Creature From Black Lake (1976)
cast: Jack Elam, Dub Taylor, Dennis Fimple, John David Carson, Bill Thurman, Jim McCullough, Jr. and Roy Tatum
‘Creature From Black Lake’ (1976) follows two yankee students, Rives (John David Carson) and Pahoo (Dennis Fimple), who go to the deep south to investigate sightings of a Big Foot and get more than they bargained for. More so, when Sheriff Carter (actor Bill Thurman) keeps trying to put them off and those that do don’t want their discussion taped. Finally they bump into Joe Canton (actor Jack Elam) who is happy to relate what he saw. Going to the area where he points out leads to intense danger an that’s spoiler.
The film is regarded as the last of the seriously horrific Big Foot films of the period. The colour is washed out when its under lights but still effective in the dark. It’s effectiveness is down to not showing very much. The odd limb and the frequent roar and a face in the shadows. Saying that, you have to wonder why Big Foot is nocturnal. Only some of the lesser early primates have big eyes and I doubt if Big Foot will sleep during the day and risk being caught.
Looking at this film, it’s a shame that no one thought to do a version where the townsfolk are actually in league with the Big Foot or at least as far as sending people into find it and disappear. It would have its own logic as the swamp always claims its victims.
Although the plot is very simple, I can see why it got played at the drive-in cinemas in America, giving enough jumps to have you paying attention to what is going on.
Queen Of Blood (1966)
cast: John Saxon, Basil Rahtbone, Judi Meredith, Dennis Hopper, Don Eitner, Florence Marly and Robert Boon
‘Queen Of Blood’ (1966) is set in 1990 and is about an expedition to Venus and Mars. However, while still on Earth, one of the reception stations has picked up an extra-solar source message. In this reality, they first landed on the Moon in 1970. The message is translated and announces that an alien ambassador is due to arrive according to Doctor Farraday (actor Basil Rathbone) and the staff relocate to the Moon and the rocket Oceano is sent to Mars to collect them containing Commander Anders Brockman (actor Robert Boon), Paul Grant (actor Dennis Hopper) and Laura James (actress Judi Meredith). When it has problems with a starburst (today, we might call it a solar flare), Allan Brennor (actor John Saxon) and Tony Barrata (Don Eitner) is sent to help in the back-up rocket Meteor. Laura James on the Oceano has some sort of relationship with Brennor although they don’t actually kiss.
Brennor and Barrata discover the crashed alien spaceship first and its one unconscious survivor which they take to with arrives in the follow-up spaceship. As their rescue ship can’t carry more passengers (makes you wonder how they can rescue anyone), Brennor takes the alien to the Oceano and a different puzzle. The green female mute alien vampire (actress Florence Marly) isn’t keen on their food and refuses to have a blood sample taken. That night, she kills Paul Grant (actor Dennis Hopper) by quietly draining his blood. They are ordered by Farraday to bring her back to Earth whatever the cost so, figuring out she needs blood as food, feed her plasma until it runs out and then she gets hungry again and kills Brockman when she breaks free of her bonds. It seems that other than airlocks, doors on-board don’t exist and tying her up doesn’t help. None of this is helped by Farraday ordering that they keep her alive and well, the rest is spoiler.
The dialogue is said in deadly earnest all the time but lacks emotion. They all obey orders to religiously that its darn right scary in its own right. Would you want to travel with some a creature on-board? In some respects, you can see the plot of ‘Alien’ in the story except the alien here is known and kept alive.
The special effects are rather more than top notch for a cheap budget film, however this was what producer Roger Corman utilised from some Russian films he acquired. The red star on the tail fin of the rocket being the biggest giveaway. The rockets, like the American ones of the period, are based off the V2 rockets. In fact, the special effects are the best part of this film and worth a look considering the date they were produced.
As a combination of films, ‘Creature From Black Lake’ is the better film but at the price bought, who can complain. I suspect if you buy them, its best to watch in a crowd and cat-calling warnings to them.
(region 1 DVD: pub: Boulevard Entertainment Ltd, 2004. 1 double-sided DVD 2 films 91minute and 77minute. Price: about £ 2.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ASIN: B0031GNUP2)