Monday, March 24, 2014

1PanelReview Lords of the Deep

In 1989, 5 (no less!) horror films taking place underwater and seeing a crew face some supernatural danger while testing the strength of their teams were released simultaneously, one after the other.

These films were in theatrical release order: DeepStar Six, Leviathan, Lords of the Deep, The Evil Below and finally The Abyss.

This is one of them.

What it is: Lords of the Deep

Which is: A scifi horror B-movie
Directed by: Mary Ann Fisher 
Year: 1989

Lords of the Deep, released in April '89, is a science-fiction/horror film directed by a certain Mary Ann Fisher which it seems impossible to find anything about 'round the web. A shadow director? Probably. It's actually a Roger Corman production, released by Concorde Pictures. The films starts Bradford Dillman and Priscilla Barnes and follows a crew in underater labs who discover some alien creatures with a message for the human race...

What's Good about it: Don't let that pitch fool you. Despite a slight horror tone, this isn't that kind of horror film. In fact it's more of a cheap Close Encounters of the Third Kind knockoff , which means compared to the rest of the films released around the same time this isn't yet another carbon-copy of the same pitch. Which is nice. It's sort of an E.T. underwater, with an environmental message.
The film stars Bradford Dillman, the same guy from Piranha (1978)!
Also, the film claims to be made by the same crew behind the special effects of Alien, so that has to count for something...

What's Bad about it: It's a sort of an E.T. underwater, with an environmental message....
There's no redeeming qualities about it.
Don't let the kickass posters at the time or the current DVD cover art fool you. It never fulfill any expectations you'd have.
Roger Corman was known for his cheap tie-in films and exploitation flicks (think The Asylum of way back when). But sadly this Lords of the Deep never reach any potential shown in Corman's other films...
Our story takes place in the future, the year 2020. Mankind has ruined the planet Earth and they have since been forced to live in colonies underwater. We meet this scientist named Claire (Priscilla Barnes). She was trying to study some mysterious white goo (which we never find out where found actually...) as a new crew is coming to replace them in the next shift. Some earthquakes have been shaking the foundations. A diver never comes back, but they find his suit full of the same white stuff. It evolves (??) into an alien creature!!
After that the rocky premise gets thrown out of the window as the movie only gets increasingly more stupid...
So much potential at first, but it never amounts up to anything...
There's also a shady organization (featuring a cameo by Roger Corman himself!) named Martel Corporation and silly scifi futuristic suits that look more like pajamas than anything else really.
The environmental message is kind of lost amongst such a bad movie...
Awful silly B-movie acting.
Few silly cheap sets. My favorite bit's probably the way doors have this annoying step right in the middle.. sadly I have to confirm you nobody tripped over it during the entire course of the film... What a shame!
Also there's a rat that apparently found his way deep beneath the ocean into the underwater station! How did it even get there?!

Overall: What a ripoff! 

Now this is what I call the bottom of the list so far...

A nonsensical plot that goes nowhere and plotholes deeper than the bottom of the ocean. Random scenes following one another. 

A slow boring awfully-paced flick. Never had a ~1:10 Hour flick felt like a dozen hours before...

Roger Corman got the occasion to revamp Lords Of The Deep and most of its footage in Unknown Origin in 1995. It's a very similar film about our planet that got polluted - again! - now, forcing people to living underground, deep beneath the ocean in labs. Like other cheesy B-grade movies it is full of recycled material. The same premise allow for a lot reused shots, mostly the underwater exterior shots of the installations or submarine here and there. What is strange is that it actually worked much better the second time around. Taking out most of Lords Of The Deep problems and making it into an actual much better movie out of it.  With the downer pacifict alien creatures trying to warn us and save our planet taken out of the film and replaced for parasites killing people. They find this parasite in a Russian underwater location nearby. Mmmh.. I wonder where I saw this before (besides in The Thing, that is..). Oh, that's right. *cough* Leviathan *cough*
I give it: 1.5 / 3 Quacks!
[How does my Rating System work?]

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