Pros: a temptingly naked mermaid and a delicious monster
Cons: well, it's a monster flick
The Bottom Line: just a good old monster movie
When you can start out that way, what could be better? The ending of course a highly imaginative creature with wonderful scales, great claws, one morbid head piece and award winning dentures rounds out this surprisingly good monster flick.
The creature, known as Queen of the Lair, is a mermaid that is being held captive in an old mansion in 1900s England. She lives off flesh, to put if frankly, and has devoured the mansion owners lovely wife. Now she has her eyes on new meat, but it is their fault, they stole her damnit.
A group of carnies, run by Angus (Rufus Sewell) and Lillian (Carla Gugino), arent really trying to bilk anyone. I mean, after all, everyone knows there are no such things as zombies, mermaids, manbeasts, snake women, etc. They are just trying to earn a buck and get along in the world. As long as no one is hurt, whats the harm? Enter aging Capt. Woolrich (Aubrey Morris), who believes Lillian is a real mermaid.
Imagine his surprise when he sneaks back in later after the carny closed and finds her on her way out for a pint, smoking a cig. Hes a little ticked, but gets over it. In fact, so over it that he invites Lillian and Angus to his manse for a little drinky-poo. Of course, he really wants to show them his captive, but they arent aware of that.
Our first look at the mermaid is nice, really nice. Shes a beautiful creature floating in her tank with chains holding her in place. Chains? Why is that?
Cause she will eat you if she gets out, that is why.
You know where the story is going, Angus wants this babe for his travelling show, HAS to have her. So he steals her, sneaks her on board ship (really, I have NO IDEA how he did that), and sets sail for the Americas and Barnum & Bailey.
Meanwhile, the lovely Lillian and the mermaid (a very beautiful Rya Kihlstedt) have formed a mental, or psychic, connection. Lillian wants to set her free, for more reasons than one a little jealously perhaps.
My, my, Lillian, shouldnt have done that.
I would have to say this was one of the better movies of this type I have watched. Step back in amazement when I say there was actually acting in this movie. In fact, a real story and good acting pulled this thing all the way together. Plus, what a great creature evolved at the end of the movie. Sigh, makes a girl just quiver.
Written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez on a shoe string budget, you would never realize it. Even filming in the close quarters of a ship, with the darkened passage ways, there was great attention to detail. Filming it as a period piece, the early 1900s, makes the movie even more pleasant because you have the addition of the carny.
Sewell and Gugino gave wonderful performances. Gugino almost slips into a little madness, making her portrayal all that more poignant. Sewell reminds you of a staunt swashbuckler, defending his lady love. Throw in Rya Kihlstedt in all her nakedness and seductive beauty - my, my, my what a treat.
The creature is a delightful compilation that nods to the older genre of monster flicks. The difference of course is the ability to use new methods of creation.
I have no trouble recommending this movie but it does carry a heavy R rating for nudity, sexuality and violence.
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Angus (Rufus Sewell) and Lillie (Carla Gugino) run a travelling carnival. While travelling the Irish countryside, they give a ride to an old sailor who in turn invites them into his castle to see his most prized possession--a live mermaid kept in a tank (Rya Kihlstadt). Knowing they can make a fortune off of the fabled half-fish, half-woman creature, Angus steals her for his show and loads her on a boat to sail to America. Little does he know, the mermaid masks a horror that will not show its face until he and his crew are far from shore. SHE CREATURE first appeared on Cinemax as part of the CREATURE FEATURES series, which remakes several 1950s monster films from Samuel L. Arkoff's American International Pictures.