In 1971 I had a small black and white Sony TV and that is where I saw for the first time this Universal released adventure/horror film. It was on KHQ TV 6 from Spokane, Washington.
I have never forgotten this little gem for one large reason...it was, at that time the biggest disappointment in my monster kid life. More on this later.
Vinegar Syndrome picked this up and released a beautiful print and remastered it in 2k. I have to admit, the color is very vibrant. The story surrounds a tribe in Brazil (Where this was actually filmed) whose people are being killed by a bird-like creature called Curucu (pronounced kurusu).
An adventurer named Rock Dean (John Bromfield) and a woman doctor, Andrea Roman (Beverly Garland) travel to Brazil to try and discover why all of the plantation workers there are leaving.
They discover that some have been killed by a legendary monster and Dean wants to hunt it down, if it is real. The two have many adventures and fight the usual jungle perils including snakes, spiders and deadly wildlife.
Dean finally confront the monster and bashes it over the head with his gun butt. This is where this hge disappointment as a child took place. We see that the monster is nothing more than a man named Tupanico (Tom Payne) dressed in a castume to scare the natives off.
Now, seeing this five plus decades later I can respect it more as a straight adventure film, but damn, all of the hype was on the monster!! The costume is surely one of the most outlandish of the entire 50's monster boom, and I think it looks very good.
With all this being said, I cannot thank VS enough for putting out this lost little gem made by independent filmmakers and distributed by Universal. It was super nice to finally see it again, and I actually liked it better this time around. It's a beautiful Blu-ray presentation, and yes, I will recommend it to everyone.
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