Friday, April 18, 2014

The Death Curse of Tartu, Babs vs. The Witch Doctor

Thanks to our friends at Something Weird Video, our entry for today is 1966's "The Death Curse of Tartu."  This flick, released on DVD as a companion to "Sting of Death" (reviewed here on February 27th), features bikini clad babes dancing to Neil Sedaka music (as does "Sting"), swamp horror (as does "Sting"), damsels in danger (as does "Sting") and is set in the Everglades.  Babette Sherrill (Babs) stars as Julie  She's beautiful, and looks more like she is in a Pantene commercial than a horror movie.  Even though she trudges through jungle, swamps, caves, and tombs, she is clad in a slightly tight white skirt, leather boots, leather belt, and a nice blouse, her performance works so well in this B Movie venue.  After all, you ladies, when facing shocking horror in a swamp, we cannot overstate the importance of proper accessorizing.
   The plot:  200 years ago the evil witch doctor Tartu swore something on his death bed we all have sworn when realizing our own mortality.  Anyone who disturbs his grave (tomb) would be horribly killed.  Though we can all empathize with his sentiments, this magic man also vowed that he would return as a wild animal in order to exact his vengeance.  When an archaeological team decides to search for his tomb, the carnage starts as he becomes either a shark, crocodile, snake, tiger, or himself.  Ed is the head archaeologist and his main squeeze Julie is joining him for the ride....I guess her Elle magazine gig never materialized.  Also joining the expedition are four of his students which include two bikini clad gals and their amorous classmates.  Soon after entering the swamp, each couple takes the opportunity to make-out for an extended period of time, giving Tartu enough opportunity to change into one of those aforementioned creatures and pick them off one by one.
  The deaths are slow and horrible, and the coeds scream a lot as they are chased through the Everglades.  The first two to be killed by Tartu are Tommy and Joann. After their make-out session they decide to play "I'm Tarzan, You Jane" (really!) and dive into the river.  Tartu, now a shark then feasts on them.   Ed and the Breck girl, and a surviving coed then plot to take the fight to Tartu.  They conspire to find the tomb and destroy Tartu's corpse.  Babs, smarter than she looks (...or perhaps Ed is stupider than he looks) finds the tomb and the game is on.
Director William Grefe prioritizes scenes in which our female stars are being chased through the Everglades, either in bikini or other attractive get-ups.  Of course, this all culminates in a final confrontation between Tartu and the Breck girl which includes ax, spear, crocodile, and quicksand.  Will Ed, our annoying and stupid leading man be able to rescue Julie before Tartu turns her into bait for swamp creatures?  As was "Sting of Death," this is a fun movie which un-apologetically exploits the allure of it's female leads.  If you can't go to Florida for vacation this year, see these two movies (included on the same DVD) instead.        

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