Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: The Crater Lake Monster (1977)

Man, I keep getting sucked into the world of Crown International Pictures, don’t I? Well, that’s also Mill Creek’s fault, as so many of their box sets are filled with the output of this studio.

That brings us to Susanville, CA, known as Prison Town, USA and the home of Ken Shamrock, and also the Crater Lake, which is also where the Crater Lake Monster lives. If you’re thinking, “Will this be a Bigfoot film?” No, my friend. This one is all about a giant Plesiosaurus, just like Loch Ness.

Speaking of obsessions, director William R. Stromberg has one other credit to his name: he did the stop motion animation for Night Train to Terror. He’s working from a script by Richard Cardella, who also stars in this as Sheriff Steve Hanson, the man who has to protect his town from the sea monster.

The main issue with this film is the problem that many a giant monster movie faces. We don’t really care about the townspeople and the robberies that the sheriff is uncovering. Nor do we care about the forced humor from the stereotypical backwoods people of the small town.

No. Not at all.

We just want to see a dinosaur eat people.

According to  Cardella, Crown International took over production and did very little of it. He claims that’s why the day for night shots just are day and also why there are so many plot holes. I really don’t think anything would improve this script, because you can throw money at feces and it remains feces.

The poster for this movie promises a T. Rex and delivers a completely different dinosaur. Five-year-old me would be incensed.

But you know, once that rubbery stop motion monster — born when a meteor blasted into the lake and woke up a sleeping dinosaur egg — shows up, I forget all the padding, all the cornball humor, all the boredom and just enjoy that beast biting down on some humanity.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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