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Zaat (1971) Poster

(1971)

Trivia

Director Don Barton filled the monster role through a newspaper ad. The ad read: "Wanted: 6'5'' or taller male to play the role of monster in horror movie. Must be experienced swimmer, scuba diver. Acting Ability not required!" Barton said ten people responded.
Originally, the film was supposed to include scenes of gigantic catfish destroying the countryside. Footage of the walking catfish on miniature landscapes was too hokey. One shot made it into the film; a catfish squirms next to a miniature fence during one sequence.
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The movie was shot in 1971, and had a limited release in the American South. Wide release came four years later.
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Wade Popwell, the actor in the monster suit, wore shoes for shots that didn't show the monsters feet.
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According to writer Ron Kivett, the monster has a leech-like mouth because it was originally supposed to suck the blood out of its victims.
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In an interview, writer Ron Kivett said the script was inspired by an article he read about a species of 'walking' catfish that could live in water and on land. The article theorized that the fish were possibly a mutation. Doctor Leopold refers to the same species of fish in his voice-over narrative.
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This was the only movie for most of the cast and crew. Two exceptions were Paul Galloway, who appeared in J.D.'s Revenge (1976), and one of the extras, who appeared in Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989).
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The Marineland park location that was used for Dr. Leopold's lab was previously used for another monster film: Revenge of the Creature (1955).
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The orchestral music score occasionally heard during the movie is actually an old stock film score. It's been featured in such B horror films as "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" and, most curiously, a news reel segment about the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in 1965.
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Marshall Grauer is given top-billing in the film, though he only appears in the first ten minutes of the movie. The monster itself is portrayed by a taller actor for the remainder of the movie.
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The budget on Zaat was so low that the production couldn't afford lighting for the night scenes outdoors. The headlights of cars had to be used to light night scenes. The reflection of the car lights can occasionally be spotted in windows as the monster walks the deserted streets.
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Shot in 30 days.
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The monster costume had to be repaired on a daily basis during shooting, according to writer Ron Kivett. Kivett created the monster suit and had to continually add to it to cover damages to the suit during filming. It became quite heavy toward the end of shooting because of the frequent patching.
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The monster suit was quite cumbersome for star Wade Popwell. The suit weighed 120 pounds and stood seven feet tall with 6'5'' Popwell wearing it. At times cuts had to be made during the shooting of swamp scenes when the monster's head would crash into unseen tree branches.
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Marshall Grauer, who plays Doctor Leopold and does his voice-overs, also provides the voice of the INPIT agent on the radio with the German accent.
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In the original script the monster was suppose to throw a chair through the window of the drugstore during his OD rage. However, the production couldn't afford to break a window so it was left out of the film.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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