WILLIAM GREFE WEEK: Death Curse of Tartu (1966)

If you didn’t have enough of teenagers in the Everglades screwing with forces they didn’t quite comprehend in Grefe’s Sting of Death — which was the other part of a double bill with this film — then good news! Four students on an archaeology assignment decide that it would be a great idea to have a shindig on the grave of Tartu, an ancient Native American medicine man.

Frank Weed, who played Sam in this, owned all of the animals that Tartu comes back from beyond within. He did not own the stock footage that was also used for some of these animals, nor his own voice, as he was dubbed for this movie.

Somehow, Tartu has the power set of your average mummy villain, except you know, he turns into animals. One of those animals is a “lake shark,” which I had to look up, and learned that true freshwater sharks can be found in fresh water in Asia and Australia, as well as bull sharks, which can swim in both salt and fresh water and are mostly found in tropical rivers. Actually, bull sharks have been found as far north as Illinois. Yet another reason why the Everglades are totally terrifying.

Why Tartu’s weakness is mud — when he makes his home in the Florida swamps — is beyond me. Man, who knows? This is kind of a nature film, you know, except for all the killing of teens after they dance. It’s got a great name. an awesome poster and really, isn’t that all it needs?

If you want to see it for yourself, you can find this movie on the new Arrow Video He Came from the Swamp set that you can grab from Diabolik DVD.

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