Film Review - Death Curse of Tartu

Starring - Fred Pinero, Doug Hobart, Babette Sherrill, Bill Marcus, Mayra Gomez / Directed by William Grefe / Something Weird Video DVD FF Not Rated 87min 1966

Review By Xmortis

A hunter is stuck in a cave and is killed by some kind of hulking monster as we hit the credits. A professor travels to the Everglades in hope of finding artifacts, and like so many before him he pays no attention to the natives who warn him of evil sprits and curses. The evil Tartu is a mummy who's pissed about the professor snooping around and taking things from the land rises from his tomb. The professor wanders the woods with a shotgun in hand stopping to move the earth and wrestle a giant snake that wins the fight and kills him. A group of hip teens enter the swamp forest also looking for artifacts and spend the time having fun. But soon their boat gets stuck, and they must travel by foot. The gang finds an odd old note, and Ed spends time trying to figure it out and making out with his gal Julie. As the rest of them roast marshmallows and go-go dance the day away, Tartu turns into a shark and attacks and kills two of the youths. Drums echo through the woods, and Ed and the rest try to leave only to find that the boats have been sunk. Johnny travels by foot to get back into town and send for help as Ed, Julie and Cindy stay behind and wait for help. Johnny is attacked on his way and killed by a snake like the professor before him. Ed and the ladies follow the drums and find the cave tomb of Tartu. Cindy escapes the cave as Ed and Julie are stuck inside. Finally they escape and try to save their terrified friend from a foul end, but they are too late and Cindy is killed by a hungry alligator. Ed and Julie head back to the cave and are attacked by the mummy of Tartu back in his human form which chases Julie all around the woods. Ed comes to his woman's aid and fights with Tartu as Julie sinks in quicksand. Tartu is knocked in and sinks as Julie is saved. Ed and Julie walk away to find help and a way out.

What a fun cheesy z-grade film shot in Florida in the 60's that rocks one cheap looking mummy. The plot is silly and follows some happy go lucky kids who are trapped in a wooded area and are hunted by an evil Indian witch doctor mummy, who can change into animals and hunt them down one by one. The acting is super cheesy and down right amateurish, and most of the actors seem like friends of the director. Tartu, while he looks like a guy in lame Halloween makeup, holds some charm under all the greasepaint and latex. While he has very little screen time, he is still the highlight of this goofy film. The sets are clearly just someone's open field backyard or a state park, and the cave set is super cheap looking and seems like a high school made it for a play. The ending of Tartu falling into the quicksand is laughable as it's clearly a pond he is sinking into. The girls of the film are semi-good looking and add some eye candy as they go-go dance. Doug Hobart who played the cursed Tartu is the uncle of famed Ohio horror host Dr. Creep of Shock Theatre fame, which makes this turkey a little more fun to watch. This film is by no means good, but it is a fun independent film filled with lots of bad things that add up to an entertaining watch.

The DVD is loaded with extras that include a second film called Sting of Death about a jellyfish man. Both films have commentary, trailers, press art, a sing along and so much more. All should be watched.

Both films are directed by William Grefe and star Doug Hobart as the villain. While I am not a fan of double features this one is worth picking up if you want to see what independent films looked like from Florida in the 60's. If you're a fan of Indian mummy witchdoctors, jellyfish men, bad acting and go-go dancers, then check out this double feature. You should also watch it if you're a fan of Shock Theatre starring Dr. Creep.