Beach Blanket Jellyfish

Imagine living in 1966, sucked into Sting of Death’s drive-in circuit, and without the possibility of escape. In 2020, behind HDR, Blu-ray, and HDMI, it’s easy to forget the life saving technological capacity placed on the fast-forward button. Those in the ‘60s had to wait it out.

Sting of Death isn’t only a terrible, grating, boring movie, it’s a maddening one that begs a viewer to scream at the screen for anyone to do anything. Something. Please. In low-budget film production, the actual physical film itself often ranks as the greatest expenditure; Sting of Death keeps exposing new frames, yet never feeding them any worthy content. Five minutes dancing to Neil Sedaka tunes, another five journeying aimlessly through the everglades, another five painfully spouting non-science. Then when Sting of Death does something, it’s a bunch of plastic bags floating in the river, more terrifying today given the notable pollution in such a fragile area.

Sting of Death then is the bottom for aquatic beast movies

Slop horror from the late ‘50s through the ‘60s drudged up truly idiotic monsters, a killer tree named Tobanga among the worst in From Hell it Came, or the bait-and-switch from Curuku, Beast of the Amazon. But Sting of Death… it’s a dude in a wetsuit, covered in party beads and fake seaweed. Utterly unwatchable clunkers like Phantom from 10,000 Leagues at least had the courtesy to build a prop and creature design. Until the end, when Sting of Death adds a ballooning bag on the killer’s head, the non-mystery man never shies from obvious human form.

Any genre fan, no matter how invested, certainly have their breaking points. Ask those who adore Japanese giant monster movies to endure Gamera: Super Monster and wait for the reaction. Sting of Death then is the bottom for aquatic beast movies, or the short-lived rock ‘n roll critter sub-genre.

If there’s anything worth taking away from Sting of Death, it’s a fable about tolerance. The disfigured Egon (John Vella) deals with cruel college kids, mocking his facial deformity. Egon’s defenders make their plea to no effect. Then he starts offing people, draining the positive, honest vibes to make another victim into a madman. So Sting of Death blows that opportunity too.

Video

Consistent flicker damages impressive color saturation. Throughout, the color takes a hit from aging, turning things a faint green, sometimes every other frame. It’s irritating, if likely unavoidable. The print itself deals with nasty splicing errors, tears, and scratches, if never for long. Those brief issues come and go, leaving the rest spot free.

Fantastic resolution naturally sharpens the imagery, giving Sting of Death a striking appearance. Definition excels, revealing facial details and the Everglades in full. Managed grain looks natural and pure, the encode stable even when displaying underwater footage. Usually, that can pose a challenge.

Other than discoloration, brightness soaks up Florida sun. Contrast, even down in caves, keeps itself hearty and appealing.

Audio

The tin can effect is here, losing some lines to hiss, popping, and overall strained treble. Recorded outdoors, ambient audio interferes constantly, from splashing water to wind. There’s hardly a moment of genuine clarity.

Other than some passable bass (mostly early), there’s nothing exciting.

Extras

Sharing a disc with Death Curse of Tartu, bonuses specific to Sting of Death begin with a commentary from director William Gefe and Basket Case’s Frank Henenlotter. Then, a brief essay from C. Courtney Joyner about the rock ‘n roll monster genre.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Sting of Death
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A human jellyfish hybrid is a unique idea stuck in an arduous, plodding, impossibly dull movie, Sting of Death.

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