Purchase Creatures from the Abyss (Widescream Edition) on DVD
ORIGINALLY POSTED 10/21/14
As you can see above, this was originally posted almost 2 years ago. This was one of the first reviews posted back in the early days of this site. If you’ve followed this site for some time, you may already know that I occasionally re-post older reviews. Sometimes, it’s so that newer readers can be aware of what we’ve done in the past. Normally, it’s because I don’t want to write anything that week.
So, here’s a re-write of a review I’ve always hated. While I honestly didn’t change much, there were a few lines that I deleted altogether. Nothing offensive or regretful. I just didn’t like the way I worded things. I still don’t feel this is a “strong” piece, but I also didn’t want to change too much so that it stayed relatively faithful to the original.
Yet Another Reason For Me To Never Eat Caviar
I was pretty confident about my decision when I first made the choice to review Creatures From the Abyss. Having seen the movie before, I knew just how batshit crazy it really was and thought to myself, “Hey, this should make for a pretty fun review!”. I sat down to watch the movie once again, making the notes that would later become the body of this review. I quickly realized that I had created quite the challenge for myself. Just how do you approach reviewing a movie this “over the top”? Where do I even begin?
After an eternity spent just staring at an empty piece of notebook paper, I realized that approaching this review in the same manner that I had approached my other reviews probably wasn’t going to work. There’s so much ridiculousness in the first 30 minutes alone that if I attempted to write this like I did my other reviews, the damned thing would be over 3,000 words long. No one wants to read that. Hell, I have a hard enough time convincing people to read the things I’ve already put out there. Screw it, let’s just start with the general plot synopsis.
The film begins as a group of young friends prepare to go rafting off the coast of Miami. In what I’m sure seemed like a funny idea at the time, the friend piloting the boat (“Mike”) revs off, leaving his friend, Bobby, on shore. Bobby is forced to swim after the boat, but in doing so, leaves the gas cans behind spilling out onto the beach sand. I think we all know that their being left on shore will be the catalyst for the coming events.
In a turn of events that will surprise no one, especially since I just told you what was going to happen, the group finds themselves out of gas and stranded at sea. In “true Italian style”, we then witness a series of quick-edit shots featuring a stranded yacht, as well as glimpses of some sort of fish creature terrorizing the occupants. I say “true Italian style” because, as is customary in a large percentage of Italian horror, none of it makes much sense at this point. Or ever.
One of the girls in the group, a bubble-headed blonde named Julie, starts panicking. She worries that they will be eaten by sharks. Her sister, Dorothy, assures her that those kinds of things only happen in movies. Movies like this one. Julie then bemoans about storms. Dorothy, years of sea travel obviously under her belt, informs her that it is summer and that storms just don’t happen in the summer. Dorothy might know a thing or two about sharks, but she don’t know shit about meteorology, for at that exact second, lightning cracks across the sky. The friends are then forced to paddle their way to safety while dealing with the rain and crashing waves flooding their small boat. Also, seeing as this is supposed to be set in Miami, it would seem that Dorothy has also never been to Florida before. It rains here every other damned day during the summer.
As the friends continue to drift along, the film cuts to even more scenes of mayhem and carnage aboard the wayward ship. The Scooby Gang soon come upon a boat adrift in the middle of the ocean and, despite the dead body that floats along the side of their boat once they find it, decide to board. By now, we know 3 things: A) we know that this is the same ship that we have been getting the quick glimpses of, 2) that this ship is home to some sort of biological laboratory, and D) that this was just a truly shitty idea.
The group searches the boat and soon stumble across the lab. They discover that something has escaped from a specimen containment tank. Bobby, not quite a card-carrying member of Mensa, finds a white powder and immediately assumes that the boat was used to process drugs. Hey, it’s Miami. Seems logical, but that would also mean that all of the different species of sea life contained in all of the tubes and tanks that litter the lab were just part of some highly elaborate cover story.
Naturally, his first reaction is to taste the powder. Bobby, not familiar with BC powder or anthrax, quickly believes the powder to be cocaine. As he does not immediately start redecorating the entire boat, it’s safe to say that it is not, in fact, actually cocaine.
So, here we have the basic set-up for what we, for lack of a better term, will call a “plot” . I’d like to point out that we are still within the first 25 minutes of the film’s running time. From here, Creatures unleashes a near rapid-fire barrage of marine mayhem.
As with the original version of this review, I’ve decided to point out some of the more “WTF?” moments Creatures has. In the original version of this review, I made a joke about mahjong. Did I mention that after almost 2 years, the original was among the least read reviews on the site? Yeah, there are reasons for that.
Here we go!!
*For whatever reason, the ship is set up like some bitchin’ swingers pad. There is a fully stocked bar. The bedrooms are awash in blue lighting. The shower talks “dirty” to you. I’m still not sure the point of that one.
*When “Dorothy” first sees the specimens in the ship’s lab, she remarks, “Those fish frighten me. They have an evil expression!“. I was not aware that fish were capable of emoting, but Dorothy was hanging with Jacques Cousteau back when I was still playing Fathom on my Atari 2600, so what do I know?
Fun Fact: I have actually never played Fathom for Atari 2600.
Oh. My. God. I left this joke in. And I still haven’t played Fathom.
*The sound made by a person being slapped was dubbed in. You’ll notice this when one of the characters gets fish-slapped.
*We get to see the guys towelling off from their showers in their room while the women dry off in theirs. Yes, there is the obligatory gratuitous nudity, but my immediate inquiry was if these people had showered together.
*The actress playing “Margareth”, Mike’s girlfriend, is incapable of more than one facial expression throughout the entire movie. Maybe she should learn how to express her emotions from those fish that Dorothy was so freaked out by.
*Even after finding the lab, the characters still think that it safe to cook the fish that they find in the ship’s galley refrigerator. That’s almost as bad as eating a hot dog that you found on the floor. Reviewer’s Note: I made this joke almost 2 years ago. I’m going to pay for it now.
*There are a few scenes containing dialog even though the actors clearly are not speaking. While the acting here is about as wooden as a ventriloquist’s dummy, you normally have to shove your hand up its ass to make one of those speak.
*The friends eventually find a survivor aboard the craft. It’s not until after this person begins moving and talking that one of the other characters says, “I think he’s alive!”
*A character vomits up what appears to be egg drop soup. Oh, and bugs. Those are included with the lunch combinations.
*A fish flies around attacking people. While it’s stated that this fish can live out of water, it’s never stated that it can fly. I guess that was implied.
*The ship halls are illuminated by statues of little men sporting massive erections that are actually lamps, the light bulb in place of their shrooms. Stroking it turns on the light. Seriously. I’m not bullshiting. Facials, however, may cause 3rd degree burns.
*During a sex scene, a character has his tongue ripped off. It then falls on the woman underneath and proceeds to lick her nipple. The woman has what I can only describe as “fish slime” fall onto her face, which she licks off in her throes of passion. It’s only when his eyeball falls into her mouth that she notices something is wrong. People usually notice something is wrong when I put my balls in their mouth too.
*There is a bizarre, whale-shaped clock in the ship’s main hall that just will not shut the fuck up. This is why I love Fudgie the Whale. He didn’t say a damned thing. And he was delicious too!
*Caviar bikini. Not delicious.
*The ship features an evacuation recording that questions the cast’s decision-making abilities. Ok, that was actually quite funny.
*More repeated explosions than Laserblast. If you’ve seen that movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it? Well, you really have no reason to watch Laserblast.
While a questionable number of people have been led to exclaim Troll 2 as the “best worst movie”, whatever the Hell that means, I am willing to wager that Creatures From the Abyss gives it a serious run for its crown. It’s every bit as dumb, poorly acted, clumsily written, and ludicrous as Troll 2, but with its gore, sex, language, and drug use, it is significantly more adult. Creatures from the Abyss is a prime example of the much maligned, much debated “so bad it’s good” moniker. It’s a very poorly made film with no real redeeming qualities. I can’t recommend it enough.