Wednesday, October 7, 2020

cat man do.

Day 7 of the whole 31 Days of Horror shtick and it seems like I may have set the bar a wee bit low this year....

Zaat (AKA Blood Waters of Dr. Z, Hydra, Attack of the Swamp Creatures. 1971).

Dir: Don Barton.

Cast: Marshall, Wade Popwell, Paul Galloway, Gerald Cruse, Sanna Ringhaver, Dave Dickerson, Archie Valliere, Nancy Lien, Jamie DeFrates, Edward Nick Wildrick and Jimmy Merrill.


I'll cause underwater life to triumph over all other living creatures. I will adapt myself to a permanent underwater environment. All other humans will be conquered. I can not - I WILL NOT BE STOPPED! I will select a mate with utmost care, and together we will create a whole new aquatic race. But there is no time left!



Welcome to the wacky water-based world of ex-Nazi scientist Dr. 'King' Kurt Leopold (Grauer in his only film role, this may happen a lot here) whose obsession with splicing humans and fish in order to create a master-race that - according to his monotonous voice-over will rule the universe - has caused him to become ostracized from his peers and left his hair a greasy uncombed mop.  

Anyway after 20 years of research (and almost 20 minutes of even more monotonous voice-over) he's finally perfected a formula - known as ZaAt - that can transform humans into sea-based hybrids.

Leopold excitedly strips to a pair of big blue adult diapers before strapping himself - uncomfortably it must be said - to a rickety gurney before quickly injecting himself with the serum and lowering himself into a child's swimming pool and finally emerging - in a display of flashing lights and bubbles - in his new terrifying form and played by a totally different person, local scuba instructor Wade Popwell, tho' I've no idea if he does actually pop well.

And what is his new form I hear you cry.

That of a giant wibbly wobbly, ball-headed catfish monster.

No doubt Nev Schulman will be shitting himself at the mere thought of this.

And with that he clumsily wanders off to the nearest lake in order to add even more ZaAt to the local water supply in order to raise a giant catfish army.

Oh and to look for an attractive lady to turn into a fish so he can reproduce obviously.

And get revenge on his ex-workmates.

So all in all he's got a pretty busy day ahead of him.

And it's only just gone 10 o'clock.


Sam Smith farted...and it was a - non-binary - eggy one.



Meanwhile local Sheriff and cake shop fan Lou Krantz (Galloway, best known for his top notch performance as 'the garage man' in J.D.'s Revenge) alongside the town's resident marine biologist 'Rawhead' Rex Baker (non-hit wonder Cruse) are busy investigating the outbreak of violent diarrhea amongst the townsfolk as well as the random acts of vandalism seemingly being committed by the local fish and all whilst staring longingly into each others eyes.

Seriously the sexual tension 'tween the pair is unbearable at times. 

Tho' not as unbearable as the film in general tho'.

Anyway, with the local law enforcement - and the local shop keepers who are busy restocking the toilet roll aisles - distracted, Leopold begins his plan of revenge against those who mocked his theories. 

First killing his former colleague Professor Max Maxson - and his family - whilst they're enjoying a fishing trip (oh the irony) and then his old bridge partner (or something) Dr. Bobby Ewing whilst he's polishing his fishing rod.

Which isn't half as rude as it sounds unfortunately. 

With his revenge taken and the waters poisoned, Leopold can now concentrate on finding himself a lady to kidnap, mutate and spend his evening making baby catfish with.

If only real life was this easy.


Tunnel or funnel?


Luckily he comes across (not in that way, well not yet) the perfect match whilst out for a walk/paddle that very night when he spies a young lady, Jenny Soontodie (Nancy Lien*) camping by the riverside.

Waiting in the bushes for a chance to strike Jenny soon decides to go for a dip and Leopold seizes the opportunity to knock her unconscious and drag her back to his lab where he repeats the transformation process on her.

Unfortunately Leopold has forgotten to top the electricity meter up, so the powers shorts halfway thru' leaving poor Jenny partially transformed but fully dead leaving him no choice but to dissolve her body in acid and stomp off in a sulk.

Laugh now.

Baffled by the number of deaths and disappearances in town, Rex decides to contact the world renowned, monster hunting investigation organization INPIT (which actually does stand for something but I honestly can't remember what....why not write in and tell me, you could win a prize) who quickly send the crimson jumpsuited serial shagging science duo Martha Walsh (Sanna Ringhaver) and Walker Stevens (Bargain hunt star Dave Dickerson) to help. 

After much - well a wee bit of - scientific musing the pair announce that yes, the town is under siege from a giant cat fish, albeit one with poisonous claws and a permanent erection. 

Well I say the pair but it's mostly Walker that does the talking, Martha has quickly changed out of her jumpsuit to tiny blue hotpants and mainly just sits around crossing and uncrossing her legs.

Setting up a series of nets and tripwires along the riverbank it's not long before our heroes come face to face with Leopold and as is the way where science is involved, him and Walker soon get involved in a scuffle where Walker gets a nasty lovebite and Leopold gets stabbed in retaliation causing him to go mad and start punching trees as he hobbles off home. 

Given the choice of following him or just standing around our merry band of science-types obviously just stand around looking smug/glum.

Insert amusing caption here....or your cock, to be honest either will suffice.

This arse-kicking has done nothing to help Leopold's temper tho' so as the murders and mayhem continue (OK Leopold has angrily kicked a pot plant over) Sheriff Krantz has no choice but to evacuate the town in order to let the INPIT team do their job uninterrupted.

Cue 15 (very) odd minutes of old folk riding bicycles, folk clutching puppies whilst climbing into trucks and in a scene as mind shatteringly banal as it is unnecessary an entire sequence where Krantz - after finding a group of Jesus loving hippies holding a singalong in the local community hall, sits and listens to their song before leading them to safety at the police station.

With all this love thy neighbour shite going down and with Walker laid up in bed recovering from his injuries, Leopold has no trouble sneaking back into town and along to the chemist where he gorges himself on all the drugs before murdering a young couple who've been left behind (in a case of 'vampire rape' as Krantz matter of factly puts it later) and finally deciding to finish the night by spying on Martha as she nurse Walker.
Feeling an odd stirring in his fishy loins Leopold realises that Martha would be the perfect mate and with that heads home for a tearful wank followed by a Prawn-flavored Pot Noodle.

What your mum really gets up to on bingo nights.



The next morning over breakfast, Sheriff Krantz announces that all these fish-based killings are reminding him of a mad doctor by the name of Leopold Walkerwho used to live in the local woods and was obsessed with genetically splicing humans and catfish.

Obviously the writer had forgotten up until now that it was only the viewer that knew this and felt like making amends for this and all the other crimes against cinema that had been committed in this films name by owning up to it and hoping it might make the movie finish that little bit faster.

We can but hope.

So with this - fairly important bit of - information, Walker, Rex and Sheriff Krantz decide that now might be a good time to go and investigate the lab, leaving Martha behind because she feels like taking a shower.

No, really.

And with that the trio drive off to look at stuff. 

Unbeknown to them tho', Leopold is watching from the shadows, preparing to pounce.

And pounce he does, tho' I'll give him his dues seeing as he waits till Martha is showered and dressed before kidnapping her.

Which is nice.

Doesn't matter how hard you scrub Sanna, the smell of this stinker will always be there.

Meanwhile our heroes have arrived at Leopold's lab only to find he's not in but having spent all that time getting there they decide to have a nosy around anyway, finding not only Leopold's notebooks but also a hastily scribbled drawing of Martha in a handmade loveheart.

Realising what he has in mind for poor Martha they quickly rush back to town only to find Martha missing and a massive pile of fish scales in the butter dish and, in a scene that would put the makers of the Bond films to shame Walker jumps into a mini, 6 wheeled amphibious car and heads into the local pond to look for her whilst Rex and Sheriff Krantz head back to the lab by car.


                                 "Spice Girls number one for Christmas....MONSTA!"


Will Walker be able to navigate the dangerous duck pond and rescue Martha before it's too late?

Will Rex and  Krantz finally admit their feelings for each other?

Will Walker get bitten by a rubber snake?

Will Leopold find true love or will he get into a big fight, killing Rex and Krantz before slowly walking out to sea to be followed by a brain-washed Martha as Walker looks on in despair?

Go on, guess.




From the mind of - the spookily well respected - Florida-based film fella Don Barton (he won the Freedom Foundation's Award for excellence in documentary for "Jacksonville Story", the only film of an American city to be shown at the American Exhibit in Moscow when the Iron Curtain was partially lifted fact fans) comes this brain damaged, backyard brother of the Creature from The Black Lagoon and obvious inspiration for Guillermo del Toro's fish fiddling The Shape of Water - ZAAT, a film that manages to not only be both over complicated and childishly simplistic as the same time but also be so arse numbingly slow and devoid of any merit as to be almost painful on the eyes yet scarily it's about as addictive and watchable as cinema gets, coming across like some meta-masterclass in bad film-making.

Seriously it's like sitting in a room watching lead based paint dry only to find that the doors locked and the fumes are addictive.

Tho' to be honest I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

I mean there's really not much you can say about ZAAT if I'm honest, the acting for what it is, is almost totally non-existent, the effects are - to put it politely - aren't even worthy of even being called threadbare and the monster suit is so bad that I even feel guilty mentioning it.
I can't even say that at least they tried because by the look of it they didn't.

                                          They're coming to get you Nicholas!


And why oh why did they feel the need to put a folk song about Jesus in it other than they had one to hand?

It's like that bit in The Alien Factor when Atlantis perform their hit single Maybe Someday  or when Stoneground turn up in Dracula AD 1972 for no other reason than to perform Alligator Man and You Better Come Through for Me.
Only shitter obviously.

What possessed 70s film types to randomly drop long-haired layabouts wielding mandolins into perfectly good horror films?

Answers to the usual e-mail address.
No budget, no plan and no mercy - ZAAT should be an abomination that can only be cleansed with fire but somehow it isn't.

Maybe Barton's enthusiasm shines thru' just enoughto make it somehow worth watching and strangely enjoyable.
Well it's either that or 2020 is finally getting to me.

*But not this one, I checked.

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