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IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Robert Gordon

Starring:
Kenneth Tobey
Faith Domergue
Donald Curtis

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A monster threatens to attack San Francisco, leaving a group of scientists and an atomic sub to save the day.
Is it good movie?
I love movies from the 1950ís. Thereís something about the wholesomeness of the era, the ďah shucksĒ attitude and innocence that creates a euphoric vibe unequaled in any other decade. And with a movie like It Came From Beneath the Sea, it represents everything from the period, from sex, to subs, to unknown monsters, to new atomic age. Now one could analyze the hell out of this thing. After all, this occurred during the height of the Cold War, released in 1955. The mystery monster could be the Soviets, the unseen force ready for attack. But this isnít an analytical review. Is the thing any good?

It Came From Beneath the Sea is a pseudo documentary, beginning with a classic warning: ďFor centuries the mind of man has learned comparatively little of the mysteries in the heavens above Ė or in the seas below. Since the coming of the atomic age, manís knowledge has so increased that any upheaval of nature would not be beyond his belief.Ē From here, the movie tricks viewers, leading to belief itís about submarines. Itís hard not to screw up a sub movie with its built-in tension through an inability to see anything beyond the walls and tight quarters. At this time, the nuclear sub was state of the art; they werenít even sure what radiation would do. Anyway, something -- a blob on the sonar -- attacks the sub in a gripping scene, but then the movie slows to a lethal pace as it moves to a lab where scientists investigate what attacked the sub. The low budget kicks in here as the lab consists of fish tanks, gold fish, an octopus and black rubber gloves. Wow. From here, thereís an unnecessary love story and a lot of talking, all filler until the monster attacks and legendary Ray Harryhausenís animation takes over the show. Thatís about all anyone needs to know about the plot. Honestly.

The acting seems adequate for a B feature. The romance dances around sex as if itís the bubonic plague. None of that matters anyway, because letís be honest, the real attraction to It Came From Beneath the Sea comes from Harryhausen, the king of all effects experts who was behind Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans to name a few. His stop motion animation is the only reason to watch this, with wonderful sequences of a giant octopus terrorizing San Francisco, even destroying part of the Golden Gate Bridge. No one did work like Harryhausen, and the fact itís his name on the feature shows his impact. Name another effects man who gets top billing. Go on. Try. Good luck.
Video / Audio
Video: A little grainy, but still looks good in 1.85:1 widescreen. Plus, choose between black or white or never-before-seen color!

Audio: Believe it or not, itís in 5.1 Dolby Digital.
The Extras
Audio Commentary: Ray Harryhausen, along with Randall William Cook, John Bruno and Arnold Kunert, chime in with an informative track. Itís great for anyone who loves history, especially Harryhausen whoís a wealth of info on every aspect of film.

Remembering It Came From Beneath the Sea: 21 minutes worth of interviews with Harryhausen as he recalls memories from the film. I always love the history of film, and heís a pretty good storyteller.

Tim Burton Sits Down with Harryhausen: What more could a B movie fan ask for? Burton interviewing Harryhausen about effects. Itís wonderful to see the glee in Burtonís eyes as he discusses the legends work. Priceless.

David Schecter on Film Musicís Unsung Hero: A 22 minute doc focusing on composer Mischa Bakaleinikoff, one of the few who created music for B movies. Great for B lovers again.

A Present Day Look at Stop Motion: An excellent little look at how a current student creates his own stop motion film.

Galleries: A good look through the art of Harryhausen throughout the production.
Last Call
It Came From Beneath the Sea is classic bad 50ís. Not great. Not awful. Itís lovable bad, worth any special effects fans time to watch how Harryhausen brought down the show.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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