Curucu, Beast of the Amazon is a 1956 American horror monster film directed and written by Curt Siodmak (The Wolf Man; I Walked with a Zombie; Donovan’s Brain). Although nearly all 1950s monster movies were filmed in black and white, Curucu was shot in Eastmancolor, on location in the Amazon River, in Brazil. After filming, Curt Siodmak had 10,000 feet of colour film left over that he could not export. Love Slaves of the Amazons was the result, and used some of the same cast. Universal-International distributed the film.
Composer Raoul Kraushaar also provided the film scores for Bride of the Gorilla (1951), Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter and Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (both 1966).
John Bromfield, Beverly Garland (Not of This Earth; It Conquered the World; The Alligator People) and Tom Payne.
Plantation owner Rock Dean travels up the Amazon River to investigate why the workers have left in panic. Dean’s guide, Tumpanico warns him of Curucu (a bird-like monster who is said to live up the river where no white man has ever been). Accompanying him is Dr. Andrea Romar (Beverly Garland), in search of a drug which the natives apparently use to shrink heads. She hopes this drug will be effective in reducing cancerous tissue…
“A moderately amusing jungle adventure which places Bromfield in dangerous Amazon territory alongside the courageous Garland. Bromfield plays a plantation owner who wants to find out why his workers are leaving the fields and returning to the jungles. Garland is trudging through the marshes on a mission to find a cure for cancer in a native’s head-shrinking formula. They face the usual creepy jungle obstacles — spiders and snakes and piranhas…” TV Guide
“Bromfield is competent, Garland as zesty as ever, and Tom Payne is fine as the native guide Tupanico. Some great scenery, and a flavorful score by Raoul Kraushaar. The film has its dopey moments, and it’s accuracy as to the natives and wild life of Brazil during the fifties is debatable, but it’s fun. One native guy feels up Garland to make sure that she’s female!” Great Old Movies
” … besides Siodmak (it’s hard to believe this guy wrote The Wolf Man), the fault mostly lies with leading man John Bromfield. Rarely does one get to see such a terrible performance in a theatrical release. Love interest Beverly Garland is bad too. Save as a cultural artifact (Curucu endeavors to be misogynistic), there’s no reason to subject oneself to this film.” The Stop Button
- John Bromfield: Rock Dean
- Beverly Garland: Dr. Andrea Romar
- Tom Payne: Tumpanico
- Harvey Chalk: Father Flaviano
- Larri Thomas: Vivian, the dancer
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