Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zaat (1975)

Several years in the making this film should have stayed on the shelf and unfinished. This is a legendary awful horror film that rightly is near the bottom of the IMDB worst of all time list (lower than even Troll 2). Its a tough haul even for me, a bad movie veteran.

Trust me boys and girls it's the sort of thing that makes you want to put something into your mouth so you don't swallow your tongue.

The film has a mad scientist turning himself into a part man part catfish hybrid and then running amok.

Zaat is one of those ugly nasty movies that has played under any number of titles in order to nail suckers repeatedly. Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran film in their final season using a print titled Blood Waters of Dr Z. It’s a film that I had never seen until May of this year when Turner Classic Movies ran it as part of their late Friday night Underground series. My attention was drawn to it by the long article that they posted on their website which talked about the film and its production

Even though it talked about the film in less than rave terms it over sold the film.

This film is a turkey, or at the very least a mutated catfish (though that’s probably an insult to mutated catfish, and turkeys and any thing that you might you to describe the film other than garbage)

The film begins with a low key narration talking about Sargasso the weed of the sea or something and then goes from there. In the films defense the opening narration is odd enough that it engenders a genuine frisson. The trouble is that after the opening titles we’re left the actual plot of the film and all bets are off.

The plot of the film has a mad scientist turning himself into a weird cross between man and catfish. He then wanders about getting revenge on the people who wronged him. During the scenes with our “hero” we get more of the narration which is a weird internal monologue. During the other scenes we just have poor acting and static camera angles as people discuss what is happening and why.

The piece on Turner Classic talks about scientific accuracy, but I really doubt that that if we could mutate ourselves we’d come up with a look that included zippers and ill fitting stockings. Its an embarrassment and one of the all time worst man in suit costumes. Its ridiculous and you’ll want to laugh; and I‘m sure you’ll laugh but then it kind of becomes sadly pathetic and the disbelief may actually bring a tear to your eye. (If nothing else you’ll wonder how come the work of these inept knuckleheads gets released and your home movies are still sitting on the shelf?)

This film is awful. Its dull and boring and the wrong sort of stupid. It’s a trial to get through. Consider that even allowing for the fact that Mystery Science Theater 3000 is 2 hours with commercial, the episodes run around 95 minutes, which means the show with host segments, commercial bumpers and titles runs the show less time than the uncut film. They must have cut almost half the film out and having looked at the show briefly and while the movie plays better with the riffing its still its a mess

Trust me on this no matter what you think this is a movie to avoid.

Turner has it in rotation and the MST3K version is in one of the box sets. I'd say more but if you're that determined to see the film you can find it yourself.

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