Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956) Poster

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Up the River with a Paddle
dougdoepke24 May 2012
Good thing the producers went up the Amazon River for location shots, because headline monster Curucu amounts to a big lump of moldy cheese. Then too, for some unknown reason the screenplay tips its hand halfway through, killing what little suspense there is. But we do get a good look at comely Beverly Garland getting menaced by about everything that creeps, crawls, or oozes through the jungle. Plus, she confirms her title as the Queen of Scream with at least three ear blasters. Good thing hunky John Bromfield is on hand to handle the hero stuff. Still, the movie was something of a treat for 1956, that is, before color TV made such travelogues everyday fare. Now the movie is little more than a very obscure curiosity.

(In passing-- Catch the script's sneaky probing of modernity. Tupanico {Payne} wonders whether the Indians really are better off after entering the white man's money economy. Unless I missed something, the probing is surprisingly left unresolved. It's a provocative note in an otherwise sloppy script.)
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When will film makers ever learn?
youroldpaljim6 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Note: *SPOILER*

Back in the early seventies this film turned up on "The Late Late Show" and I set my alarm and got up to watch it. After this film was over I was almost sorry I did. The only reason I didn't totally regret getting up at 4 in the morning to watch this was that at least I could truthfully say to my fellow monster movie loving friends that I had seen it. Except for the attractive color photography and real Brazilian locations, this film is a dud in almost every way. The "monster" is silly looking, the acting never rises above adequate and most of the time its less than that, and the dialog is lame. But thats not what irked me when I was twelve, I had seen lots of cheap monster movies with silly looking monsters and I had come to expect that. What irked me was the films cheat ending. The monster is revealed to be at the end simply a man in a costume trying to scare people away. All the fantastic stuff turns out to be a hoax.

When will film makers ever learn? Every now and then somebody makes this kind film where the fantastic element turns out to be a trick. Although I can't recall any recent theatrical movies that employed this lately, it still turns in made for T.V./cable/video movies now and then. I can't think of a film, with the exception of MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935), with this "Ha! Ha! We fooled ya!" kind of story that was any good. I never liked this kind of film and most people I know don't either, although movie makers think we do. The only kind of people who like this kind of film other than some film makers, are the kind of ignorant self important high brow types who have contempt for all forms of science fiction and horror films. Their attitude is that "there are no monsters, ghosts, aliens etc in real life" so having the fantastic elements revealed to be a trick is supposed to make the film more believable. But it doesn't. In these kind of films it stretches the viewers credibility more to accept that someone could employ successfully the kinds of tricks needed to pull off a hoax of the type shown in these films, than to accept that something supernatural or fantastic is really going on. As in many of these films, the phony fantastic goings on are almost always employed to scare people from what ever it is the hoaxers are trying to keep hidden. Of course, in real life, reports of monsters, aliens, haunted houses, etc., almost always do the opposite. A report of "big foot" or a lake with a monster usually attracts hordes of reporters, investigators, and the just plain curious. So these kinds of films are not more believable. The only thing they do is make the viewer feel cheated.
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3/10
Cheater Chiller
twanurit6 May 2001
Having not seen this picture in almost twenty years, it's not on video, and rarely, if ever, re-shown on television, one can understand why. It's a wretched mess. Filmed in color on location in Brazil, Beverly Garland plays a doctor in the Amazon who learns that if the local headhunters can shrink heads that maybe the formula can be used to shrink cancer cells for the cure. Interrupting her potential medical breakthrough is a legendary monster that is killing the natives as she accompanies hunter John Bromfield in the search. Anyone expecting a real beast will be gravely disappointed. The insipid musical score detracts from the creepy goings-on; it's poorly directed with abysmal special effects. The jungle cliches are in abundance, with Bromfield making a play for the un-receptive (at first) Garland. Check out the tent scene wherein the beast creeps up on her - she screams before even getting a good look at her intruder. Some of the scenery is beautiful, but can not save this dreary disaster. Last scene is freaky.
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Fair
Michael_Elliott12 March 2008
Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956)

** (out of 4)

John Bromfield and Beverly Garland travel up the Amazon to kill the title character, a large parrot like creature. Many older horror fans call this one of the most disappointing monster films of the decade due to a couple twists in the plot. I picked up on those twists pretty early and they were stupid but the real interesting thing is that this really seemed like an early version of the infamous Cannibal Holocaust. The best thing about the film is that it was shot in the Amazon, which means we get all sorts of shots with various animals ranging from pythons to huge spiders. With this comes several animal death scenes that won't make PETA members too happy.
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2/10
Absolutely lousy - Be warned......
captainapache31 January 2005
I spend a lot of time trying to add lesser known 50's sci-fi titles to my ever growing collection. Unfortunately I came to this title. Cool title and stars Beverly Garland made by Universal - how could I miss? Although the poster looks great on this flick, find the strength to resist. The Brazilian locations are great and acting was acceptable but whoever wrote the script was a loser. This played out more like an episode of Scooby Doo(old man Smithers and all). The part that really killed me was that after they ruin the whole movie after 45 minutes, it goes on for another 35 minutes!! Seriously, for lesser known movies, check out Giant from the Unknown or Monster from Green Hell before you ever touch this garbage.
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2/10
Tagline says It All!
BaronBl00d18 February 2000
"Like nothing you have ever seen" states the tagline for this film, and it is accurate beyond belief. This film is beyond description in many ways. The story details how a plantation owner and a doctor go up the Amazon in search of a Head-shrinking tribe and a mythical beast. The beast looks incredibly inept and totally silly, as is the plot for this film. The leads are horrible, particularly Beverly Garland as the sassy doctor out to always prove herself. Her expressions, not to mention her screams, are enough reason to see the film. I cannot remember laughing so hard at a film. Although the settings are genuine, the folksy South American tune in the background throughout most of the film only serves to belittle any real tension the film might have provided. The direction is poor and the camerawork even poorer. One sequence in particular, when Garland and male lead "Rock" run up a tree to avoid being trampled by a herd of water buffaloes is a real hoot! The scenes were laid on top of each other and just look so idiotic. A great film to ridicule with friends or just for private laughs!
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50's JUNGLE/HORROR Flix
triassic41 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I have not seen this film for quite some years, but remember -- the 1940-50's HORROR/SCI-FI films were mostly targeted for the juvenile audience and were intended as FUN and "Saturday Matinee" ESCAPISM. I actually have quite a fond rememberance of this film and it was not really a bad film at all. Produced by UNIVERSAL [in my opinion, one of the studio "leaders" of classic "B-Films" from that period [Adventure, Horror, Westerns] and starring the wonderful "1950'S scream-queen" BEVERLY GARLAND and strong, veteran B-stock actor JOHN BROMFIELD [the workable squre-chinned, buff hero]. WARNING - SPOILER: This film's "Monster" was the typical "red-herring" [only ever seen briefly throughout] and was not revealed until the finale. The beast was actually quite intriguing - attacking through the foliage with a large visible slashing claw, and offering an occasional glimpse of it's savage partially seen face [with strange feather-like features protruding from its head]. It was an elaborate hoax staged by an Amazonian local as a territorial offensive maneuver. Lots of great CINE-COLOR with lush, jungle scenery, a piranah attack, and the film plays more like a "DIME-MYSTERY PULP" adventure than a true actual HORROR film. Overall, I enjoyed it - pure, clean, non-offensive FUN!
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2/10
Oh My !!!
ragosaal22 December 2006
I liked very much horror films as a kid in the 50's and I don't think I missed many. I also have to admit that many of them really scared me though my children can't believe that now (they find them sort of funny and I can understand that if you consider what computers have done for special effects nowadays).

But the reason why I never forgot "Curucu" is that it was probably the only "horror" film that didn't scare me at all whatsoever and I went back home with a smile om my face. In fact, the monster in this one is easily the most ridiculous and absurd thing ever put on screen (there's no way to describe it, you just have to see it). Besides, even as a little boy I noticed the plot was weak, the acting was poor, the direction was bad, all facts you don't usually notice or pay attention to when you are 8 or 9 years old.

Looking back now and watching Curt Siodmak's filmography you can understand: the man was probably the worst film director ever, perhaps in the same level as Ed Wood Jr.

You simply can't believe they went all the way to the Brazilian Amazon jungle to shoot this picture!
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1/10
An American woman and her male companion investigate rumors of a monster in the Amazon rain forest.
woods544210 January 2007
This film is so bad it is good. Beverly Garland is the only recognizable actor and she is good - but she should have asked the studio to burn all the prints. The script makes little sense, the special effects such as they are are hokey and what little action occurs is not even interesting. I did note, however, that John Bromfield spent a significant amount of time in the film swinging a machete, hacking his way into and then back out of the Amazon rain forest - if you watch closely you will see that when he is moving deeper into the rain forest he is hacking right to left with the machete and when he is retreating out of the forest he chops left to right - so the audience wouldn't be confused. I recommend the film for late night viewing when nothing else is on except infomercials - and then leave it to the viewer's discretion as to which could be more interesting.
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From the studios of E.T. and Jurassic Park!
chris_gaskin12325 January 2002
Universal, which brought us massive hits like E.T. and the Jurassic Park movies, were responsible for this.

It is the worst of the Universal monster movies of the 1950's, but I loved it. It is one of the better so-bad-it's-good movies and the thing that surprised me the most was that it was shot in colour, despite the low budget.

The 'monster' has to be seen to be believed. The main female lead in this, Beverly Garland, is used to fighting out of this world monsters as she fought the 'carrot' in It Conquered the World.

See this if you get the chance. It is worth watching just to see the 'monster'.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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3/10
"There are six women for every man." .. "Men seem to be a rare species. I'd say it was the other way around."
moonspinner5530 July 2017
Only suave ladies man and eternal B-movie actor John Bromfield could get away with this role, that of plantation owner Rock Dean, who is investigating a series of attacks on workers along the Amazon River. Rock Dean isn't one to believe in legends (and with that name, you wouldn't either!), but it is said that a strange bird-like creature named Curucu lives near the river where no white man has ever tread. Along for the journey is a shapely female doctor in search of a drug that might be effective in shrinking cancerous tissue (it is currently in use by the resident headhunters, who need it to shrink something else!). Low-budget co-feature has some jungle adventure and humor, though it was misleadingly advertised by Universal as a horror movie. The credit "filmed entirely in Brazil" is also misleading, as a good portion of the running time is padded with wildlife and travelogue footage from stock. Fans of Bromfield and scream queen Beverly Garland might give this a pass. *1/2 from ****
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4/10
Decent structure, infuriating ending.
NerdBat11 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILER ALERT***

So this is one of those old 1950's creature features that aren't very well heard of. I hadn't heard of it at all until recently. I decided that the creature on the movie poster looked wonderful! Something frightening and different. I liked how the creature resembled a large tropical bird, hence they are in the amazon. So finally, I decided let's give the movie a try. The film gives us beautiful scenery, and hilarious animal interactions that some more educated people could laugh at (e.g. when the "very poisonous snake" drops onto the boat, but upon inspection, it is a common South American boa constrictor). So let's talk about the main aspect of course, the monster itself. I was able to appreciate that this creature made sounds and calls like I had never heard in any other creature film before, it was completely unique. Here is the problem though... near the end of the film, you realize there was no monster at all, rather it was the son of a native chief dressing in a monster costume to scare his people into abandoning the white man's ways, and revert back to the jungle. So as another critic stated, this movie was a mix between a creature feature, scooby doo, and cannibal holocaust (though there was never any cannibalism seen in the film).

I got a bit irritated that the murders and tracks and actions of the monster technically never occurred, which leaves many questions unanswered about who was truly committing the murders. How did Tupanico (the antagonist) make the calls the creature made? How did he murder people without a weapon? It left me scratching my head.

Not a bad movie, but not what you'd really want from a true monster movie.
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3/10
There's more jungle silliness afoot.
mark.waltz21 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Can't get a man, so she gets a career." So says male chauvinist John Bromfield about the female doctor behind a screen, and flabbergasted when Beverly Garland opens it up, giving the death stare of all death stares. But she's a tough chick, able to withstand huge snakes, spiders and other jungle creatures as she heads into the Amazon with Bromfield to determine what kind of monster or beast...or worse...is attacking the local tribes people. Once the secret is revealed, it should be all over, but unfortunately, there are several more reels to get through.

I'll give this credit in the sense that they did their best to find the best color stock footage to match the new footage, blending it in almost convincingly. The jungle settings are pretty but there's really little mystery in this cartoonish adventure. Once again, Garland is a sight to behold, but the creature is nowhere the campy sight of the vegetable monster she came up against in "It Conquered the World". The scantily clad natives are a muscular erotic sight, but unfortunately, this is the type of schlock that turned movie audiences away and put them in front of their newly bought television screens where, when something was bad, at least you didn't have to pay for it.
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3/10
Bad Enough to be Good?
Harpoon92416 March 2017
Curt Siodmak seemed to have a passion for writing B movie scripts, and and it seems he believed so much in this one that he had to direct it as well.

It's in the running for the worst movie I ever saw, with the standard jungle movie setup- Americans go on an expedition in the jungle and get attacked by a variety of jungle natives- including the paper mache looking title monster. They say this movie was shot on location in the Amazon jungle (I don't think the term "rain forest" existed in 1956). If so, I've got to hand it to the cast and crew for going above and beyond for this one. I wouldn't have wanted to risk coming back with malaria or jungle rot for this movie.

With all that being said, if you look at all the lifeless and hollow stuff coming out of Hollywood in recent years, this one just might be good enough to be classic schlock cinema now.
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4/10
A beast spreads terror in the Amazon.
michaelRokeefe9 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Rock Dean (John Bromfield) travels to the Amazon jungles to see why plantation workers are running away from their jobs. On this same dangerous trip is the pretty Dr. Andrea Romar (Beverly Garland); she is in search of medicinal herbs used in the process of shrinking heads. The doctor thinks those same herbs may contain an ingredient that could treat terminal cancers. Their guide, Tupanico (Tom Payne), warns the two that they are wanting to travel way too far up the river where no white man has shown his face before. Plus it is said to be the home of the frightening monster Curucu that has been terrorizing the plantation workers.

This feature is directed and written by Curt Siodmak and uses tons of stock footage of jungle creatures. Other players: Harvey Chalk, Wilson Viana, Sergio de Oliveira and dancer Larri Thomas.
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4/10
Bland jungle Adventure/Horror
kannibalcorpsegrinder9 September 2015
Hoping to quell the fears of superstitious natives, a rancher and a doctor head into the Amazon jungle to find a supposedly awakened demon but learn of a dangerous native tribe lurking in the area and must stop it from spreading.

Overall this was a pretty disappointing and thoroughly disappointing effort. What really tends to hold this one down is the fact that there's not a whole lot of time here spent among the confines of the genre, tending to focus far more frequently on the Adventure drama aspects of the story. The majority of the film is simply watching the two and their guide trek through the jungle and commenting on the different animals present in the area which is then shown in stock-footage inserts of the specific species told they're observing only to then be treated to widely different levels of film-stock quality to showcase that. The piranha attack is the most egregious, showing badly-framed underwater footage in black-and-white no less despite the rest of the film being in color from an angle that has nothing to do with what they pointed to but is just clumsily thrown in since it's a piranha attack footage, while shots of the animals brawling and fighting each other tends to dominate the main parts of the film that it's entirely possible to forget there's a creature at the center of the film. That aspect doesn't help the film any further as there's only two attacks by the creature in the entire film and is then twisted around into another storyline thread which is dropped off the film quite easily and early which is quite troubling and again makes it hard to believe this was supposed to be a horror effort all along. These here make this one quite hard to get into as a horror film, despite having a fairly decent amount of stuff about it. Despite only being seen twice, each of the attacks aren't all that bad and manage to get some mild suspense from them as the creature stalking them in the jungle before jumping out to launch the surprise attack makes for a few decent times here. Likewise, the film also manages to get some decent mileage out of the fantastic brawl at the end as the two rival Indian tribes get into action and begin fighting each other in a fairly large-scale scene, from the fire-laced huts and the hand-to-hand brawling and the long-range battles with the spears and arrows coming into play to make a fine action scene that's quite exciting. Even still, that also plays more into it's Adventure setting that it tends to wash away the positives here and aligns this more as a flaw here.

Today's Rating/PG: Violence.
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2/10
One ridiculous and stupid looking beast
bkoganbing6 June 2015
John Bromfield and Beverly Garland star in Curucu Beast Of The Amazon and the best thing this film has going for it is the location photography in the Amazon jungles of Brazil. One hates to think that where this film was shot might be developed over by now. Because this film surely didn't do much for the careers of either of its stars.

Bromfield is a plantation manager and Garland is a doctor and and a ridiculous looking monster is out terrorizing the natives of Bromfield's plantation. Purportedly it is Curucu a legendary monster from up the Amazon headwaters country where no white people have gone before. So Bromfield decides to play Captain Kirk and go on a mission to explore and destroy this monster that's cutting into his business.

Garland being the scientist wants to get some of that head hunter concoction which she says might be valuable to medical science. Garland had one vital asset in being cast in these films, no one could scream quite like her and she gets plenty of opportunity from the natural and man made opposition they both encounter.

The monster Curucu is one ridiculous and stupid looking beast which looks like a mixture various Halloween costumes. In this case though there is a reason and the mystery of Curucu is solved.

A few laughs are in this one, unintentional ones if you care.
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2/10
They went to all the trouble of filming this in Brazil and apparently had no money left for a decent monster!
MartinHafer7 April 2018
"Curucu, Beast of the Amazon" is pretty much what you expect from a movie by this title! Yes, it's cheap, cheesy and pretty silly stuff...and is best for folks who like seeing terrible films.

The story begins with one of the silliest looking monsters in film history killing some woman in the Amazonian region. Soon, a burly he-man (John Bromfield) is recruited to find and destroy the monster...and he ends up getting paired up with a head-strong doctor...you know, the feminist sort in the 1950s that talks a good talk but ends up falling for the lunk-head leading man! Along the way, there are a few nice jungle scenes...and some total crap scenes as well where it's obvious they are using old and badly made stock footage. The buffalo charge, in particular, is terrible...and what you'd expect from an ultra-cheapo film like this. The only real surprise is the monster itself....when you learn more about it, it turns out to be a bit of a shocker! But even this isn't enough to make me recommend the film to anyone but masochists like myself who occasionally enjoy a laughably bad movie.

By the way, despite what you see in the picture, tarantulas are NOT deadly nor are they particularly poisonous.
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