The Swamp of the Lost Monster
aka El Pantano de las ánimas aka Swamp of the Lost Souls
Directed by Rafael Baledón
Mexican Cowboys meet the Creature from the Black Lagoon! That’s essentially the plot, except there is a murder mystery thrown in and, of course, the Scooby-Doo ending. Hey, did I spoil things? Not really, but before I reveal who the villain is I will give some spoiler warnings, I guess, despite the fact it is really obvious to anyone who hasn’t replaced their brain with a moldy turnip in the past year. But the reason to watch this film isn’t the mystery, it is the crazy cowboy vs. monster action!
This imported schlock is brought to us by the king of importing trash from Mexico, K. Gordon Murray! (hereafter called KGM) We have previously encountered some of his imports with Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy and Night of 1000 Cats, and there are at least two more of his films in the pipeline. He is also responsible for the classic Mexi-trash Santa Claus getting distributed in the US.
TarsTarkas.NET strives to give a diverse range of the movies we cover, and up until now the only western film featured was the Marx Brothers epic Go West. Western Horror is a genre that hasn’t received much love, its few entries include Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (which usually played on a double bill, but I’ve only seen the former with Joe Bob Briggs commentary.) There are also a few dinosaurs and cowboys films such as Valley of Gwangi and The Beast of Hollow Mountain. Finally, one can’t talk about western cross-genres without mentioning the Gene Autry serial The Phantom Empire, where our favorite singing cowboy fights the evil people of Mu. There is also a companion movie to Swamp of the Lost Monster, filmed in 1958 entitled El Grito de la Muerte (literal translation – The Cry of Death) and imported by KGM as The Living Coffin. It is again a Western Horror, starring Gastón and Pedro D’Aguillón, with a copout ending. I have not seen it so I do not know if Moonlight the horse appears.
Obviously, due to the monster design, this is a quick attempt to ride the coattails of the 1954 movie Creature From the Black Lagoon. Just change the setting and people won’t know or care! Plus it is in color, even if it is washed out color, and that is one up on the original film. Thanks to redubbing, several of the characters have vastly different names than their Mexican counterparts. In addition, the print of the film looks like it was stored in the bottom of a porta-potty for a few weeks, with the grimy yellow tinge and the overall scratchiness. Some of the Turkish films have better prints, and they had the army trying to wipe them out. But for us, we only have each other to save us from the Gillman knockoffs that try to terrorize us. From a look at these monsters, a three year old could take them out, so we jump from frightened to laughing hysterically. That’s what I look for in a good film, so at times this is charming.