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Director: Jack Weis
Label: Something Weird Video
Among the many off-kilter subgenres of the Southern Exploitation Film are those loosely referred to as Swamp Movies, a nebulous group of epics ranging from Okefenokee to Swamp Country to Cottonpickin’ Chickenpickers to Poor White Trash, which center on the soggy exploits of gators, swamp buggies, moonshine stills, and the crackpot denizens of those spooky little shacks far away from civilization. Crypt of Dark Secrets, an oddball regional rarity shot in New Orleans, is some good ol’ swamp horror which mixes Aztecs, voodoo, and a bare-ass supernatural swamp slut.
Vietnam vet Ted Watkins is "some nut who lives on some theoretical haunted island haunted by some voodoo lady who turns herself into a snake." He’s also the target for some mangy muggers -- Earl, Max, and Louise -- who plan on stealing the money Ted has hidden in a breadbox. Louise figures it this way: "There’s only one way we can get away with it. Leave no evidence!" (Duuuuuh...)
The trio promptly kill poor Ted and take his money but Ted just as promptly returns to life to find Damballa, the above mentioned snake lady, dancing in the nude over him. Miss Damballa also levitates via a poor man’s magic trick and makes her eyes glow white with a wobbly matte. She tells Ted that he now "exists in the world of the living dead," which doesn’t seem to faze Ted in the slightest.
After the stolen money drips blood, Damballa gets revenge on the dimwitted killers with the help of yet another voodoo lady (obviously, the swamp is crawling with them), three voodoo dolls, some buried pirate treasure, and a smoking mummy case she writhes atop of. An investigating sheriff sums it up best: "A lotta things in these swamps are unbelievable!"
Director JACK WEIS also helmed the peculiar New Orleans gore film Mardi Gras Massacre, which also stars some of the same cast. And who’s the guy that tells the sheriff all about Damballa? Why, it’s none other than roadshow promoter and manager of the Dragon Art Theatre, DONN DAVISON (Honey Britches) sneaking in a little cameo.
A crisp transfer from the 35mm swamp-spook negative. -- Frank Henenlotter