Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Be Kind, Rewind: The VHS Reviews ~ Devilfish (1984)

a.k.a. Shark: Rosso nell'oceano
"Sink Your Teeth Into Pure Terror"

Synopsis: Many questions arise when bodies begin to wash ashore along the Florida coast. Since the marks on the corpses don't lead to any known animal, scientist Dr. Stella Dickens (Valentine Monnier) suspects it's the work of an unknown life form and strives to catch it alive. It turns out, a group of scientists at the underwater-study institute have genetically created the 40 foot creature as a bio-weapon and it's been designed to reproduce by asexual means. She soon finds out that the company she works for is responsible and will stop at nothing to keep their secret from getting out.

My Thoughts: Originally titled 'Shark: Rosso nell'oceano' or 'Shark: Red on the Ocean', this long lost 'Jaws' rip-off from Lamberto Bava is a bit of a mess. I had no problem with the plot and the acting seemed passable, though it's really hard to tell with these English-dubbed Italian movies. The main thing that got under my skin was the terrible editing, something I have never noticed in other Bava films. I can only hope that this was just some bad American edit and the original film isn't as choppy. After all, different cuts of the film have been released in several countries under dozens of titles, such as 'Monster Shark' in Germany, 'Devouring Waves' in the U.K. and 'Jaws Attack 2' in Japan.

In addition to the crappy editing, the scenes with the 'Devilfish' were not convincing at all. Actually, all of the fish scenes were totally cheesy (and not in a good way). Bava and his crew obviously had no idea how to shoot underwater, though I did enjoy some of the out of the water gore effects.

One of those most interesting things about watching this movie was picking out all of the stuff that has been copied (or stolen) from it in recent years. The obvious one is the creature itself. It's the f%#kin' Sharktopus! Come on Bava, sue those motherf%#kers. Shit, I would. You know come to think of it, just about every movie that the Sci-Fi channel makes is based on this plot. The other noticeable thing was a few of the kills were lifted by Alexandre Aja for his 2010 'Piranha' reboot, which would have been a nice tribute if anybody even remembered this film.

My Rating: 4 / 10

Bava followed up this forgettable killer fish flick with one of the greatest horror films of all-time, 'Demons'. You can go ahead an argue that fact, but you'd be wrong don't bother. Because he made 'Demons' (and even 'Demons 2', for that matter), we'll forgive him for this one.

I'd probably say unless you're really into those Sci-Fi channel killer fish movies, you should skip it. I would suggest watching anything else he put out in the 80's, like maybe 'A Blade in the Dark' or 'Delirium'. Plus, it's not available on DVD and used VHS copies are going for over $15 on amazon. If you're just looking for a laugh, check out the MST3K version on Netflix instant.

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