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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Friday, September 1, 2023

Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956)

We see a woman collecting water from a river, which we later find out is the Amazon. She hears a strange noise and is then attacked by a strange looking feathered creature with claws. Later we see a plane land and a man is taken to her body. He owns the plantation where the killing happened and is there to see why all his workers have left. Seems that the natives are scared and have returned to their villages upriver to avoid the monster. This is important later. His name is Rock Dean because I suppose it is a cool name.

Rock then goes to see his father at a club where we are treated to a dance number. Then we get back to the business at hand when Rock tells them he is going into the jungle farther than a white man has gone before to retrieve his workers. We also meet a lady doctor, Andrea Romar, who wants to go with him because the headhunters have a medicine that will cure cancer. Um… going looking for headhunters seems like a bad idea but okay. After some arguing she forces the issue by hiring his guide and making him take her along. The guide’s name is Tupanico, which is also important later.

There is then a lot of footage of animals as well as some stock footage because there is more than one that isn’t native to the Amazon Jungle. Oh yeah, I totally forgot to mention that this was shot on location in Brazil. That is surprising since this sort of movie was normally shot on studio backlots. But that also means they seemingly fall in love with the various shots of the characters walking thru the beautiful scenery. Because not much else happens. Eventually we find out that there is no monster but instead Tupanico was dressed in a costume to scare his people, he is a headhunter in disguise, back home and away from the plantations. See I told you that was important.

Most of the movie is walking and canoeing.
I’ve been “bait and switched” by a movie poster! I thought I was getting into a monster movie but instead I got something much different. Curucu is nothing more than a lame adventure travelogue that is mostly characters walking or canoeing along with some animal footage tossed in to show us the amazing sites they are seeing. Damn it movie you sold me on some monsters and I got nothing! If the movie had at least been a decent adventure flick I suppose it would have been fine, but nothing happens. There is little to no actual story here beyond them walking.

I could complain about the creature being a lame costume, but it is supposed to be a lame costume. It has a very Scooby Doo vibe to it except not as much fun. The cast is headlined by John Bromfield who looks to have been mostly a “B” Western actor. I’d never heard of him before and based on this movie I can sort of see why. What did catch my attention and made me want to watch this was our female lead. Dr. Romar is played by the lovely Beverly Garland who most fans will recognize from flicks like It Conquered the World, The Neanderthal Man, and The Alligator People. Trust me those are much better flicks than this one though that bar is very low. Here she is given nothing to do other than stare at things and scream when a native sticks their face out of the bushes.

This was such a disappointment. I hadn’t even mentioned yet that it was written and directed by Curt Siodmak who was responsible for flicks like Donovan’s Brain, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, as well as some of the classic Universal stuff like The Wolf Man and The Invisible Man Returns. Not sure what happened here but it wasn’t good. I can’t recommend spending your valuable time on this movie which is a bummer.

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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