Crypt of Dark Secrets (1976) - full transcript

Army Ranger Ted Watkins, returning from his last tour of duty in Vietnam, decides to abandon society and take up residence in a remote corner of the Louisiana swamps. Thinking Watkins has a stash of loot hidden away in his cabin, three thieves sneak into his cabin and murder the man in cold blood. Before they can get away, however, a swamp witch named Damballa performs a voodoo rite to bring Watkins' body back to life and take revenge on the men who killed him.

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(ominous drum music)

- Well, Charlie, what did you find?

- Well, Sheriff, that
legend you asked me about

has been told in these parts
probably a hundred years

or more about the woman
that lives in the lake

and turns into a snake.

I never thought much about it.

We got maybe 5-6,000 books in our library.

You asked me to look, so I did,

and I had to go through
damn near every one of them,

but I found it.



There's a legend of a
girl called Damballa.

She turns into a snake.

She kinda lives forever,
it's like eternal life.

She's almost like a bridge
between life and death.

It's very interesting,
and there's pictures.

- What do you think? You believe it?

- I don't know if I believe it.

You know, the reason I don't know

is there's two reasons people write books.

One of them is to kinda tell
a story and entertain people,

and the other one's to record history.

I don't know which one
they did in this case.

I do know one thing, and
I know this for sure.

That just because you can't see something



or don't believe in it,

doesn't mean it's impossible
for it to exist or to happen.

- Well, there's a young fella
living on that island now.

Maybe Sergeant Buck and I
could take a ride out there

and find out about him and Damballa.

(mysterious music)

(funky synth music)

- If you don't believe in it,

why are we taking this 10 mile trip

on this hot summer day
in this Louisiana swamp?

- Well, I don't believe a word of it.

But I was brought up in this swamp,

and if you ever spend a
night in there by yourself,

you believe almost anything.

Look at it now in the bright light of day,

and yet just five feet from the bayou,

it's as dark as night.

- I've heard most all these
swamp people's folk stories.

Never heard any about any Damballa.

They've got nothing better to do

than chase up and down this
hot bayou looking for somebody,

some nut who lives on some
theoretical haunted island,

haunted by some voodoo lady who
turns herself into a snake?

You gotta be kidding, Lieutenant.

- Now, let me tell you the story.

At least as I remember it,

as it was passed down by my grandfather.

This island we're gonna
look at has a house on it.

A big house.

Completely furnished,
but nobody lives in it.

Been that way for 150 years.

Nobody owns it, nobody wants to.

He used to go to the island with my father

when he was sheriff.

I always noticed even on a hot summer day,

there was a cool breeze.

Yet, there was fog.

Five or six people did
try to claim the island.

Squatter's rights.

The longest one of them
stayed was one night,

and they'd come back with stories

of Aztec princes, voodoo
rites, the living dead.

Everything imaginable.

And now, one man gets a
discharge from the Army,

a good pension, moves on to the island,

he's been there for a month.

But I just can't stand it.

I've got to go look.

- You mean you can't stand
it, we gotta go look.

What does Damballa mean?

- I looked it up in the encyclopedia.

The Aztecs believe that Damballa

is the link between
this world and the next.

They believe it's a rainbow
that turns into a snake,

and in order to cross
over into the next world,

you have to walk over
this rainbow or snake,

or whatever the hell.

(mysterious music)

Well, here it is.

The haunted island.

(mysterious music)

Oh, we have a welcoming committee I see.

- Yeah, I heard you coming
about 10 minutes off.

- Ah, grab the rope.

Thank you.
- You're fine.

(mysterious music)

Hello. Nice to see you.

We don't get many visitors out here.

- How do you do?

I'm Lieutenant Harrigan,
this is Sergeant Buck.

We just happened to be
in the neighborhood,

and thought we'd stop by
and give you a welcome.

- Well, that's fine.

How about coming up onto the house

and have a cold beer or a cup of coffee?

- Good.

(mysterious music)

Sure is nice and cool here.

Notice it, Sarge?

- I'll be.

There's fog on the island, 11 o'clock.

Hot sun, hot day.

I've never seen anything like that.

- The fog is always here.

And if you walk into it,

there's always a cool breeze blowing.

Down by the trail, there's
a fallen meteorite.

You know, there's no natural rocks

in this part of the country,

and at night it's the quietest
place you've ever been.

How about coming in for a drink now?

- Good.

(mysterious music)

- What would you like?

- Coffee.

- How about a beer?

- See, what did I tell you?

An island with a house.

- You know, I can't even
get anyone to come out here

and clean up for me.

In fact, the only human I've seen out here

is a black-haired girl who goes swimming

back down by the pond.

- A woman in that pond?

That ain't a human being
in 10 miles of this place.

Any human being who'd want
to come to this place,

that I know of.

- I've run down there as
fast as I could to catch it,

find out how she gets in.

She always hightails it out.

- How long you been here?

- About two and a half months.

- I thought you been here about a month?

- Oh, I've been here about two and a half.

I retired from the Army after 15 years,

picked up a little metal in Vietnam,

and took my medical discharge, retired.

- Yeah, so I understand
from the postmaster.

You're quite the talk of the town,

being a retired colonel from the Rangers.

I guess that explains why a
little thing like black magic

and voodoo doesn't scare you.

You know, I've always been
interested in this place.

Heard a lot of stories about it.

Anything strange happen
out here that you know of?

- No, I've always looked for
a quiet place to settle down.

I think I found it.

In fact, the only thing
strange around here is the fog

and the coolness.

It must have something
to do with the swamp

or the water table.

- The swamp?

You like the swamp?

- I lived in it all my life in Florida.

Spent four years in it in Vietnam.

- Well, Ted...

I hope you're keeping that
money of yours in a safe place.

You worked hard for it.

Our banker tells us that you
don't have an account with him.

- Ah...

I'm not worried about that.

I got a lot of time.

I got the rest of my life.

- Keeping a lot of money
around in this country

could be dangerous.

(mysterious music)

Ah, it's a good time to
leave, I see the tide's in.

Thanks a lot for your hospitality.

Enjoyed meeting you.

Next time you're in town, stop in.

The coffee pot's always on.

- Better than that, I'll buy you a beer.

- Great, I'll untie the boat.

(mysterious music)

(boat motor revs)

- Hello, Sergeant Buck.

- Mr. Abair.

This is the man the Lieutenant
asked me to bring by.

He's settling on haunted island.

Ted Watkins, I'd like
you to meet Fred Abair,

he runs our local bank here in Covington.

- How do you do, Mr. Watkins?

Pleasure to meet you.

Sit down.
- Nice to meet you, Mr. Abair.

- The Lieutenant's been
talking to me about you.

I'm very concerned about
the amount of money

that you're keeping in
your cabin on the island.

- [Ted] How did you know that?

- Well, you cashed your
retirement and disability checks

with the local chain.

Mr. Joyce, the manager,
called me the first two times

to verify the checks.

The first time you
bought supplies from him,

you cashed 12 at one time.

12 times $1,500 is a lot of money.

- Wow.

I'd like to see somebody
take it away from me.

- I've seen people kill each
other for three alligator hides

worth $20 a piece.

Imagine what they'd do
for this amount of money.

- I just cashed another check.

Perhaps you're right.

- Why don't we open an account,

and you can have your check
sent directly to the bank

and draw them as you see fit.

I'll arrange to have interest
paid on the undrawn balance.

Put your money to work for you,

protect yourself and your money.

Now, I'd like you to bring
all of your money to the bank.

You know, it's not like the old days.

Banks don't fail anymore,
they have federal insurance.

- I'm not worried about the money.

Money by itself means nothing.

- Mr. Watkins, out of curiosity,

where do you keep the money?

Do you have a safe?

- Heck no.

I've been out on that
island for three months now

without a visitor.

I keep the money where
the bugs can't get it,

in the bread box.

- In the bread box.

I guess that's a good place to keep bread.

Thank you, Mr. Watkins.

I certainly appreciate your business.

It's nice to have met you.

- Thank you, sir.

- [Fred] Bye.

(mysterious music)

- I'm sorry, but the bank
can't extend its loan to you.

It's extended to the maximum at this time.

I'm afraid we can't make a
loan to you at this time.

- No money, huh?

Me, I think he got 15, maybe $20,000

on that island right now.

Cash money.

You hear that, Earl?

C-A-S-H.

Man, we could buy a down payment

on a damn fine shrimper for that, yeah.

- You know he's a retired Ranger.

He's not gonna give us the money.

We're gonna have to take it from him

if we're gonna get it.

We might even have to kill him.

- So who the hell is going to miss him?

It'll just be another
story about that place.

(Earl chuckles)

Now let's take a ride around the island

and look at it through it.

That way we can find out
the best place to jump him

or whatever the hell we gotta do.

(tense music)

- This looks like a good spot.

Let me get out and take a look around.

- [Max] Go ahead, Earl.

(water splashes)

(tense music)

- Max...

Max!

I'm stuck.

It feels like quicksand.

- Hold on.

I'm coming to help.

(dramatic music)

Earl, Earl, try to grab the branch.

Earl, grab the branch!

Come on, Earl!

Can you reach it?

There!

Grab on, here!

Don't try to push, let me pull you, Earl.

Come on, Earl.

Come on.

Let's go.

Just let me pull you, Earl.

(Max grunts)

(Earl coughs)

Just let me pull you.

(Earl coughs)

And me, I know there's never
been no quicksand there before.

That's the strangest thing I ever saw.

- Fog on the island,

quicksand in the water.

Maybe this island is haunted.

- Oh, man, if it's haunted,
how the hell can he live on it?

One more minute, you'd of
been a dead duck, yeah.

Or a swallowed up duck.

Look, you stay here. I'll go get the boat.

Then we can go back and figure
out our plan for this, huh?

- Okay.

(Earl coughs)

- So then after we looked
over the whole damn island,

this crazy couyon got
stuck in the only quicksand

I ever seen around here.

- It wasn't there yesterday.

- Hell, you're both nuts.

Don't you know to live
on that haunted island,

he's got to be something special?

In the last 10 years, I
know at least 10 people

that tried to homestead that
land, to get that ground.

No one lasted even one night.

- Well, I ain't afraid of no ghost,

and no voodoo, and no snake lady.

I lost everything I had
in the last hurricane.

Look at the two of you.

If it weren't for the
crabbin' and the fishin'

down in the bayou,

you'd both be in the poor house.

It's our big chance.

- Damn it, he's right.

Honey, this could be our big chance.

Just think what we could
do with all that money.

- Well, there's only one
way we can get away with it.

Leave no evidence.

You got to kill him so nobody
will know that we did it.

You best not take all the money,
you best leave some behind

so it don't look like no robbery.

- Hell, I ain't leaving anything
for anybody else to take.

- And you know all that
gold stuff he wears on him?

That's coming with us too.

(Earl laughs)

- What is the best way for somebody to die

out in the bayou?

- With all this damn water around,

probably the best way would be drowning.

Maybe he could fall down, hit his head.

(Earl chuckles)

Land in the bayou.

(Earl laughs)

Have a terrible accident.

(men laughing)

- With magic of fire,

I remove all impurities on your body.

(calming music)

(knocking)

Enter.

- Are you who the swamp
people call the voodoo lady?

- I have been called that.

May I be of service to you?

- No, not that kind.

All I want is information.

- Yes.

You want to know about the young lady

that swims in the pond.

- How did you know?

- She has spoken to me of you.

- Do you know her well?

- She said she would
make herself known to you

at the proper time.

Be careful of the water,
for your moon is in Pisces.

(mysterious music)

- Okay, this is the place.

Let's go get it.

Okay, should be coming out soon.

This is when he usually goes fishing.

Now, don't anybody be nervous.

Remember the plan, Earl?

- Yeah.

- When he goes out on
the pier, we go jump him.

And look, let's keep quiet.

Don't anybody make a sound.

Don't talk. Don't even breathe.

- You Cajun fool!

You makin' more noise than anybody else.

Shut up.

- He's pretty big.

Are you sure the two
of you can handle him?

- Yeah, we can handle him.

In case we get in any trouble,

you come out and give us a hand, Louise.

- I got my sash weight.

- Okay, here he comes.

(tense music)

(Max grunts)

(water splashes)

Go get him so we can get the jewelry.

Come on, bring him to the shore.

That's the way, Earl.

Bring him over here.

(water splashes)

Come on, let's get him up here.

Right there.

(tense music)

Let's throw him back.

Yeah, that's good.

He can drown in that amount of water.

(tense music)

- In the bread box, just like he say.

- Here, let's put it in this bag.

- Did you see that
black snake watching us?

- Earl, don't worry about
the snake, he can't testify.

- [Earl] We gonna be millionaires!

- [Louisa] Oh, faster, faster!

- We gotta get home and
count the damn stuff.

(mystical tribal music)

- You're the girl that swims in the lake.

The one that turns into a snake.

- Yes.

And now you exist in the
world of the living dead.

- I don't understand.

- Shh.

And you will learn.

I am going to tell you my
story, the story of all.

- You have been given
the honor to represent

all of the people from this time forward,

on this place of our fathers,

till the prophecy has been fulfilled.

- Yes, I know.

I have been well
instructed since my birth.

First by my mother, then by my father,

then by the high priest.

I speak of a voice from beyond,

but I do not understand, why me?

- Come, child.

The time has come for you to
start on your path of destiny.

- I have fear within me.

Must I go?

- The fear will pass.

And the pain will be with you no more.

Come.

(tense drum music)

- You are to learn the secrets

that I have kept in my lifetime,

for it is now my time to
pass into the next place.

- Why me?

What am I to do?

- Have no fear, for
you are the chosen one.

You are to cross over and
live in the two worlds,

this one and the next, because
you are the chosen one.

Now I shall call forth your guide,

the one from the other world,

so that you will know
each other and be as one.

Come forward, our own from the past

who has dwelled and kept this place

as a guide for our people.

Come forward.

(tense drum music)

- You have called me for the last time.

I now leave my work with
the new young Damballa,

the chosen one.

You, little one, shall take my place,

and live between the two worlds,

this one and the next.

You shall be the oracle,
the spirit of good,

and this island shall be your domain.

You can take on any shape
you like, or no shape at all.

You will find that the
cool body of the reptile

will be your favorite resting
place, as it was mine.

For you see, your destiny has been preset

in the annals of time.

You are to live and cross over

between this world and the next

as I have for 3000 years,

until you feel the prophecy
of our forefathers,

for you are the last.

The last to dwell here.

As your time comes to an end,

you will bring one with
you, and it shall be done.

But the one you bring will not be like us.

He will be a man, unusual,

and the prophesy shall be fulfilled.

This will be your place.

The wind, the rain, and the elements

shall hear you as their mother,

for you will be as I.

And if you call me, I shall
answer your will and whim.

Come. It is your time.

- Our ancestors who have passed before

have told us of a future, a time to come.

It is all here in the code of knowledge.

Now, read to us, old high priestess

and tell us what is to become of us

in this earth upon which we dwell.

(tense music)

- The time of our people
have come and passed.

You and all life shall go to the south,

where the conquerer will
extinguish your fires

and bring misery and dejection.

But our time shall return,

where the other world into which we pass

will be best for us.

- And you, chosen one, will
find one such as I found you,

who is worthy to join us.

Whoever you find worthy,
I will take as mine.

I now sprinkle you with
dust from my grave.

This dust was once my body,

and now it shall be
yours, as yours is mine.

You will join those who refuse

to leave this earth after death,

and live on purged of
imperfections and impurities

and return to cross over as they will.

And now your time has come, but remember,

I will always be at your call,

for your name is now Damballa.

- Take this cup and drink the juice

of the flower of forgetfulness,

so that in return you
may offer us answers.

(tense drum music)

(fire blazes)

(dramatic music)

- I can't believe it. It can't be true.

- Ted, when I found you, you
were face down in the water.

Your spirit had already left your body.

- Yes, I remember.

I was going on a long
journey, and a voice...

It was your voice, called me back.

- We must join our souls for eternity.

Come.

We are now ready for the
next part of our journey.

- I told you we could do it!

It went easy. Didn't it?

- Oh, I don't know, Max,

I have a funny feeling about it.

- What kind of funny feeling?

Look at the damn money!

- We won't have don't work for years.

- I can still see his
body floating that water.

- Ah, forget about him.

Look at that!

(Louise screams)
(Earl yells)

- Take it away!

Get it out of here!

(tense music)

Oh, Max, get it outta here!

Get it outta here!

- [Max] We come to give ourselves up.

- Come on in.

- Sit down, Earl.

- Give yourselves up?

What do you want?

- You tell him, Earl.

Me, I don't think I can do it.

- We come to give ourselves up.

We went to the island and we
hit the Ranger on the head,

and we drowned him in the
bayou, and we stole his money.

- Hey, Lieutenant!

It's fairytale time again.

- What do you want? What's the fairytale?

- It looks like it's our lucky day.

These two nuts claim they
went to your haunted island,

killed Ted Watkins, stole his money.

They came here to give themselves up.

- Hm.

What's the matter with you squirrels?

This isn't April Fool's Day.

- Oh, no, Lieutenant, it's true.

And that's not the best part.

Me, I got a story you won't believe.

Matter of fact, I can
hardly believe it myself.

- What do you think?

Did they kill Watkins and rob him?

Or have they been smoking something?

- If they did, they
did it in their dreams.

It takes six of their kind to
have the guts and the know how

to do in that Ranger.

- Well, lock them up,
but don't charge 'em.

We'll say we're holding
them in protective custody.

We didn't want to give them
a chance for a false arrest

charge against the parish.

- Yeah, I know what's next.

Back to damn boat,
little ride in the swamp,

see if it's true.

Back to the haunted island.

(mysterious music)

- It's a meteorite.

I've seen it before.

They're very rare.

How did it get here?

- It was sent by the
heavens to mark this place.

The island of our people. My island.

And as it was predicted,
you were sent to me.

- All my life, I've been very
fortunate, just plain lucky.

I should've been killed.

First Korea, and then Vietnam.

Out of 300 men, I was the only survivor.

I was badly wounded, but now I'm here.

Perhaps this is the reason.

- Yes.

You have passed all tests.

I have been waiting.

Come.

(mysterious music)

- Now just a minute.

I don't believe this.

- I know.

I know everything.

- Now, wait, I got two
guys down at the station

that confessed to killing you.

- Know all about it.

- I got the money here that
they said they took from you.

- Come on up.

I heard you coming from a long way off.

I got you some cold beer.

No harm done.

I got a little love tap,

and I bet they got the
scare of their lives.

- I can't understand it.

First this haunted island bull,

a murder that doesn't happen.

Money, water, and blood on it.

I can't believe it.

We brought your possessions.

- Money's not everything.

- Well, it's all there, I
wish you'd count it for us.

- I'll count it later.

What's important to me
is my metal and bracelet.

I fished that girl out of the pond.

Occasionally she comes in to help me.

She calls herself Damballa.

Would you care to meet her?

(mysterious music)

- I see you have your metal back.

Hello, Lieutenant Harrigan.

How is your little boy?

I understand he was very sick,
but now he is getting better.

- Yes, he is better. Thank you.

The doctors didn't know
what was the matter,

but the old lady helped.

Do you know the old lady?

- Oh, yes.

Very well.

Sergeant Buck, I am sorry
to hear about your mother,

but of course she was 88.

- What do you make of all this?

I just damn can't believe it.

- A lot of things in these
swamps are unbelievable.

I guess we'll have to let
those other two nuts go.

- Yeah, that'll be better all around.

Those damn New Orleans
newspapers get hold of that,

we'll be laughed right out of the state.

- We better go. We got things to do.

Thank you very much for the beer.

- I can't believe it.

Murder that didn't happen.

I can't believe it.

I never seen anything like that.

- I don't want to hurt those people.

You know, that's very unlike me.

A year ago I would have killed them both.

- It's the effect the island had on you.

I am going to call them both back here.

- Why?

- There are some things that must be done.

Life is not something
to be taken for granted.

When one does bad, one
must be punished in kind.

- They want gold, give them gold.

Let the greedy ones left here.

The pirates, let them have
the gold of their peers.

(mysterious music)

- Old faithful servant.

With bits of their personal belongings,

fashion me three dolls of these people.

Louise, Max, and Earl.

And send them to me...

For I am going to make them rich

beyond their wildest beliefs.

I am going to give them the
pirate treasure of my island.

(dramatic music)

Go seek the voodoo woman!

Go seek the voodoo woman!

Go and seek the voodoo woman.

- You sent for me?

- Yes.

I'm going to give it to you,

the treasure of Jean Lafitte.

To you, and to Max, and to Earl.

The treasure, silver and gold.

The treasure of haunted
island, desired by everyone.

Here's a sample.

Take it.

And here's the map to guide you.

- But why?

Why are you giving it to us?

- Because it will bring me just reward.

- I don't want it.

- Do you know who this is?

- Is it me?

- Yes.

If you do not do as I
bid you, I'll fix you.

(tense music)

- Louise, what's wrong?

- Oh, my arm feels like someone's
sticking a knife into it.

- Louise!

Do my bidding.

- How come you think your
arm hurts so much, eh?

- Because, the voodoo lady.

She wants us to go to the
island to get the treasure.

- Well, tomorrow I'll get Earl,

he can row us out there,
and we'll dig it up.

(intense music)

Earl, bring the shovels.

(mysterious music)

Should be right there.

You hold it.

- I think we're hitting something here.

- There's some wood here.

Louise, I think that's it.

- Open it.

- We have to dig down
around it to get it out.

(mysterious music)

Well, maybe we can pull it out if we-

- Look, my end's coming up.

Grab the handle.

Grab the handle on the other side.

- Oh, that's heavy, yeah.

- I'll hold this, you get the handle.

- Come on, grab that, Louise.

Grab the handle.

Let's get it out, pull it out.

Come on...

Let's open it up and see what it is.

Oh...

- Max.

- Louise.

It's everything we ever wanted.

(laughing)

- Hurry, let's put in the
boat before someone sees us.

- She's right, let's go.

(Earl grunts)

(tense music)

Put it on the edge and
get in the other way.

Come on, let's get outta here.

- Yeah.

We're never gonna...

Let me get out and help him.

(tense music)

- Let's go!

(dramatic music)

You know, I think this
boat is getting more

in the water, yeah.

- [Louise] Max, throw the treasure over.

- [Max] No, the treasure stays.

- [Earl] Yeah, Max.

- Why's it rough out here
and calm on the shore?

Max, throw it! We'll all drown!

- [Max] I'm telling you,
this is our future, Louise!

No, we go down with it if we go down.

- I commit you to your destiny.

(dramatic music)

(coughing)

(intense music)

- [Woman] And you have come
to fulfill the prophecy.

- Yes. I have him here for your approval.

- I heard you when you called him back.

- And you approve?

(mysterious music)

I have brought him.

- From this cup, drink the juice

of the flower of forgetfulness,

and you may fulfill your destiny.

(tense music)

(fire blazes)

(tribal drum music)

(tense music)

- Well, Lieutenant.

We searched the entire island.

We couldn't find a single
thing, living or dead.

- You know...

I'm beginning to believe it.

(dramatic music)

(upbeat music)