DEATH CURSE OF TARTU
(director/writer: William Grefe; cinematographer: Julio Chavez; editor: Julio Chavez/Oneida Rodriguez; cast: Fred Pinero (Ed Tison), Babette Sherrill (Julie Tison), Mayre Cristine (Cindy), Sherman Hayes (Johnny), Gary Holtz (Tommy), Maurice Stewart (Joann), Frank Weed (Sam Gunter), Bill Marcos (Billy), Doug Hobart(Tartu); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Joseph Fink/Juan Hidalgo-Gato;Thunderbird International; 1966)
“Some films are so bad they are almost good.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A Technicolor B-movie supernatural horror pic set in the Everglades in the Everglades by Florida-based writer-director William Grefe (“The Naked Zoo”/”Stanley”). If you are into swamps, cheap looking special effects, an absurd story and find bad acting amusing, this picturesque adventure story could be for you. It’s about a 100-year-old Seminole witch doctor named Tartu (Doug Hobart), who leaves behind a curse for those who enter his burial ground and desecrate it. Tartu has the ability to come to life in the form of an alligator, snake, shark, warrior or zombie, and kill.In his prophesy, he says he can only be killed by nature.
When the visiting four students (Maurice Stewart, Gary Holtz, Mayre Cristine, Sherman Hayes), on a school archaeological expedition to the Everglades, explore Tartu’s burial grounds by playing around in it, they are killed in various violent novel ways by Tartu transforming himself into one of his wild animals.
Tartu’s prophesy comes true, as he comes up against the expedition’s teacher chaperone (Fred Pinero) and gets tossed into the quicksand.
This nonsense flick at one time played frequently on late-night cable TV, but has in recent times (thankfully!) disappeared from the air (as if lost in quicksand). Some films are so bad they are almost good.
REVIEWED ON 6/17/2019 GRADE: C+