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‘Terror strikes… from beneath the sea!’
Monster from the Ocean Floor is a 1954 science fiction horror film about a sea monster that terrorises people at a cove in Mexico.
The film was directed by Wyott Ordung (screenwriter on Target Earth; First Man into Space and director of Walk the Dark Street).
The movie stars Anne Kimbell and Stuart Wade. The latter also starred in other low-budget films during the decade including Tarantula (1955), and Teenage Monster (1958). Producer Roger Corman also appeared in a cameo in the film; it was the first film that he solo-produced.
“The monster was actually a puppet shot behind a cloudy fish tank. I certainly had no money for process shots, where the action is rear-projected onto a screen and the actors play to it onstage.” Roger Corman, How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime
Julie Blair (Kimbell) is an American vacationing at a sea-side village in Mexico. She hears stories about a man-eating creature dwelling in the cove. She meets Doctor Baldwin (Dick Pinner), a marine biologist, and they fall for one another.
The mysterious death of a diver interests Julie in investigating, but Baldwin is very dubious. She sees a giant amoeba rising from the ocean…
Monster from the Ocean Floor wasn’t just low budget, it had a minuscule budget, yet the use of so much location footage adds genuine verisimilitude that’s missing from many studio-bound ’50s movies. At just over an hour it’s watchable and generally entertaining, despite its regrettable depiction of all the Mexican characters as hysterical drunkards.
The monster is a particularly cheap yet oddly amusing creation and its demise – stabbed in the eye with a mini-sub – is in keeping with the trashy proceedings. Pseudo-scientific babble also adds an air of authenticity that is missing from some of the bigger budgeted 1950s monster movies. Certainly, this is a decidedly low rent endeavour yet it offers a portend of Corman’s many enjoyable aquatic horrors to come…
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
” …Jonathan Haze and Wyott Ordung make Speedy Gonzalez look like a paragon of ethnic sensitivity with their impersonations of Mexican watermen, and that it is impossible to square the appearance of the utterly adorable monster puppet…” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
” …a nice lead performance; good use of its locations, and attractively moody photography (so it ought to be: this film was shot by Floyd Crosby – only two years after High Noon!); some interesting character touches; the first appearance of a future Corman stock player, Jonathan Haze (who hides behind an aggressively “Mexican” moustache)….” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!
“The production has been mounted with the characteristic penny-pinching economy that Roger Corman became famous for. To this extent, we only ever see a single shot of the monster – a glowing, single-eyed octopus emerging out of the ocean (and even then only ever in long distance).” Moria
“For a picture that’s barely more an hour long, that’s a pretty neat trick of narrative layering: to present a nascent romantic relationship in terms of an essential conflict of world views and beliefs, and having the hero rather than the heroine be the one to capitulate to the other’s stronger self and will…” Video Watchdog
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