This ultra-low-budget tale of a man who can transform himself into a half-man, half-jellyfish begins when a group of kooky and rowdy college students – including lots of sexy girls, natch – decide not to spend Spring Break drinking and having endless sex but instead travel to the remote Florida island home of Dr Richardson (Jack Nagle), the father of one of the students, Karen (Valerie Hawkins).
Richardson is a marine biologist specialising in jellyfish, assisted by Dr John Hoyt (Joe Morrison) and the creepy, disfigured Egon (Egon), who has fallen in love with Karen.
But Egon’s other obsession – with the Portuguese man-of-war – leads to him turning himself into the aforementioned jellyfish monster (a man in a wet suit with a few strands of swamp weed draped over him and a plastic bubble on his head) in his secret laboratory in an underwater cave in the Everglades.
There are a lot of “beach movie” style scenes featuring teens wiggling their butts to generic 60s pop music, but Sting of Death is possibly the only monster film to feature a song by Neil Sedaka – the truly extraordinary ska-inflected Do the Jellyfish (“Wella, I’m saying fella, forget your Cinderella and do the jella, the jilla-jalla jellyfish!”)
The “jellyfish”, by the way, look suspiciously like sandwich bags tied with sparkly ribbons.
The film mimics Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) throughout. while the cast invests absolutely zero personality into their cardboard characters, simply mouthing the dreary dialogue by writer Al Dempsey (actually William Kerwin) with no feeling or nuance. It went straight to the Drive-In circuit.
The only member of the cast to have continued on to anything remotely noteworthy was Deanna Lund, who later turned up as Valerie Scott in Irwin Allen’s hit series Land of the Giants.
William Grefé shows no talent as a director, with almost every scene lingering much longer than it should, and the climax coming in an overlong and very poorly choreographed fist fight between Dr Hoyt and the jellyfish man.
It’s unmissable Z-grade trash.
Dr John Hoyt
Egon as a monster
Sandy Lee Kane