Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sting of Death - Beware the Were-Jellyfish!

 Sting of Death
Directed by William Grefe
Written by Al Dempsey, William Kerwin

Starring Joe Morrison, Valerie Hawkins & John Vella

Essen Productions Inc.
Thunderbird International Pictures
Unrated :  Runtime - Approx 80 min.

Special Singing Star Neil Sedaka!

Alternate Titles:

"Horrible....horrible things are running through my mind!"
                                                                                          -Karen Richardson

In my thirty plus years of watching horror flicks, I've seen all manner of Were-Cretures.  Werewolves running rampant through the foggy moors.....Were-Lizards, Were-Cicadas, Were-Birds & Were-Bears...the list goes on and on.  I have to say though that I never thought I'd see a Were-Jellyfish.  Well, I thought wrong because that is exactly what we're dealing with in Sting of Death!
This is Floridian regional horror at it's schlocky best.  Filmed (as mentioned several times on the packaging and in the credits) in the Everglades, I will say that the film benefits quite a bit from the beautiful marshy surroundings....but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The first casualty is actually kinda creepy!

What we've got here is your standard monster-on-the-rampage flick.  See we've got Dr. Richardson and his assistant Dr. Hoyt who are marine biologists.  Dr. Richardson's daughter, Karen comes to visit with some friends.  Dr. Hoyt has also invited over some grad students for a little shindig.  Also in the mix is the good doctors' man-servant, Egon.  Yep.  Egon.  I'm not going to lie...I thought that made that name up for Ghostbusters!  Guess not.  Egon's got some facial scarring....or a deformity...or....something.  It isn't very clear exactly what his deal is.  The make up kinda looks like putty smeared on his face and other than people gasping slightly when he sneaks up on them, no mention is made of it.  


It doesn't bode so well for Egon when the grad students arrive and run him off.  It's not much of a spoiler to tell you that Egon is the Were-Jellyfish.  He's got some kinda crazy underground/underwater lab get up where he's been doing some sort of experiments on Men of War.  By turning on some suspicious looking equipment, turning a few dials and sticking his hand in an aquarium with said poisonous beasties, he turns into the evil Jellyfish Monster. 

Doin' The Jellyfish!

The Monster goes on a "rampage" attacking a few party goers.  Dr. Richardson sends the partiers away on a boat to bring on of their friends to the hospital.  In one of the most hilarious animals on the rampage scenes ever committed to celluloid, the kids are all killed by a swarm of jellyfish when the boat sinks (thanks to Jellyfish Man giving it a good chop on the bottom with a hatchet!).  

That's a lot of dead kids in the water there....
Sting of Death is about as schlock as a low budget film can get.  The actors might as well be reading their lines off of cue cards and the special effects certainly are special!  The Jellyfish Monster is a dude in a wet suit wearing an inflated clear garbage bag over his head.  His little jellyfish minions and a couple of Portuguese Man-of-Wars are little more than inflated sandwich baggies with strings hanging down from them.  Please don't take any of that as a negative.  On the contrary, it's all part of the wonky charm of the film. 

Ever so quietly, the WereJellyfish stalks his prey.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  I kinda lost count on this one.  That whole gaggle of kids getting stung to death in the water really threw me off...but I'm going to place my guesstimate around ten.  The very first death is actually quite effective as the WereJellyfish drags the dead girls body through the surf.....he limp limbs and hair just fluttering in the water as she's pulled along.....kinda creepy!

Nude O Meter:  Nope.  Sorry kids, there's no skin here.  Don't worry though, there are bikini babes dancing and doing The Jellyfish!(?)

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  The fearsome Were-Jellyfish!  Glub glub glub.....

Miss Karen wakes up in Jellyfish Monster's cave.  

Final Thoughts 
If you are a fan of campy films, then there is a lot to love here.  The aforementioned acting and special effects.  The use of The Everglades to try and ramp up production value.  The lack on continuity from shot to shot (which is especially fun when the monster is supposedly chasing a girl and keeps vanishing from one camera angle to another!) all add up to a fun late night film to watch with beer, pizza and some like minded friends.

Final Rating
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls!

The final fight to the death!  


  1. This sounds like it would make a great double feature with Zaat (1971 aka The Blood Waters Of Dr. Z), which is about a Nazi mad scientist experimenting with a formula that turns him into a walking catfish. Also cheap, weird, and shot in Florida. Remember how we were talking about genre books going OOP and then getting expensive? I keep eyeballing a book called Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State By State Guide With Interviews by Brian Albright that I want to get from Amazon, but it's over forty bucks for a paperback. It seems to be about the only title I've been able to find that examines those weird old regional movies aside from Nightmare USA. If only I was independently wealthy so I could buy all the movies and books that I so desperately need.

  2. This would go PERFECTLY with Zaat! If I'm not mistaken, Zaat just got a DVD release not that long ago.

    If you've got the cash, buy the book! I'm about halfway through it right now and it's fantastic. The first half of the book is all interviews with some of the directors and then the second half is a full listing of films with a capsulized synopsis. I really cant' recommend it won't be disappointed, I promise!

    I hear ya. I feel like I'm always so far behind in buying films and books.....but then on the flip side just trying to find time to watch/read them is a battle unto itself! Independent wealth sounds pretty good!