Zaat (Dr. Z) (Attack of the Swamp Creatures) (Blood Waters of Dr. Z) (Legend of the Zaat Monster) (Hydra) Reviews
It starts off with this weird narration (the only dialogue for the first 20 minutes) while you watch scenes of various creepy underwater creatures. Turns out the narration is coming from some doctor who decides that the world needs to be taken over by sea creatures. So he turns himself into some Gill Man-like monster (only not nearly as scary or as cool) by dunking himself into a pool of water with some chemical abbreviated ZAAT. This stuff is pretty bad-ass in that it turned him from human to monster in like 5 minutes. Then he starts kidnapping women to turn them into similar creatures so he can breed with them and populate the earth. In the meantime, there's a sheriff and a some environmentalists or marine biologists (I'm not clear which) who are concerned about walking catfish in Florida. They all eventually meet grisly ends at the hands of the dr/sea monster...oops, sorry. Didn't mean to give anything away.
Best scene: The sheriff enters a house where a bunch of hippies are listening to some dork on a guitar sing godawful folk music with flute back-up (reminded me of Stephen Bishop in Animal House -- "I gave my love a chicken..."). The next scene shows the sheriff walking down the street with the hippies following him, still playing music and clapping (badly) along. He leads them to a jail cell, tells them they'll be safe there, and WE NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN! WTF are these people anyway?
I'm giving this trash 1.5 stars as not to mislead anyone that it's actually a good film. It's not. The special effects are terrible, and the actors are all stiff as boards. But in terms of entertainment value, I could easily give it a four. God bless the Barton Film Co. of Jacksonville, FL.
I'd pass on this normal version if I were you.
All it is, is just a guy wearing a suit which the overall film is like watching another one of Roger Cormon's movies. Cheaper and low budget variation of "the Creature From the Black Lagoon". One of the most stupidest movies I had ever saw which centers on yet about another crazed scientist wanting to create another being that able that person to also live underwater by combining some DNA collected from a catfish, and at the same time contaminates the lake by infecting it with radiation. As Hydra brazenly walks around the city, and not a single person spots him is probably the most silliest thing I had ever saw especially if the population is like nil, and not a single person can figure out anything either. Dumb cast, dumb movie.
-THE WALKING NAZI CATFISH MAN WHO CONQUERED A SLEEPY TOWN IN FLORIDA-
How's that for a slice of cherry pie? The first twelve minutes consist of a retarded marine biology lesson, stock full of aquatic stock footage. And then it gets real bad. Face clawing bad.
Final thoughts on ZAAT or DR.Z or THE BLOOD WATERS OF DR.Z (1975): A dull, stupid and just plain bad monster movie that's sillier than most bad monster films I've seen so far. Overall ZAAT is just another bad 70's monster film that rates right up there with OCTAMAN, THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN, BLOOD FREAK and TRACK OF THE MOON BEAST. 20%
The plot involves a bitter scientist who turns himself into a human catfish and releases chemicals into a small Florida town?s water supply as part of his plan to turn humanity into fish and conquer the world. He then proceeds to take revenge on the former colleagues he feels wronged him, and to kidnap first one, then another woman to serve as his fish bride, before the authorities catch on.
At this point, you?ve probably already spotted the clichés; the mad scientist bent on revenge and world domination, and the monster kidnapping a bride. There are also the expert scientists who come to investigate, and the obligatory incompetent hick sheriff. At least he doesn?t come off as crooked or racist.
And the plot problems don?t end with the clichés. If the townspeople knew that Doctor Leopold was a Nazi who had performed strange experiments, why hadn?t they already run him out of town or sent him to an asylum? How could the sheriff not immediately realize the doctor was linked to the monster? Even a total moron should have considered the man who?d put forth a thesis on turning men into fish as a person of interest. And what are the chances that the doctor?s colleagues from the university would all live in the same sleepy little town?
A far greater problem is that we never believe for a minute that his plan can succeed. The oversized, flesh eating catfish he releases are little more than a nuisance to the townspeople. His tampering with the water supply- which is supposed to transform the people into fish- only causes nausea, dizziness, and other minor health problems. This might be because he?s spreading the formula with a squirt bottle. Results improve when he goes on land and begins killing folks himself, but even then it only amounts to a handful of murders. This guy can?t even conquer Hicksville, much less the world!
I also have to wonder why, if this was shot in Florida, is the scenery so drab. Several springs are mentioned in the credits, but it mostly looks like swamps and murky ponds. Even the beach at the end is far from scenic. Maybe it?s just the poor quality of the photography, and these places are actually beautiful in real life. I don?t know.
What I do know is that the indoor sets are even worse. The professor?s lab is obviously someone?s basement. Inside are props such as a waist-high above ground pool, a jury-rigged apparatus for lowering victims into said pool, and various consoles with lots of knobs and flashing lights. One console looks suspiciously like a carnival fortune telling machine. There is also a drugstore, which is completely unlike any you would encounter in real life. For one thing, there are no counters, or registers. In fact, the entire room is one open space. The only shelves are built into the walls, and are lined with pill bottles, all of them out of their packaging, which I?m fairly sure is illegal.
As with any super low budget creature feature, there is a comparatively large amount of stock footage. But its use here is particularly inept and downright puzzling. For some reason, the director felt the need to cut to clips of marine life during underwater attack scenes. I personally would rather see the doctor struggling with his victims than footage of turtles and crawfish. Swamp creatures just don?t provide good reaction shots. There?s also the problem that much of the stock footage is of ocean life, while the scenes take place in freshwater. Did the filmmakers think audiences wouldn?t know that coral reefs aren?t usually found in lakes and bayous?
The use of flashbacks, although sparse, is still more perplexing. It?s not unusual for a killer to flash back to when his victim wronged him. But why on earth does he have to flash back to what they were doing the moment before he attacked them?
This movie can also be painful to listen to. The soundtrack consists mostly of over processed electronic ?music? in the style of Phillip Glass, and the opening credits are accompanied by ?Sashay through the Sargassum?, which would surely have won the award for worst original song if the Razzies had been invented yet. We the audience must also suffer through Doctor Leopold?s Mad ramblings, such as ?Sargassum, the weed of deceit?, and ?Nets are no longer for fish. We may use them on you humans if you survive.? These lines and many more are all delivered in the same tedious monotone.
I?ve put off describing the ?human-catfish? suit for as long as I can. Whoever designed this suit had absolutely no idea what a catfish looks like. The suit has no whiskers. It does have lots of bony scales, whereas real catfish are smooth skinned. There is also a coating of algae in certain places, which gives the impression of fur. As for the face, I?ll defer to Mike Nelson, who described it as an ?amphibious warthog.?
I should also add that the guy playing the monster clearly has no experience in suit acting. All his movements are slow and jerky, and several points, he stops and just stands there for a while before moving again. There?s also a part where the deputy gets bitten on the leg by a water moccasin and spends the rest of the film limping as a result. This is nothing like the symptoms of a real snakebite.
I could go on and on, but I?ll end by saying that the only things right with this movie is that it?s in color, it has continuity, and you can hear most of the dialogue clearly. That?s really not much. I would recommend seeing the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version. Under no circumstances save severe insomnia should you watch the original cut.