1994 – Not Rated – Shriek Show
Starring Clay Rogers, Michael Bon, Sharon Twomey – Directed by Massimiliano Cerchi
Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? I honestly don’t know. I’m completely dumbfounded, like… my brain is trying to reboot. You know, I’ve been watching horror and all kinds of exploitation movies since I was a kid and it’s nice to know that a movie like Creatures From the Abyss can come along and make me say, “What the f**k is this?” Let’s be honest, Italy has made some of the goofiest movies mankind has to offer. Hundreds of years from now after humans have recolonized on a distant planet and are traveling to distant planets to study life from the past, they will stumble upon Earth, dig up this relic and think, “Wow, people in the past were dumb.” I could babble on in complete confusion, but I would only be going in circles, so let’s just start this rodeo.
Five friends frolic and play grab-arse on a Miami beach (because if Italians can’t film in New York, they film in Florida) in front of one of the worst blue-screen stop-motion effects ever. It’s nice that right out the gates the movie is setting the bar that low, as to crush all expectations that you would be seeing anything good. As if it’s saying, “Look pal, this is what you’re in for.” It’s a metaphor for “Abandon hope, ye who enter here.” While this crew of five mismatched dimwits go rafting in a lifeboat with no destination, somewhere else a crew of unknown old guys aboard a yacht are being killed by unknown creatures. So that’s your movie so far; a group of unknown kids are headed somewhere we don’t know to do something, meanwhile a group of unknown old guys somewhere else are being killed by something we don’t see for some unknown reason. That’s a good way to include your audience… by not including them in on anything at all. Well they can’t keep us in the dark forever, so let’s continue.
It doesn’t take long for the uncontrollable forces of nature to want these teens dead. Caught in the middle of a storm, drifting in the middle of the ocean, they just so happen to bump into that same yacht and take refuge aboard. But this yacht must be owned by the mad scientists from Resident Evil, seeing as the first thing they walk into is a laboratory and in case you aren’t sure it’s a laboratory, the dweeb of the bunch, Mike (who is also unfortunately our hero), will point it out for you, “It’s a lab!” And don’t worry, he’ll point out many more things, since a rule of bad filmmaking is, ‘if your characters are stupid, your audience is stupider.’ Seriously, this guy makes Nick from Time Chasers look macho and bright. While they are piddling about, something with a wide angle lens is keeping a close eyes on them… very close. So close that it’s completely surprising nobody every sees it! Whatever it is.
They go about the ship, completely ransacking the place for new clothes without a second thought that it may belong to someone or they could intruding on someone’s ship… regardless if nobody is actually there (it’s not the point, dammit!). I may as well point this out now, but every time they walk in the main hallway, you’ll hear an ungodly, off pitched whale noise followed by a child like voice announcing the time from some stupid fish-clock. Oh, and it’s not just two or three times you hear this thing… oh no, they constantly walk by it. All. The. Time. Get used to hearing it ringing in the back of brain. It’s never going away.
But hey ladies, the men have been drifting in sea all day, so while we sit on these cozy sofas, how about you head into the kitchen and don’t come back until you’ve cooked something up, huh? I’m not saying that to be sexist, that’s kinda what happens. Two of the girls, one of which is Mike’s girlfriend, Margaret, go into the kitchen and cook up some fish, while Bobby the nitwit, lamebrain, dingbat, loudmouth or any other insulting way to call someone a neanderthal that I can think of, guzzles down brandy like it’s Capri Sun and sexually assaults Julie. Oh, sorry it’s not sexual assaulting when she finds his horrendous Elvis impersonation charming and giggles while saying, “no.” Meanwhile in the kitchen, the fish that’s being cooked catches ablaze and I don’t mean it catches fire… this thing sends flames shooting up in the air several feet and the fish oozes and gurgles green goo. Eh, Bobby will probably eat it.
I hope these kids like their fish really well done. Bobby rams it into his face, belching while he chugs more liquor, clearly proving that men evolved from apes and Dorothy becomes ill, most likely in a combination of the ooze squirting fish and Bobby’s natural funk. She vomits up what looks like milk and egg yolk, followed by beetles to make it one of the most disgusting vomit scenes ever captured on celluloid. Suddenly a crash catches their attention, forcing the guys to investigate. Naturally, Bobby does that thing where he goes ahead, Mike calls his name, then Bobby jumps out and scares him. You know, that same shtick Ash and Scotty play in Evil Dead. Well much to their surprise, someone is alive (remember, Mike will remind you, so don’t worry) and it’s one of the scientists from the earlier cuts! Throughout the pretty much the remainder of the film, he’s in a catatonic like state, but I think that he’s in shock from being in this movie.
What were those scientists doing here? Mike finds his answers back at the lab, where he finds that these scientists found prehistoric fish and the fish broke loose, killed the scientists and blah, blah, blah, when suddenly they are attacked by said prehistoric fish! Good thing these fish can swim through air! Seriously, they do! Mike goes Margot Kidder level of crazy and grinds the fish in a meat grinder and smashes up the lab for good measure, while Bobby stands around with his jaw hanging open. Somewhere in this part of the movie, Margaret tells Mike she is pregnant and wants to get married. Subtle. Mike, with his new knowledge of the crew of this ship, questions the scientist, “How long have you been f***ing fish?” No disgust, no emotion, not even a follow up question. Just lays it out there.
But would you believe me if I told you the movie hasn’t even gotten ridiculous yet?
Upon reading some notes, Mike learns that it isn’t the fish being primordial that causes them to be violent, but from radioactive plankton. You see, earlier Bobby found bags and bags of what he thought was cocaine and was super excited about it. Turns out, it was the aforementioned radioactive plankton that turns people into horny mutant fish creatures…
I’m gonna give you a second while that sinks in.
You good? Ok, anyway, Bobby finally talks Julie into sleeping with him, because it’s been awhile since we’ve seen boobs and since Bobby has done something to make you hate human beings. I guess several dozen ‘no’s’ mean ‘yes.’ During this, the armpit of sex scenes, Bobby begins to transform into a giant fish monster, to which Julie pretty much doesn’t notice until Bobby’s eyeballs pop out of his skull and into her mouth (you know, I was gonna make a balls in mouth joke, but this movie is crass enough, so I’m gonna take the high road). You have to know your career has hit a lower point than Courtney Love’s when you direct a giant fish monster thrusting and oozing all over a naked woman and in her mouth. I don’t think fans of tentacle porn would find this erotic. Margaret sees this and runs to get Mike, because if there is anyone that can handle that situation, it’s definitely Mike. However, Julie doesn’t remember anything that happened and Bobby opens the door, looking like his disgusting self (I prefer the mutated-monster-fish Bobby). What in tarnation is going on around here?
If the movie hasn’t repulsed you yet and killed your will to live, give it a few more moments. Soon, Julie begins having cramps and punches her self repeatedly in the stomach, because that’s what doctors recommend you should do for abdominal pain. Then Julie begins to “lay eggs,” which looks like caviar and egg white or melted icecream with crushed up Oreo’s pouring from her… you get the idea. Mike and Margaret finally realize that the ship isn’t so safe after all and that they should grab the scientist (that Mike has occasionally been nursing back to health by feeding him hard booze, because that’s what an unstable mind needs) and get out of dodge. However it won’t be that easy. At least not for people of this caliber of stupid.
The alarm is blaring and THAT STUPID, F***ING FISH CLOCK WON’T SHUTUP! Pouring gas all over the ship, Mike’s ready to blow that puppy sky high, when mutated-fish-monster-Bobby attacks him. Mike manages to wet his pants and flee, bumping into Margaret. While trying to escape from the ship with the doctor, Margaret begins to feel ill and feels something changing inside her. It’s a good thing she is pregnant and she and Mike are getting married, so there is no way anything bad could happen… But as she begins to change, she does the ballsiest things anyone has done in this movie; armed with a spear gun, she points it at her face and fires, freeing Mike from the horrible clutches of marriage. Maybe he and the doc can get a sweet bachelor’s pad.
Suddenly the super-duper-monster-fish-destroyer-Bobby shows up for the final boss fight, but unfortunately for him, his weakness is crazy, male nourished, drunk scientists, as the scientist plunges a syringe (earlier he made some cocktail in the syringe) killing the creature as the boat explodes and Mike survives… or does he?! Do you really care? Do you really want a sequel?
That was truly… amazing. Wow, I mean, movies don’t get more entertaining than that. It’s a movie that makes Devil Fish look like Jaws. This plot is so, for lack of a better word, stupid, that they had to write even more stupid characters for their plot to seem intelligent. Which is a good segway into the dialogue of this movie. When Mike isn’t pointing out exactly what’s in front of you (again reinforcing that the plot is stupid, so the characters have to be more stupid, so therefor the audience must be incredibly stupid) and Bobby isn’t replusing you with every word farted out of his mouth hole, the screen is littered with revolting, yet incredibly cheap looking special effects that are dripping and oozing all kinds of goo. These are some of the silliest stop motion and animatronic creatures you will ever see. All of these stomach turning effects are filmed up close with wide angle lenses, as are the characters reactions. You thought Bobby was gross enough with food and offal smeared all over his face? Wait til you see it like it’s an inch from your face. Then watch as his face melts apart and he sweats as he heaves and thrusts while doing the nasty. Think about this jackhole procreating. Barf bags not included, but should be.
I don’t know why this exact thought is coming into my brain, but I want to see Andrew W.K. smash a brick into Bobby’s oily, stupid smirking face. Thankfully we do get a break from Bobby’s irritable self and the girls show off their gazongas, grabbing them and commenting that it’s time to get a new bra. At least the director was smart enough to realize he was going to lose the male audience if he didn’t throw in obligatory breast shots every so often. In between those money shots, the film could have gotten boring, but luckily an incompetent writer and director makes for some of the best and cheesiest dialogue. Someone, somewhere in this movie actually says, “They frighten me… they have an evil expression,” when commenting on the fish. It goes beyond over the top ridiculous, that you would swear whoever was atrociously dubbing them were just making stuff up. Like they just made the plot up as they went along, but if that’s the case, I would believe it more than someone was actually paid to write this. So even when nothing is happening, you’re still entranced by whatever they are talking about. It’s more than watching a collective group of numbskulls stammer and try to figure out a mystery that the Scooby Gang could’ve solved in their sleep, it’s… I don’t know how to describe it other than “magnificent.”
This is one of those movies that should have become infamously “so bad, it’s good,” like The Room or Troll 2, but since it’s only been put out by Shriek Show in 2007 in the Mutant Monsters Triple Feature pack (along with The Being and The Dark), I don’t think it’s had much luck in the way of marketing, which is a shame, although that triple pack and the movie individually are widely available at a good price. With a little more push, this could have been seen by a wider audience and finally achieved that cult status it deserves or maybe it’s a good thing that it sunk to the bottom of the sea of bad movies, waiting to be discovered by cinephiles with love for the bad and the obscure. Time will tell.
The Lost Highway‘s secret lab is in the back of a Long John Silver’s.