NOTE: I’m out of town this weekend, so similar to what I did last year, this longer “double Feature” post works for both days and will allow me ample “get the hell out of LA” time.
This double feature weekend gives me the perfect opportunity to delve into two films from my childhood that I just loved. Neither one is a masterpiece, but both are just entertaining as shit. I love anything underwater. Even smaller underwater scenes in films are always the standout of the entire movie for me (Alien Resurrection comes to mind). But here, we’ve got two entire movies that take place underwater. Bonus! Yes, both are underwater horror films. Both feature a really cool underwater monster. And in fact, both were released in the same year, only two months apart! 1989 was definitely the year of the underwater opus, because not only did DeepStar Six come out in January, and Leviathan in March, but The Abyss also came out in August. Even though I don’t consider The Abyss a horror movie, that’s still a lot of underwater peril for one year. I was a kid in heaven. Man, I wish we had more underwater shit nowadays, but I digress. Let’s divide and conquer these two babies.
First, DeepStar Six. Here’s the first and only thing you really need to know about DeepStar Six. It was directed by Sean Cunningham, the same man who brought us the original Friday the 13th. The reason I say that is because DeepStar Six is basically an old school slasher film, only with a large underwater creature instead of a knife-wielding maniac. It has the same clichéd characters, the same kill ‘em one-by-one structure, and even some awesome moments of shocking gore. But guess what, the same reason we love those old school slashers, is why I love this flick. It’s just goofy and fun. There a few standout things in this movie. First, the centerpiece sequence (that the poster essentially spoils) is a pretty fantastic scene. It’s pretty much the first time we get a large view of the monster (that’s actually pretty good) and it’s just a pretty badass scene. Second, Miguel Ferrer, who is always a slimy weasel is especially weaselly here, and he’s so fun to watch. And lastly, enjoy your childhood memories as Greg Evigan from My Two Dads fame, and a host of other memorable 80’s actors grace your set, and pretty much all die. It’s silly gold. Enjoy.
Next, we have Leviathan. Leviathan is basically Alien, just underwater. So much of this movie basically rips off that film that at moments it’s downright shocking. But again, if you’re going to rip someone off, rip off from the best. And even though it is a total rip off, it’s a super gory, gruesome, slimy, and to me seriously entertaining ripoff. There are some some great actors here like Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Daniel Stern, and Ernie Hudson. The plot is actually interesting when you peel back the layers. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but let’s just say that Russians and genetic engineering are never a good mix. But the main reason to watch Leviathan for me has always been the incredible Stan Winston creature at the core of the movie. It mutates and grows throughout the film, always showing a different stage or aquatic trait. The final version of the creature, which even showcases the writhing absorbed faces of its victims, is truly a thing of beauty. If you’re looking for originality, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a solid, wet, dank, gooey creature feature, give Leviathan a spin. For any fan of practical FX, it’s a must see.
There you go. Enjoy your 1989 double underwater creature feature. See you on dry land in a few days.