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July 26, 2011

Movie Review: El Monstro Del Mar! (2010)

Directed by Stuart Simpson
Starring Nelli Scarlet, Kyrie Capri and Karli Madden

Loosely based on Roger Corman's 1961 schlock-fest, Creature from the Haunted Sea, you can easily spot some of director Stuart Simpson's influences as a director. Along with its “Corman-esque” qualities (cheesy sea monsters and buckets of blood & guts) there is a heaping helping of Russ Meyer influence as well (murderous and violent knife-wielding babes with nice jugs and a thirst for blood). Think “Faster Pussycat, Kill...Kill!” meets “Hunanoids from the Deep”, so if the sound of this is appealing to you, then you should certainly enjoy this little Australian gem of a movie.

Buy El Monstro Del Mar! on DVD

The story starts in black and white, with an introduction to our three murderous vixens, Beretta (Nelli Scarlet), Blondie (Karli Madden) and Snowball (Kate Watts), as they trick a couple of hapless motorists into pulling over and helping them fix their car along a deserted road. The movie cuts from black and white to color the moment Snowball slashed one of the men's throats and the red blood starts to fly, (very clever idea and well done).

They then steal the guys car and end up at a run-down seaside shack, looking to lay low and drink a few beers. Its there that they meet Hannah (Kyrie Capri) and her wheelchair-bound grandfather who cryptically warns them to stay out of the water, no matter what. (Which of coarse they ignore, frolicking in their bikini's, snorting piles of cocaine and getting drunk as a skunk.)

And it's not long before they realize there is something seriously wrong at this little stretch of beach. A group of unfortunate fisherman are slaughtered by a giant octopus-like sea creature in the night that has toothy jaws on the ends of its tentacles. Baretta and Blondie wake up the next morning hung-over and realize that Snowball has disappeared and begin a search for her. They soon begin to find the dismembered remains of the fishermen littering the beach and eventually find their friend chewed to pieces in a cave. After burying her in the sand they return to the shack to face off against the beast with the help of the mousy but ultra-hot Hannah.

People who appreciate the work of directors like Roger Corman and Russ Meyer are going to have a fun time with Stuart Simpson's movie. Its a retro/rockabilly bloodbath with a banging soundtrack, babes covered in tattoo's and a perfect balance of effective gore & cheesy hand-puppet monsters. Those who do not are going to want to point out its flaws, which are admittedly obvious, a lack of back-story, under-developed characters and the complete absence of a plot. So, with that being said, if you're looking for high-brow cinema, you've come to the wrong play. This movie resides in the part of cinema-town where Cheese is King and where a good time trumps substance (every time). Mindless fun is the name of the game for El Monstro Del Mar! It is a complete and total win as far as low-budget indie horror films go, and definitely worth a rental.

7 out of 10 

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