Tuesday, December 27, 2011


There's NOTHING NOT TO LIKE about this 1973 epic spectacular, starring Patrick Wayne, Leigh Christian and Sid Haig. It combines the best features of Piranha, your favorite swords-and-sandals movie, Creature From The Haunted Sea and a surprise trip to HP Lovecraft's Fiji islands. RECRUITING GOLD, ladies! Everyone who wants to draw humans into the sea, or anyone who just likes crappy movies full of people wearing bellbottoms, should have a copy of this in her home film library...and let me specially thank the Snakehead Territory operative who made sure this item made it into my hot little fins in time for Squidmas. There was a little something extra in THAT Squidmas stocking, you may be sure.

Wait, that paragraph probably makes no sense, does it? LET ME EXPLAIN. This movie is meant to be an adventure thriller, with an assortment of lowlife gamblers and pimps hoping to find the secret Oyster beds that yield up what they call "Tuscarora pearls." The cast of characters seems to be based in the Phillipines, judging by the fact that the locals all look Asiatic in a surfer-dude kind of way, but they all have names like Manuel and Pepe. Everyone on this island hangs out in brothels and gambling dens with what resemble wealthy American ex-pats. The outfits are like time travel for me, taking me back to my years as a bipedal travel agent who had NO IDEA SHE WAS TURNING INTO A CATFISH. But that's another story. Suffice to say this film is an orgy of polyester leisure suits, elaborately modified beehive updos, halter tops, great big high-waisted bellbottoms, and those loud, shiny shirts men used to wear when they were going out nightclubbing in the '70s. The guy who owns the boat acquires an unwanted extra passenger in the form of -- I'm not sure. Is she an anthropologist? She believes that finding the Tuscarora pearls is the key to finding a lost tribe, anyway, and that's what SHE wants to study.

So they follow the directions of a local pearl distributor to this island, inhabited by these excellent swimmers with great big ping-pong-ball, or maybe even baseball, eyes that never blink. In every other respect they are unmistakably Phillipino. They are ruled by a blue-eyed Greek guy named Nereus and his blonde daughter, Syrene -- get it? Get it!? Sure enough, the anthropologist starts finding signs that they are not Asiatic at all, but Minoan, explaining that the Minoans lived on an island in the Mediterranean that sank under the sea centuries ago. Get it? Huh? Atlantis?

The boat owner wants to leave as soon as he can, partly because Syrene is warm for his form and he wants nothing to do with her. The rest of the pearl-diving gang wants to lay waste the native village and strip the area of every Oyster. But the natives are getting restless. WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?


>> I have to say, the swimming scenes are pretty convincing when you consider the source. Syrene and the fish-eyed natives seem able to hold their breath practically forever, and they do it without resorting to the constant cutting that usually reveals that the actor is making his or her way to a hidden air hose.

>> I love, love, LOVE the fact that tucked away on a Pacific island is a pool stocked with what the pearl-divers instantly recognize as "Cannibal Fish" -- obviously Piranhas. Wait, guys -- if they were cannibals, wouldn't they just eat EACH OTHER?

>> Earlier I made a reference to the Roger Corman classic, Creature From The Haunted Sea. Well, the anthropologist character is the one who reminded me of that fine film, because she shares a special power with the characters in Haunted Sea that I wish I had myself. Despite the fact that she shows up in a taxi with just the clothes on her back as the boat is leaving for the secret island, she continues to appear in each scene in a spanking-new, brand-clean, freshly-pressed new outfit. Her hair is always gelled and coiffed to perfection. In one memorable scene -- the confrontation with Nereus at the fish people's temple -- she walks in wearing taupe bellbottoms, and walks out a minute later wearing black ones. Pretty impressive!

>> Especially charming is the fact that when a pearl-diving character is dragged into the deep and his air hose cut by the fish people, NOBODY EVER MENTIONS HIM AGAIN. Nobody says "whatever happened to Frank, anyway?" He never washes up dead on the beach, either, nor any scrap of neoprene from his frogman suit. That at least is realistic. WE LIKE TO LEAVE NO TRACES.

>> One curious feature of this movie -- to my knowledge not present in any other film of its era -- is the slang. They keep using the phrase "ripped off" to mean "killed." At one point Sid Haig falls into a pit of terrifying killer Crabs and screams that that Crabs "tried to rip me off, man!" Surely they weren't digging in his pockets looking for cash!

>> Please note that the fish people are ruled by -- chuckle -- a man. Like we'd ever let THAT happen.

>> Please note that when Syrene chooses Vic Mathias as her mate, he wants nothing to do with her. Like we'd ever let THAT happen,either.

>> Please note that the anthropologist "rips off" Syrene in her own territory -- the water. Like we'd ever let THAT happen on this planet!

>> As usual, the humans involved TOTALLY MISAPPREHEND the situation from start to finish, the saving grace of the film and the one that ensures -- here as in real life -- that OUR SECRETS ARE SAFE. Luckily, there's an anthropologist on the expedition to help with that, stating her bizarre belief that once Syrene gets "ripped off," I mean killed, the entire tribe is doomed to die with her. LEAVE IT TO A HUMAN SCIENTIST TO COME UP WITH THAT ONE.

There are so many great moments in here, I do not want to spoil the movie for you listing out every one of them. Let's leave it at that.

It's a great movie. You'll love it!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sharktacular Squidmas Gift Available Now At Wireless!

I want my ardent readers to notice that in silhouette, this Shark chapeau looks exactly like one of those blasted Santa hats with the elf ears attached. BUT THIS BABY CAN BE WORN YEAR-ROUND, FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE ADULT SIZE: http://www.thewirelesscatalog.com/cgi-bin/hazel.cgi?action=DETAIL&ITEM=VL4606



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A Squidmas Gift That Keeps On Giving!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

...Or Even This!

Now, normally I would NEVER recommend a toy that builds hand-eye coordination. HAND-EYE COORDINATION IS STRICTLY FOR NAKED APES. But these SHARK JACKS are so very piscatorial, I decided, hey -- why not? This is simply a Shark version of the ancient children's game -- on a single bounce of the ocean-colored ball you have to pick up as many Sharks as you can with one hand, then catch the ball before it hits the ground...with the same hand.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Add THIS To Your Squidmas Shopping List!

Yes, it's finally here! A remote-controlled, helium-filled KILLER SHARK your kids can fly around the house all year 'round! The Air Swimmer costs $49.99 and also comes in a Clownfish version. GREAT RECRUITING TOOL, LADIES!

(Helium not included.)

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