The storyline revolves around a giant plesiosaur, akin to the Loch Ness Monster, which appears in Crater Lake, next to a small Oregonian town. As people are attacked by the monster, the Sheriff (Cardella) investigates along with a group of scientists in order to stop the creature.
A meteor that crashed into Oregon's Crater Lake unearths a dinosaur egg. The heat from the meteor causes the egg to hatch, and the emerging dinosaur takes to snacking on the locals.
The film is mostly notable for being an example of David W. Allen's early stop-motion animation, and "the best thing about the movie (make that the only thing)". Otherwise, the film was widely panned by critics, with DVD Drive-In calling it "one of the worst giant monster flicks of all time". The film suffered from financing and publication problems with Crown International; as Cardella recounts: “ Crown International was part of the financing and they just screwed up everything. They pulled their support for some key scenes (that would have explained a lot and plugged some of the obvious holes), added a canned score that really sucked, and turned it over to some hack to edit. "The asshole didn't even use a fade or dissolve in the whole freakin' picture! ” said the director.
Despite being a critical and commercial flop, the camp appeal of the film led to a VHS release on United Home Video, and DVD release on Rhino Home Video. In 2011, The Crater Lake Monster was used as fodder for the Rifftrax comedy team. Mill Creek Entertainment released "The Crater Lake Monster" on Blu-ray as part of a double feature disc in 2011, pairing it with "Galaxina".
Notes & trivia
- The car sent over the cliff was a American Motors Corporation (AMC) Marlin. The Marlin was built from 1965 to 1967. The model used in this film was produced in 1965 and 1966.
- According to lead actor/writer Richard Cardella, Crown International Pictures took over the film's production and did little if any proper post-production work, leading to night scenes not being blue-tinted amongst other continuity errors.