, however, released a few years later. Unlike that film, this one is actually pretty interesting. It’s hard to believe these are the same three actors as that piece of garbage. The acting still isn’t exactly stellar, and it’s got nearly zero budget, but it’s workable and the story is entertaining.
Who wouldn’t want to be the last person on Earth? You could do anything you wanted. “The Last Man on Earth,” “The Quiet Earth,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and even a little bit of “Day of the Triffids” touched on the same topics.
Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961)
Directed by Roger Corman
Stars Antony Carbone, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Robert Towne
Run Time: 1 Hour, 3 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is one of those movies that we watched so you don’t have to. It tries to be funny. It tries to be suspenseful. It tries to be entertaining. The run time is just over an hour, yet after what felt like the second hour of watching it we were only 3/4 of the way through.
Some criminals shoot a man and pursue another through town. The man gets away, but decides to eat the message that he was given. He has to go to a specific bar to meet Agent XK120. He puts on a bad disguise and goes looking for the agent in question. He finds her, and she explains that the enemy thinks that she’s on their side. She has her decoder ring, and it’s all very overplayed. Credits roll.
We get a quick recap of the history of revolutionary Cuba in the late 1950s. Secret meetings were being held all over the island and we begin with just one of them. An American gangster, Capetto, talks to some exiled Cubans who have stolen the Cuban treasury. They want him to carry the whole treasure out of the country on his plane. They load the gold into his car.
We shift to the marina. Sparks Moran, the awful spy-wannabe from the pre-credit sequence, infiltrates Capetto’s gang. Capetto has plans to eliminate the crew and keep all the treasure.
The “hard-boiled” voiceover that introduces the characters is completely played for laughs. Capetto’s girlfriend, Mary-Belle and her brother Happy Jack go along on the boat. So does Pete Peterson who does almost nothing but animal impersonations rather than speaking because he’s incredibly talented but also not right in the head. There’s also a crowd of unnamed Cubans who would be wearing red shirts if this had been in color.
Capetto spills the plan to his gang. They’re going to fake a sea monster attack and blame it on killing the Cubans. Sparks tries to talk Mary-Belle into going straight, but she laughs at his ridiculousness (she’s the only one who was laughing at this point).
They use a plunger with green paint to make fake footprints on the deck of the boat and then wake everyone. Except the monster is actually real and kills one of the Cubans before they can. Capetto proclaims that the man was killed by a sea monster, but the General and his translator laugh at the idea. Still, General Tostada orders them to change course, which was Capetto’s plan all along. They’re going to Puerto Rico, but Sparks overhears them talking about Bali and reports the wrong information.
Mary-Belle sings a song about a “Creature from the Haunted Sea.” Some Cuban revolutionaries board the ship and want to search it. There’s a shootout, and Capetto tells Mary-Belle she can stop signing... after the shootout ends.
Capetto crashes the ship into a reef on purpose. In the ensuing panic, Pete and Happy Jack throw the gold overboard into shallow water so they can come back for it later. They wind up on a deserted island, and Capetto takes charge. Sparks, however, finds a payphone and calls Havana. Happy Jack takes a boat to find help and brings back another woman, Carmelita. Pete finds Carmelita, a woman who makes better animal sounds than he does, and they’re in love. Sparks likes Carmelita
The divers decide it’s time to recover the sunken gold. The crooks kill off the Cubans underwater, one-by-one. General Tostada commands that in the future they will dive with spear guns. They find Mango, Rosina’s daughter, in the woods, and she likes Happy Jack. Now all the guys have their own girl!
Pete and Happy decide to go on their own and kill all the other crooks. But first, they decide to go swimming. The sea monster spots them and grabs Mango. Jack blames Capetto for killing her, since the marks on her body match the monster he “invented.” A little later, the monster kills Happy Jack. Mary-Belle also now thinks Capetto killed her brother.
The monster comes up onto the ship and kills everyone except Sparks and Carmelita. They have a happy ending, and the monster gets the gold. He burps at the end.
It is coherent, and we always knew what was going on, but other than that, this is about as close to a one-star movie as I’ve ever seen. It’s a whole new level of awful and cringeworthy.
Supposedly, this was written using the same basic script outline as “The Beast from Haunted Cave” with some of the details changed. There are similarities, but the two films are actually very different in tone. The monster is one of the silliest-looking creatures ever put on film.
There’s a lot of really awful slapstick comedy here, but it doesn’t hold up well at all. There’s a lot of Spanish-to-English translation comedy, which gets old pretty fast as well.
The hard-boiled narration is awful and gets tedious very, very quickly. The character Sparks, who is also the narrator, is annoying and stupid— intentionally so, but his humor wouldn’t appeal to anyone over the age of maybe eight. Pete’s animal calls were pointless and unrealistic as well.
“It was dusk. I could tell because the sun was going down.” Brilliant!
Idle Roomers (1944)
Directed by Del Lord
Written by Del Lord, Elwood Ullman
Stars Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Howard
Run Time: 17 Minutes
The Three Stooges are bellhops at a hotel. Moe brings up Mrs. Leander’s bags while Larry runs the elevator. When they get to the woman’s room, Moe finds Curly in there making himself at home. Moe makes him regret it. When her husband arrives, Moe assaults him by mistake.
After some hijinks involving carrying an oversized trunk, the woman’s husband throws knives at Curly and Moe. The man has a flier “The greatest attraction of the age: Lupe The Wolf Man, Alive in person!” He’s planning on showing his find at the carnival. He opens the giant trunk and there actually is a wolf man inside. “He’s absolutely harmless unless he hears music; then he goes insane!”
Mr. and Mrs. Leander have to go out, so they call the Stooges in to clean the room. Curly turns on the radio, which enrages the monster in the cage. Soon, the monster isn’t in the cage any more. He crawls out on the ledge and enters the room of some sleeping women. Curly has a moment when he thinks the werewolf is his reflection in a mirror.
Naturally, they all get stuck in the elevator together and shot out into space. Because that’s the sort of thing the Stooges do.
It’s an interesting looking, albeit ridiculous monster. Of course, to get to the monster scenes, you have to sit through Three Stooges-brand comedy. Fortunately, the werewolf does get a fair bit of screen time here; it’s not all the Stooges.
The werewolf here is more interested in skulking around and snooping on people than doing any kind of violence. Still, it was an appearance by an actual, non-mind-game werewolf, so at least there’s that.
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