Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bottom feeder: DeepStar Six(1989)

Just last night I managed to watch DeepStar Six(1989) on IFC(Independent Film Channel), nothing admittedly remarkable about this BUT the movie was presented in its original 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio.

I like a lot of sci-fi and horror movies which are made on a budget. Even a movie buff like me gets tired of watching the large(er) budget, special effects laden extravaganzas. One way I get my "budget" movie fix is by watching sci-fi movies from the 70's and 80's that were made with smaller budgets but also with directors who clearly put every effort possible into creating an entertaining film. DeepStar Six is one of those films, for me anyway. I can remember first watching this movie when it released to theaters way back in January, 1989. I saw it at the "Midtown 8" theater in midtown Atlanta(just north of the downtown area). The year 1989 saw two other underwater sci-fi movies of note: The Abyss, directed by James Cameron as well as Leviathan, directed by George P. Cosmatos. I like all three.

In DeepStar Six, directed by Sean S. Cunningham(who also directed 1980's Friday The 13th), a team of scientists and other technicians working on a U.S. Navy funded ballistic missile site on the sea floor discover a huge cavern under what is the planned installation site for the nuclear missiles. The lead scientist orders the use of explosives to blow up the sea floor above the large cavern, believing the cave in and resulting debris caused by the controlled blast will sufficiently "fill in" the cavern enough to make the missile sled install site stable. The explosion, however causes a large rupture in the sea floor, releasing a large and hostile arthropod which attacks the "DeepStar" facilities, forcing those working in these underwater structures to fight for their lives a mile below the surface of the ocean.

The "arthropod" is, as best I can describe, a creature that looks to be a mutant crab with large claws and pincers and an enormous jaw that is, I think the most menacing quality of the hostile marine monster. The creature has the ability to roar, obviously meant to add more menace to the monster despite the absurdity of any kind of crustacean or marine arthropod being able to roar like a land animal of some kind.

The score, by Harry Manfredini, is quite good and I like the cast overall which includes Greg Evigan, Taurean Blacque, Thom Bray, Nia Peeples, Elya Baskin, Cindy Pickett, Matt McCoy and Miguel Ferrer. Ferrer's character "Schneider" is the most interesting character in this movie: a nervous, jittery, humorless and generally insecure fellow who manages to get under everyone's elses skin.

The monster isn't revealed until after about an hour into this movie which I like. As to the overall design of the monster I'm not exactly overwhelmed by it but the creature overall serves adequately as an antagonist and main threat in this movie.

Much of DeepStar Six is fairly predictable action and acting but also should keep any sci-fi fan's attention for an hour and a half. Movies like this from the 70's and 80's have an admittedly distinct charm for me and for that reason I enjoy watching them on DVD from time to time.

I own the Artisan Home Video R1 DVD release of DeepStar Six(1989) but it's a disappointing DVD release as the movie is presented in a cropped, "pan 'n scan" 1:33.1 full frame picture. No extras either. There is a German, R2 DVD that features this movie in its original widescreen aspect ratio(w/extras) but it's in German langguage with an English subtitle option. Hopefully this film gets a Blu Ray release or at the very least a better R1 DVD release.

A trailer:

To buy the R1 DVD of DeepStar Six(1989) at Amazon click the link: DEEPSTAR SIX R1 DVD