There have been some missing fishermen in the area of the Everglades where Marine Biologist Dr. Richardson (Jack Nagle) has his house and laboratory. Along with his assistants Dr. John Hoyt (Joe Morrison) and Egon (John Vella) he has been studying the evolution of sea life. While sunbathing on a dock a young woman is dragged under the water by a sea creature and disappears. The young woman is Ruth (Judy Lee) and she worked for Dr. Richardson.
Richardson and John had been out on the mainland picking up Richardson’s daughter Karen (Valerie Hawkins) and some of her friends, Louise (Sandy Lee Kane), Jessica (Deanna Lund), Donna (Lois Etelman), and Susan (Blanche Devreaux) from school. Also on their way to the island are some biology students that Richardson teaches.
While the girls are upstairs getting changed Sheriff Bob (Robert Stanton) shows up with the body of one of the fishermen. He asks Richardson and John if they have any idea how he died. John says it looks like a creature that looks similar to a jellyfish called a Portuguese man o’ war but they don’t get big enough to make the welts they see. Egon says that they can get big enough but the others disagree.
Egon is self conscious about his facial disfigurement and appears slow witted. He has a crush on Karen since she is the only person who has ever been nice to him. When the college students arrive they start partying up a storm. When they see Egon they ridicule him. Karen tries to come to his defense by the students are relentless. Egon runs away but Egon doesn’t go far.
Egon has found a way to not only make Portuguese man o’ war big but he has found a way to turn himself into a giant walking man o’ war. After turning himself into a jellyfish monster Egon begins picking off those that criticized him. He first attacks Louise while she is swimming in the pool. He then stings one of the college guys. Richardson has the college kids go back to the mainland to get the police. Karen and her friends stay on the island. Egon, now Jellyfish Man, sabotages the boat and releases his man o’ war babies into the water. The boat sinks and all the kids get stung to death. The monster then heads back to the island to kill the rest of the girls and kidnap Karen.
“Sting of Death” was released in 1966 and was directed by William Grefe. It is a low budget American science fiction horror film.
The jellyfish monster is as silly as I expected it to be. A guy in a slimed up wetsuit and flippers with a Rasta hairdo and a plastic floatie on his head. It doesn’t help that the floatie is translucent so he can’t see where he’s going so he kinda slowly flops along. Doug Hobart plays the Jellyfish Man Monster as well as the part of the dead body in the sheriff's boat.
The movie itself is ridiculously stupid and campy which makes most of it fun. The parts I cringed at were the eternal dancing of the men and women who were trying to act like college kids. The worst part of that was the song number by Neil Sedaka and sung by Neil Sedaka called “Do the Jellyfish”. They all deserved to die.
A Portuguese man o’ war is usually mistaken for a jellyfish. It may be related to the jellyfish but it is actually a species of siphonophore. A siphonophore is comprised of a colony of specialized, genetically identical individuals called zooids or clones. The zooids have various forms and functions that work together as one. They have four specialized parts that are each responsible for a specific task, floating, capturing prey, feeding, and reproduction. They are found mostly in tropical and subtropical seas. Men o' war are propelled by winds and ocean currents.
“Sting of Death” was one of the featured films presented in the 2020 Montreal Fantasia International Film Festival. Also known as Fantasia-fest the Festival is held each year in July or August.