Wednesday, October 22, 2014



Lensed in 1973, starring Ben Gazzara, Ernest Borgnine and Yvette Mimieux, the story concerns an ultra-modern undersea Shaved Monkey invasion of our home, fought off by OUR OPERATIVES in a way that makes my two-chambered heart swell with hope.  An experimental undersea habitat for THEM is shaken loose from its moorings by an earthquake.  (ENGINEERED BY WHOM, YOU ASK?)  A regular submarine fails to find the dislodged Oceanlab, as they call it, and with only a couple of days of air left in the tin can (assuming it hasn't been crushed beyond recognition), they call in the newly-refitted Neptune, an ultra-modern submersible that can go where the bigger sub couldn't.  THE CLOCK IS TICKING.  WILL ANYONE SURVIVE?


>> Before it is tossed into an ocean trench by the quake, the Oceanlab is surrounded by a peculiar grid of pipes that is apparently supposed to mark off some sort of undersea gardening project.  Borgnine even talks in this one about selling undersea real estate.  Shudder!

>> It is hard to see the danger in this story at any point, when it comes to endangering the landscum, that is.  While the topographical map on board the Triton, the surface ship keeping an eye on things, shows the lab teetering on top of a mountain that overlooks a bottomless deep-sea trench, when you see the actual set they used, the Oceanlab is placed on a flat and featureless plain with MORE OF THE SAME around it as far as the camera can see.  What does the lab fall off of...and into?

>> The danger to US is totally ignored.  This is a Shaved Monkey movie filmed for Shaved Monkey movie patrons.

>>  Magically, the large sub and then the Neptune both find the invisible trench and go into it as far as they can.  Even more magically, they find traces of the Oceanlab.  Far more magically, in my opinion, no matter what the unprecedented depth of the exploration, divers can just leave the Neptune whenever they want, and swim around without being crushed like so many beercans under the weight of a falling bank building.  AMAZING!

>> At the bottom of the trench, what do they find?  US.  ENLARGED.  This is where the movie gets really hysterical.  After forking over Scrod knows how many dollars to make sets like nothing seen before in moviedom -- the artificial undersea lab, the sub, the ultra-high-tech submersible, you name it -- all they can manage for the deep-trench scenes is having a Matchbox-sized toy Neptune travel around inside a good-sized saltwater aquarium stoked with the most familiar and decorative ocean operatives you'd see in any pet store.  This is supposed to be TERRIFYING.  If a Catfish could laugh...

>> I really hated the ending of this movie, frankly.  Not enough of the humans were killed, in NONE of the right ways except for the one guy at the very end, and what did the humans learn?  I DON'T KNOW.  Nobody said ANYTHING about whether they thought it was a good idea to keep invading and farming the ocean floor.

>>  But the sight of all those colossal Eels converging on the cowering divers?  Good stuff, baby.  The Crab operative, gnashing her mandibles in rage as she shoves the submersible across the sand?  BEAUTIFUL.  The assorted immense finfish, who for some reason terrified the explorers more than anything else in this movie, TOTALLY IGNORING THE SHAVED MONKEYS IN THEIR TIN CAN?  Priceless.

>> By the way, did anyone but ME and THEE notice the misplaced giant Goldfish gulped down by the giant Lionfish?  The only Sacred Scribe of Dagon's Will I know who even addressed the possibility of fresh- and salt-water fish comingling in this egregious manner is, of course, Lovecraft, and he was all about the infernal blending of incompatible races.  Gazzara and Borgnine didn't bat an eye when they saw this happen in their viewscreen.  Incredible!

>> Similarly, nobody appears to have noticed the prescient quality of this entire film.  Someone finally explores a deep-ocean trench on film, and what do they find?  ALMOST EXACTLY WHAT THEY FOUND IN REAL LIFE when they tried it for real:  immense sea life (no Goldfish, sorry) who treated them as THE IRRELEVANCIES THEY ARE.

>> I especially liked the trailers and ads I found in the disc extras.  "Man is the smallest thing in the ocean," they all said, in all the different versions.  YEAH, BABY.  YOU ARE.  AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT.


Anonymous Doctor Kaiju said...


11:19 PM  
Blogger Cliffie, The Lemming Girl said...

And nobody even commented on the giant Goldfish. What was it doing down there at all?

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Doctor Kaiju said...

The goldfish I thought was an "alfonsino." Should I make a correction at KM?

I've tried to watch this movie twice now, but the void has beckoned quickly after starting the film and I slip into deep unconsciousness. I'm afraid if I try to watch the film again I may die.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Cliffie, The Lemming Girl said...

There were several alfonsinos in the movie of course, but the fish eaten by the Lionfish was definitely a goldy. No need to take the risk of watching it again; you can trust me on this.

12:07 PM  

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