UP FROM THE DEPTHS (1979) Reviews of Roger Corman Jaws rip-off

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‘Your vacation is about to end !!!’
Up from the Depths is a 1979 American horror film directed by Charles B. Griffith (Doctor Heckyl and Mr. Hype) for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. It was co-written by Griffiths and Anne Dyer but credited to fictitious Alfred M. Sweeney.

Future special effects expert Chris Walas was brought in by Corman to shoot more horror footage because Griffith had filmed it more as a comedy. The soundtrack was one of the earliest by composer James Horner (Humanoids from the Deep; The Hand; Wolfen; Aliens).

It is similar to Jaws (1975), although it should be noted that this blockbuster is itself based on the premises of 1950s movies that spawned it such as Griffiths’ own aquatic terrors’ Attack of the Crab Monsters and Creature from the Haunted Sea.

Despite Up from the Depths apparently being a financial dud, Filipino producer Cirio H. Santiago remade it in 1987 as Demon of Paradise.

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The movie stars Sam Bottoms, Susanne Reed, Virgil Frye, Kedric Wolfe and Charles Howerton.

Plot:

The staff and vacationers at a first-class resort on the island of Maui in Hawaii are beginning to mysteriously disappear…

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A biologist believes that an underwater earthquake has caused a giant and very hungry dormant prehistoric fish to be released from his slumber. Voraciously the fish helps himself to a tourist buffet. Now it’s open season for the local fishermen to find the creature and kill it…

up from the depths 1979 fish monster

Behind-the-scenes image of the embarrassing-looking fish monster courtesy of Jess Griffith. This comedy creature was replaced by a scary shark-looking monster when Chris Walas filmed additional scenes.

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Reviews:

” …Charles B. Griffith directs with a nice leisurely (i.e. fairly inept) hand, figuring that if he follows the Jaws chalk marks while sneaking in hipster gags and soaking up the tropical charm, he can coast by on fumes. But his camera is so sloppily placed it seems like half the movie is going on in the background…” Acidemic

” …unispired plot apes Jaws far too closely to generate its own momentum. It’s most iconic line (which pretty much sums up the whole movie) is “Ahhh! Ahhh! It’s a monster fish!” Stars Sam Bottoms and Susanne Reed seem to be walking through their coookie cutter roles, motivated solely by a paycheck. Director Charles Griffith […] seems likewise to be walking through the job.” Cinema Head Cheese

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“The story is quite simple: it’s about a prehistoric shark tearing up tourists and ruining business for a hotel right by the water. Now while the film has some decent moments, overall it doesn’t take itself serious enough. It is very tongue in cheek with some corny dialogue which to me took away from what could have been a more serious effort about a shark-like mutant monster.” DVD Drive-In

” …the critter is a dinosaur/shark/whale thingamabob, but nothing in the movie compels the audience to exhaust much energy identifying the beast’s identity. The attack scenes are derivative and silly, and once the creature is finally shown, it looks like a pile of plastic junk that was left outside to melt in the sun. As for the perfunctory narrative, it’s the same old sh-t…” Every ’70s Movie

“There’s a couple of interesting plot elements in the movie, but most of it is an incompetent and incomprehensible mess. The best thing about this one is the poster.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

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“Up from the Depths is one of those horror films that leaves you scratching your head in confusion as the credits roll, not because of some sort of philosophical ending but because you just can’t imagine anyone involved meant for it to be taken seriously on any level. But its eminently quotable quality makes it well worth a watch, preferably with liquor in hand.” Horror Home Room 

“The big cast probably has you thinking that there’s plenty of fodder for the beast, and you’d be half-right. A lot of people get chewed up, but don’t get too excited. Most of the attack scenes are incoherent and are pretty much the equivalent of filming red food coloring in a bathtub.” Oh, the Horror!

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“Whenever the predator strikes, it’s a muddled mish-mosh of shots of oncoming teeth, hunks of meat being shaken back and forth underwater, and the obligatory red dye emptying into the deep, ‘whenever’ in this instance meaning ‘every single goddamned time'” Wopsploitation

Choice dialogue:
“Don’t be so asinine, Rachel!”

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