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Death Curse of Tartu
Curse of Death / Tartu: Curse of the Evil Dead

USA 1966
produced by
Joseph Fink, Juan Hidalgo-Gato for Falcon Internatiuonal Productions, Thunderbird International Pictures
directed by William Grefé
starring Fred Pinero, Babette Sherrill, Bill Marcus, Mayra Gómez Kemp, Sherman Hayes, Gary Holtz, Maurice Stewart, Doug Hobart, Frank Weed, Brad F. Grinter
written by William Grefé, songs by Al Green, Al Jacobs, special makeup effects by Doug Hobart

review by
Mike Haberfelner


Archeologist Gunter (Frank Weed) is hell-bent to do some digging in a certain part of the Everglades even his guide Billy (Bill Marcus) warns him of and refuses to accompany him to. And while Gunter dig up indeed find some remarkable findings, he doesn't even survive his first night, being attacked and killed by a big snake - which is somehow exactly in line with what Billy has told him, that a Native American witchdoctor, Tartu (Doug Hobart) was killed here 4 centuries ago, and since his ghost is roaming the area, turning into different animals to kill all the intruders. The next day, the rest of Gunter's team, professors Ed (Fred Pinero) and Julie Tison (Babette Sherrill) and their students Cindy (Mayra Gómez Kemp), Johnny (Sherman Hayes), Tommy (Gary Holtz) and Joann (Maurice Stewart) arrive on the site and are surprised to find no sign of Gunter, just his findings. And while Ed goes about translating the inscriptions on an ornamental stone that Gunter has dug up (and finds it to tell above legend), the students all go to the lake to make out, and when Tommy and Joanne go for a swim, they're both attacked and killed by a shark, despite the fact that sharks are not freshwater fish. Now Ed and company come to the realisation that Tartu's curse must be real and they want to make a quick getaway to find their boat trashed. So they send off Johnny to get help on foot, but he's killed by snakes. So Ed, Julie and Cindy come up with the idea to find Tartu's grave, destroy his actual remains and this way get rid of the curse, but Ed and Julie end up captured in Tartu's burial chamber while Cindy's brutally killed by an alligator. And as if that wasn't bad enough, then Tartu in the flesh rises from his sarcophagus ...

 

Now Death Curse of Tartu is certainly no cinematic masterpiece in anyone's book, and frankly, anyone reading the very speculative title and expecting the contrary is a bit of a fool. And Death Curse of Tartu was also obviously made on a very moderate budget that wouldn't allow for much above the very basics to tell its story, and the result is thus a very small, almost intimate film, with at best so-so special effects, a rather mediocre cast, and the best thing to mention about it is probably its pretty impressive Everglades-backdrops. And all that said, Death Curse of Tartu actually manages to be quite a bit more entertaining (at least to trash movie connaiseurs) than it ought to be, as it tells its very simplistic and a bit ludicrous story with the necessary verve, moves along at a brisk enough space, and just manages to utterly entertain - and thus turns out to be almost unexpected genre fun.

 

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD