Modern day science is such a bore. Securing funding and grants has replaced discovery and cures in government funded laboratories. There is always the mad scientist, however. He has already been eschewed by the establishment scientific community and has no hopes for grants or taxpayer funds. With no regulatory concerns or EEO or OSHA nonsense, the fiendish genius is free to create a master race of monsters to supplant humans at the top of the food chain. Hence, 1971's "Zaat."
Catfish-man kills scientist
As the scientific establishment shuts down Dr. Leopold (Marshall Grauer) and refuses to provide him with human test subjects, he goes rogue. Opening a lab in the Florida swamps, Leopold transforms himself into a creature, sort of a cross between Creature From the Black Lagoon and Syngenor . In actuality, he is Catfish-man. His goal? Same as all of ours, he desires to conquer the world by transforming all sea life into mutant monsters that will rule the Earth. As Catfish-man, the creature (Wade Popwell) leaves the lab and tracks down all the scientists that denied him funding and human test subjects. After he claws them to death, he spots a nubile, blonde bikini-babe (Nancy Lien). Like all gill-men, he wants her for sex and procreation. He grabs her and hauls her back to his lab but she dies shortly after he injects his serum into her. Arriving are INPIT (don't ask) agents Walker Stevens (Dave Dickerson) and the nubile blonde beauty Martha Walsh (Sanna Ringhaver).
Zaat tries to make a bride
These two agents are a great pair. Walker wastes a lot of time and goes down lots of rabbit trails. Martha undresses a lot, wears elegant gowns, showers, has pre-marital sex, and kisses. As the agents try to track down Catfish-man, the creature decides to make Martha its bride. Good choice. While Martha types, just after a shower, and slipping out of her INPIT jumpsuit into an alluring gown, Catfish-man grabs her. Now Walker must pursue the genius/creature in order to save the damsel Martha before she is turned into gill-woman...or Catfish-babe.
The nubile Agent Martha meets Catfish-man
Will Walker grow a brain and be able to save Martha? Will Catfish-man find happiness and love in his pursuit of world domination? Will Martha actually fall in love with the gilled genius making this film a modern day re-imagining of "Beauty and the Beast"? "Zaat," directed by Don Barton and filmed in Jacksonville, Florida, is a hokey, but fun, mad-scientist epic. Not as artistic and symbolic as "Creature From the Black Lagoon," but still very worthwhile to B movie fans.