Wanting to rake in a tidy profit with the last journey his rundown steamer, the
Carita, is going to make, Captain Lansen (Eric Porter) has agreed to load 10
tons of Phosphat B - a substance that is highly explosive when it comes into
contact with water, & has taken on as passengers only persons who are
desperate to get out of Africa discretely, cost it what may - even double the
price of a passage on a luxury liner- refugees, cutthroats & deportees like
doctor Webster (Nigel Stock), a physician who has caused a few deaths because
of pure carelessness, & his bitchy daughter (Suzanna Leigh), Miss Peters
(Hildegard Knef), a woman who became to close & personal with some dictator
- before his demise -, Ricaldi (Benito Carruthers), who thinks she is in
possession of the dictator's missing fortune, & Tyler (Tony Beckley), a
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When his first officer Hemmings (Neil McCallum) finds out about the
explosives though, & that the captain deliberately ignored a hurricane
warning, he tries to go head-on with the captain ... & is flabbergasted
when the captain offers to put the decision wether to turn back or not into the
hands of the passengers - & they all want to go on in spite of everything
... but when the cargo bay containing the xplosives starts to leak severely,
hemmings & most of the crew revolt & - despite the captain's use of
firearms, abandon ship in a lifeboat ...
The Carita goes on with a skeleton crew 6 the passengers helping out - until
they do get into the hurricane & the ship is no longer any safe - even less
than before - so all of them abandon ship in a lifeboat too, where, once the
storm is over, tensions soon break out among the passengers & between
passengers & crew ... which eventually leads to Doc Webster being eaten by
a shark ... & that's only the beginning of the horrors.
Soon, the little lifeboat finds itself amidst a field of seaweed that seems
to have a free will of its own - & its free will seems to be to eat up all
those who come near enough. Amidst the seaweed though, our heroes find the
Carita once more, still in one piece, & still functional. But when they
turn on the engines, they soon realize there's a power stronger than the
horsepower of the negines ... the seaweed, that starts dragging them into a
completely different direction, into a virtual cemetery of shipwrecks, which
seems to be inhabited by 2 tribes - both left over from the time of the
Conquistadores, who seemes to have been washed upon here centureis ago -, a
benign tribe that is just searching for a way to leave, & a malevolent
inquisition-like tribe led by their child king El Supremo (Darryl Read).
& Tyler, having hooked up with Sara (Dana Gillespie) from the good tribe
to get some people to help them soon falls into the hands of El Supremo - but
are saved in due time by the captain & the rest of the bunch, who have
finally found use for the explosives, & while they are at it, they convince
El Supremo he is just a puppet of his chief Inquisitor (Eddie Powell), the
shadow ruler of the tribe who didn'T want to get his hands dirty, & even
offer El Supremo a lift to freedom. the Inquisitor however kills El Supremo in
desperation before everything goes up in flames, including the seaweed, finally
offering our heroes a sfe passage to wherever.
A superior monster movie that has a fine story, is very moodily directed,
offers beautifully etched out characters brought to life by uniformly good
performances, & even offers some creative set-ideas (especially the natives
walking over the wood with disk-shoes & ballons to lift them above
waterlevel are great). The only thing that's disappointing actually are the
monsters, which are cheaply & sloppily made, /& it's not made any
better by the fact that they are not vital by the plot, however, compared to
the film as a whole, that's just a minor complaint.