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Sting of Death...also known as:
"The Killer Jellyfish Movie you really don't want to watch."
There's a sick pleasure in sitting down to review a movie that most people don't know about and probably don't even care exists. It gets me back to my roots...when I didn't really have to worry about the fact that people I don't know or who aren't related to me are reading the website. So what are we talking about today? Today we're talking about "Sting of Death," a horror flick filmed in the Florida Everglades, one of a few horror films capitalizing on the "hey, we have boats & scuba tanks, why don't we make a really terrible movie?" mentality that popped up a few too many times in the age of terrible horror movies. Not that that era ever ended, mind you, but the horror movies of yesteryear were...special. It was the age of rubber monster costumes that didn't even have to remotely look scary. Just to get you up to speed, let's look at an example that I've already mentioned on the site. I'm not allowed to spoil what the monster of Sting of Death is, but I need to prepare you for the grade of crap we're talking here:
You're looking at a colorized advertisement for the creature "Tabonga" from the flick, "From Hell it Came." It's a man dressed up as a rubber tree. With angry eyebrows carved into his face. Charming, right? The creature from Sting of Death is infinitely more amazing. And by amazing, I mean that soon we'll be listening to the sound of our head caving in as our brain runs away screaming from the stupidity. It's that good. And by good, I mean...well, you know what I mean.
So what is it about?
In the swamp that is almost all of South Florida, THIS is happening. No, people aren't falling asleep in the sun with novelty teeth in their mouth. People are being stung to death by a mysterious form of jellyfish (or something) and no one knows what's going on. The characters are all scientists/college students vacationing/studying in the swamp, and really that's all you need to know about them. There's a monster running around...and you know it's a monster because the first shot of the film is a monstrous hand using a screwdriver to sabotage a radio...cutting off the group's means of communication with the outside world. Thank lord for cell phones, right? Anyway, it's important for me to point out what will be killing the characters for most of the film: A scuba diver, wearing flippers.
This is literally what you'll be seeing of the monster up until the last five minutes of the movie. The monster's costume is so bad that they mostly only show you a scuba diver in a wetsuit, black socks, and flippers. Those are his toes apparently...only they're obviously flippers. With socks tucked into pants. And you know what? Once you see the monster, all will become crystal clear. In the meantime, let me introduce you to the only character really worth mentioning.
The handsome chap on the left is Egon, a lab assistant/scientist/freak who works in the swamp with all the other characters and isn't related to that guy in the Ghostbusters. Next to our sexy man-beast is "generic girl who he's after, but who he will inevitably be drawn to kidnap by the end of the film." I'm not saying that you can look at a disfigured person and know they're evil/insane/breeding a race of super-jellyfish, but in a movie like this, ugly = evil. Weirdly enough, I've found the opposite to be true in reality. Screw you attractive people, you can all go to pretty hell! (As opposed to Ugly Heaven.)
There's a lot of random crap in this film, so for a change, let's see if you can spot it yourself....
What's wrong with that picture?
No, the answer is NOT that dude on the left forgot his dress and wig.
If you said "It's a kitchen built for giants," then you are most definitely correct. Apparently in the 1960's, building developers wanted to scale our housing to match our soon-to-come alien overlords and wanted to let people get used to having to use booster seats when having dinner. That didn't turn out so well, but it does make me wonder what the hell is up with this kitchen.
On to the shaking...
For what feels like an eternity, we're subjected to happy teenagers (who are in their 30's because old films had a weird union rule about not allowing actors to be the age of their character) dancing. Dancing and dancing and dancing. Because this is a film from the 60's, it means that there has to be a catchy musical number that lasts for something like twenty minutes. If it's any consolation, all these characters will be dead in another twenty, so it all works out, I guess. They're dancing to the song "Do the Jellyfish" by Neil Sedaka. If you're the kind of reader who voted for Jimmy Carter, then you know who that is; otherwise you don't give a crap. The lyrics are...mind blowing. "Don't be a donkey, it's nothing like the Monkey, It isn't funky or anything that's junky...It's something swella! The Jilly Jella Jellyfish!" So special. But don't take my word for it. The awesome people at The Monster Music Blog (check the link, they rock) are kind enough to share the actual song with people. Kind of makes me want to renounce technology, as some part of me really doesn't WANT to know I can just go and listen to "Do the Jellyfish" some forty years after it debuted and died in theatres. CLICK HERE to listen to the horror!
Ah, it hurts. So you're probably wondering what kind of visuals you get to look at during this most spectacular song. To be honest, THIS is pretty much the music video to the Jellyfish:
Please do not look directly into the 1960's era T&A. (Or A&A in this case.)
Yeah, me and Egon typically have the same expression whenever we go out to the clubs. Well, and look at constantly looping ass shaking. Oh, Sting of Death, why?
Things go poorly for Egon though, and the drunken teenagers/middle aged men in disturbingly short shorts decide to pretend he's an enemy pirate or some flight of fancy that pretty much means the mob circles him and pokes him with sticks. All in light-hearted fun, right?
Hmmm. I wonder if Egon is going to have some sort of revenge for this humiliation?
In unrelated news, the monster sneaks into the partygoers' pool five minutes later. Unrelated.
...which is interesting because "Random Girl #5" decides to go for a swim...
...and doesn't see THIS swimming behind her. Still, maybe the pool is huge.
Oh, right. This movie is just retarded.
Long story short, the monster kills the girl and attacks a bunch of kids on its way back into the swamp. We still don't get to see it, but it seems to be a guy in a wet suit with electrical cable draped over him.
While the kids recover, we see the monster taking an ax to the bottom of their boat. So it uses tools? It's obviously a guy in wetsuit and flippers....is the movie really this cheap? Get ready for the red herring that almost convinces you this movie is cool.
A bad movie can salvage itself by accepting its limitations. When we see Egon wearing a wet suit and changing out of a monster costume, the movie seems to take on a Meta quality. So the stupid costume, it was MEANT to be a stupid costume! The monster is just Egon pulling a bad guy from Scooby Doo routine where he harasses kids while wearing an animal/ghost/pirate themed uniform. Sadly, this isn't true. The movie is SO FREAKING retarded that its "mysterious transformation scene" that looks like an intentionally bad special effect....isn't intentional at all. Man, I don't usually get bothered by cheap effects because they're usually hilarious. In this case, though, I feel betrayed...up until the last ten minutes, I thought this film was more intelligent than I'd originally thought, having a meta-plot of some sort. Let's get this over with.
Just like those who watch that videotape from The Ring (Ringu, you American bastards), there's a price to pay for "Doing the Jellyfish," particularly when you do it for twenty minutes. Are you prepared to see what Egon unleashes to enact his revenge? Are you prepared for his jellyfish death fleet?
No, really. That's it. The jellyfish for the big teenager genocide scene are just baggies with paint on them. The kids' boat starts to sink and immediately mutant jellyfish (that KILL) descend upon them. By the way, that is the best picture I could get. Apparently the director couldn't (or didn't want to) get his monsters in focus. Jeez, this may be the most poorly made film I've ever reviewed. Even Ed Wood knew how to focus a camera. This? This is something else.
Anyway, the kids get owned. Or PWN3D or whatever you want to call it these days. Whatever it is, they get it. A Lot.
With all the teenagers dead (except for a couple of girls back at the house with the scientist + hunky man helper), Egon the monster starts after the few remaining characters. Here we get to see a slow 1960's strip scene where a girl gets into the shower, which pretty much means she takes off clothing but is somehow less nude by the end of it.
I was originally going to skip talking about this scene. While the fact that she's taking a shower without the water on is phenomenal, it just didn't seem funny enough. Poor sexy girl, she's going to die, right? Then I saw this screen shot I captured. The girl has just taken off all her clothes and is in the shower as the monster sneaks in after her. Then, we see this:
I know that's his arm at a terrible angle, but man is that phallic. I'm afraid to re-watch the film to tell you for certain that's not a jellyfish monster's willy sneaking towards a woman in the shower...because, well, if that is what it looks like...oh my. It's his arm. I swear.
The heroes eventually get their crap together and decide that maybe they should fix the radio so they can call for help. They don't want to leave Karen (girl who is going to be kidnapped, mentioned in paragraph four) alone, so they devise an ingenious method to keep track of her while they do repairs in the work shed....they leave the door open.
Of course Egon just shuts the door and kidnaps the girl, but the characters really had faith in this plan. Egon doesn't even lock the door. As he's speeding away in his...err....speedboat, our heroes look up and exclaim "DEAR GOD, the door, it's closed!" What? I've seen characters being dense so that girls can be endangered for the purposes of plot, but the "leave the door open so the killer monster doesn't murder my daughter" security method is....it's Sting of Death. If it's going to be done terribly, here's where you'll find it.
With Karen in his secret lair, Egon puts his face in filthy aquarium filled with dry ice and promptly a) destroys my theory that this movie had an dignity and b) breaks the world in two. Don't believe me? Take a deep breath.
Oh god. What kind of movie is this turning into? Even worse, how much was Egon paid for the director to splooge vaseline all over his face? (If you're in the industry, don't email me, the question was rhetorical, you perverts).
Somehow it's worse with the eye open, I don't know why.
Say hello to what's been killing the cast of Sting of Death. It's our Headliner: Egon, the Human Jellyfish.
What? No, really, am I watching the Tick? Is Doctor Horrible going to jump out and sing to me the benefits of Love and doing the Jellyfish? Are you freaking serious, Sting of Death? No, this won't stand. Movie, I demand to talk to your manager about this...He's got an inflatable bag over his face. According to the audio commentary (yes, you can listen to the director of Sting of Death on the DVD), the actor couldn't breathe in there so his monstrous staggering was...authentic. Jeez. Now you understand why they only showed his feet for the past hour and twenty minutes.
That is just....Wow. Human Jellyfish. Words fail. I can't even try to be funny. LOOK at it. Let's end this now. Please, for all our sakes.
In a last minute chance at redemption, we get to see Egon get his head popped like a zit. It's gruesome and a little gory for the time. Of course it's also natural selection because Jellyfish men aren't meant to live. Egon repents and his secret cave explodes...and the survivors none of which really had much personality beyond "old guy, young stud, and Princess Toadstool who keeps getting kidnapped" drive their boat off into the horizon.
I rented Sting of Death a while ago, without the intention of reviewing it. But....it's so very special. If you're up for watching a movie so bad it'll put hair on your chest, I can't recommend it enough. It just starts by hurting your brain and never lets up until the credit starts to roll. (That's right, there's only one credit but that's a mystery for another time.) Sting of Death comes on a DVD with a similarly terrible film "Death Curse of Tartu" which, while from the same director and just as bad, is more boring than bad. Still, if you're a cheesy movie fan who wants to see how far we've come, give it a shot.
In related news, I totally know what I'll be wearing this Halloween.
Until next time, play safe. Oh and remember to filter your pool for man-sized jellyfish-themed scuba divers. You'll be glad you did.
Copyright 2007 Jared von Hindman or maybe just Jared Hindman. It depends. Any images used that are not Jared's are used via Fair Use review purposes and belong to their respective owners....who are nice people that don't want to sue me.
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