Sting of Death – USA, 1965

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Sting of Death is a 1965 [released 1966] American science fiction horror feature film directed by South Florida maverick film-maker William Grefé (Stanley, Impulse) from a screenplay by Al Dempsey and actor William Kerwin (Playgirl Killer; Love Goddesses of Blood Island)

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The film stars Joe Morrison, Valerie Hawkins, John Vella and Jack Nagle (Mako: The Jaws of Death).

Sting of Death was released 17 October 1966 on the drive-in circuit by regional distributor Thunderbird Pictures on a double-bill with Grefé’s torpid Death Curse of Tartu.

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In the Florida Everglades, marine biologist Dr. Richardson and his two aides, John Hoyt and Egon, are conducting experiments with Portuguese men-of-war.

Unknown to his associates, Egon, who suffers from a persecution complex because of his horribly disfigured face, has built an underwater cave laboratory in the hope that secrets learned from his studies of the Portuguese men-of-war might help to erase the scars that are driving him to madness.

Shortly after the arrival of Richardson’s daughter, Karen, and four of her college friends, Egon’s tests produce disastrous results, and he is transformed into a vengeful half human, half Portuguese man-of-war.


Because he has learned to communicate with the men-of-war, he amasses a host of them and systematically attacks boats and their passengers; and he murders all the students except Karen, whom he loves. Eventually he kidnaps Karen and takes her to his underwater laboratory…

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DVD includes audio commentaries on both films by director William Grefé, plus cheesecake gore pic Love Goddesses of Blood Island

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“Props on a novel concept, at least. Is that enough to support watching Sting of Death? That will depend on your love of concepts unsupported by adequate resources, your tolerance for thin characterization and bland dialogue, and your acceptance of gratuitous butt shots. And any fear you may have of sandwich bags.” Freeman Williams, The Bad Movie Report

“One of the most memorable scenes in this film is without a doubt the infamous ‘Jellyfish dance’ sequence with the extremely funky song by Neil Sedaka. For almost five minutes all the kids are dancing to this hilarious tune and Grefe keeps giving us close-ups of the girls doing their butt shaking. Beautiful! The horribly bad jellyfish effect, mostly made out of a diving suit and inflated plastic bags, just adds to the cheesy goodness of this film.” Patrick G.P., Repulsive Cinema

“The idea of a jellyfish man is so ludicrous that it’s hard to believe someone actually invested money in the idea, and it would have been ridiculous even had the monster costume involved been better. The costume, which consists of flippers, a wet suit, some mangy hanging stingers and a colored plastic bag over the actor’s head, looks like a kid’s Halloween costume.” Horror

“Acting (especially timing) is amusingly awful and the script has lines like “I had to kill them – they were no good for you!”. A naked blonde can be glimpsed through a translucent shower door. Very few lulls and much better than Grefé’s next film, Death Curse of Tartu.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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“The best thing is the Everglades footage, which gives the film a nice setting. On the downside, most of the scenes go on too long, and the conflicts that drive the story are labored and overdone, particularly the way everyone overreacts when they meet the deformed handyman. The costume of the creature is more apt to net laughs than to inspire terror…” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

Filming locations:

Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon, Florida, USA



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The film features the Neil Sedaka song “Do the Jellyfish”:

IMDb | William Grefé website | Related: HellyfishOctaman

Posted by Will Holland

One Comment on “Sting of Death – USA, 1965”

  1. Wonderfully wacky B film that everyone should see. Death Curse of Tartu as well. A good double feature package from the good old days of exploitation. While everyone talks about the craziness of the Jellyfish Man, I would like to talk about the craziness of that huge scab on the head of the actor playing the professor. Seems he had a accident before filming thus the humongous scab he has, that couldn’t be covered by make up and had to be worked into the film. I mean at it’s height, it looks like he has a piece of anchovy glued to his head. I also liked the idea that Jellyfish Man and the Man O War he had were linked,kill the Man O War, kill the Jellyfish Man.

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