What the Hell Is ZAAT (1971)??? - Page 2
Once the walking fish has avenged himself on the two scientists, he concentrates on two important pursuits: creating a mate and killing a lot of people, rewarding himself by eating their guts. He does some other scientific stuff, too, but it’s all kind of vague and incongruent, and totally unimportant to understanding the logic of the plot, which is not possible.
ZAAT is the kind of movie that happens when a bunch of guys making industrial films decide, “Hey, we could make a feature film,” and then go ahead and try it, paying the cast and crew in Twinkies and Dr. Pepper. There were three people credited with the creation of the monster costume and, apparently, they each had a different idea and never settled on one in particular—that costume was probably the most expensive item in the budget.
Surprisingly, ZAAT had a film editor. What he was doing when he was supposed to be editing the film is a mystery. His chief responsibility may have been to edit in all the wonderful shots of sharks, seashells, and assorted sea life that one may not expect to see in the Everglades. The film is slow-moving with lots of scenes of nothing—the monster walking, a man walking, catfish walking.
As schlocky as ZAAT is, it does remind us of some far better, more recent productions. There are certain aspects that will make viewers wish they were watching Jaws, and the investigative team (Sanna Ringhaver, Dave Dickerson) from INPIT (Inter-Nations Phenomenon Investigations Team) will remind us how much we miss Scully and Mulder. Looking back in time ZAAT’s Sheriff Lou Krantz (Paul Galloway) leaves us nostalgic for Sheriff Gillespie (In the Heat of the Night).
Amazingly enough, ZAAT is not considered the worst movie ever made; the far superior Plan 9 from Outer Space holds that title. Sadly ZAAT isn’t even the worst movie I’ve ever seen. I do have one regret, though, I wish I hadn’t watched it alone—it’s awesome awfulness was meant to be shared.