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TIMOTHY CAREY IN 'THE MERMAIDS OF TIBURON' ORIGINAL CUT

Timothy Carey in MERMAIDS Year: 1962
With a blaring soundtrack sounding as if Vincent Price starred as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, our token sea stud hero, played by George Robotham, a cookie-cutter leading man whose narrating voice hints of HAL 9000, is up against The World's Greatest Sinner himself...

Timothy Carey
Enter Timothy Carey as a surprisingly subdued yet still his normally villainous villain out to kill George's intrepid Dr. Samuel Jamison, who, advised from his job at Marineland to check out a hidden locale in Mexico to find priceless, rare pearls, winds up discovering, on accident, THE MERMAIDS OF TIBURON...

For the best effect, and to enjoy the special-effects, make sure you watch the original version where the mermaids look very "realistic," their bodies curved nicely into a fin that doesn't resemble a cheap pasted-on get-up, and take note... Although the DVD-pack's production company (Psychotronica) saw fit to only remaster the rereleased "dirty" version, where shots of naked ladies replace the mermaids, swimming around with their own human legs donning actual scuba diving flippers that could be purchased at any store, you can find the wonderfully bizarre original 1962 version on the EXTRAS section at the bottom right of the screen.

Shark & Submarine
Either way — any movie where Timothy Carey is more dangerous than a killer shark is certainly worth watching, although, even with a sparse hour-long runtime, MERMAIDS, with all the swimming around, can get rather tedious, quickly — the sexy gill-gals aren't as mysterious from the doctor's dreary narration (which kind of sounds like Hal 9000 years earlier): a bland lecture describing these half-humans as being a missing link of the evolution process, neglecting any would-be suspenseful elements of Mermaid lore, like coaxing men to their peril...

Timothy Carey fed up with Mariachi Music
These bait-bitches are friendly enough, and yet our man is still lured into a slow-paced underwater "chase," past those lethargic, deadly sharks who, as described with the same narrating monotone, "must have eaten already," so not to be a threat, which turns the otherwise formidable fish into just another creature within the overall documentary-style...

That's until we wind up inside a dark cove where some tension mounts, and the ladies are truly at home — a place you might imagine while reading a Mark Twain novel as director John Lamb, a real life underwater photographer turned filmmaker (who later veered into porn, which describes the banal recut with the nudity and flippers), glides the Jacques Cousteau-style "actual footage" camera with steady precision, making this not just a theatrical Exploitation piece of nice looking fish-ladies...

Diane Webber as Mermaid Queen
What's being exploited most, through actual exploration, are the "wonders of the sea" through the eyes of the main character underneath. While above, on a dilapidated charter boat with everything — including a short, jovial Mexican "Captain," a bottle of tequila, a record player and an intrusive bird — a typical crime genre flick, that started in the city and led to the dock, unveils in a pulpy fashion as Carey continues to follow the doctor (who's busy dogging the mermaids) in a neat little submarine wielding a convenient "bag of tricks" to gain an edge on the pearls that, at this point, Jamison's not even after...

Neat Title Card for Mermaids... SEAScore: ***1/2
Thanks to Carey, who could even spice up paint drying — as the sea-exploring mid-section, while nice to look at, gets dreary, the villainous antics work since he's behind them: the beloved oddball Film Noir heavy's mere presence lends to not only steal the show, but establish it beyond the Oceanography text-book mainline. And eventually there's enough action to where the music picks up, shifting into an edgy detective-show vibe as the good and bad guy fight it out... One has advantage with the title starlets, led by the Mermaid Queen (Diane Webber) with a few blondes and even a redhead as eventually, the somewhat overlong finale gets darker and darker, deeper and deeper and, for a b-movie that seems catered for audiences to ignore at a drive-in theater, it all blends together nicely — a bizarre combination of underwater exploration, nefarious action, and best yet, pretty MERMAIDS all in a... row, row, row online to buy this DVD combo-pack that includes a bagful of other cult flicks.
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