ROGER CORMAN'S CULT CLASSICS: UP...
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Charles B. Griffith and Cirio H. Santiago
What's it about
Depths: A giant shark-like creature preys on a Hawaiian tourist community.
Demon: Hunters become the hunted when illegal dynamite disturbs the slumber of a carnivorous lizardman. Resort owner Angela joins forces with Sheriff Keefer to save tourists from the beast's path of death.
Is it good movie?
I've done a few of these reviews already, so I'll make my preamble short: Roger Corman is always involved with hokey, ridiculous and cheap monster-ish movies that are hilariously awful. This is a collection of two of these films
Up From the Depths (Directed by Charles Griffith): This 1979 schlockbuster involving a monstrous shark that is freed from a crack beneath the sea after some underwater seismic activity sets it free. Of course, this doesn't happen in some sort of deserted area, but rather on a resort property in Hawaii.
The resort wants to keep things quiet, and some of the staff are completely oblivious to what's going on. As an unofficial sequel to Pirahna, this movie more or less flops for a few reasons. First, you hardly ever get to see the creature and when you do, the water is murky and everything looks like crap. There's also a lot of really, really unfunny attempts at comedy that fall flat and the small subplots involving a scam artist and the resort staff are weak at best.
In terms of these Corman features, this is the worst one I've seen yet. For some people, that might mean it's the best. For me, I was struggling to get through it. If you're really scared of red food coloring in the water, you should avoid this one!
Demon of Paradise (Directed by Cirio H. Santiago): Some Hawaiian fishermen are using dynamite to catch fish (who knew that was a legitimate way to do it)? In doing so, they awaken a monster-god-fish-man thing from the briny deep. Of course, there's a lovely female scientist who studies it all and the island sherrif who wants to help her while a slimy reporter who wants to cash in. If you're really keen on plot details, there's a model and photographer subplot, some drug trafficking (this did come out in the late 80s), and even more resort stuff to tide you over.
Thank god, this one stays out of the water for the most part and the monster slays most of his victims on the beach. The kills here are much better than in the previous film, and there are even a few boobs to be seen if you dig it. Ultimately though, this movie is drug down with bizarre performances and awful delivery of dialogue in long stretches where you wonder when something is going to start happening.
Again, if you're looking for laughs I don't think you'll find them here often enough to justify watching this film. It is better than Demon of Paradise but that truly doesn't say much.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 1.78:1 and the films look pretty rough and haven't been cleaned up well.
Audio comes in Mono, which is really about as dull as it gets.
You get trailers for both films, as well as a TV and Radio spot for Up from the Depths.
The only other feature is the Making of Up from the Depths which runs only about 8 minutes and features Corman talking about how this is a direct descendant of Pirahna and how they made the film so cheap. A couple of actors show up to add a bit of insight and you get to hear from the effects guys but again, this is only 8 minutes long.
This is the worst Corman package I've reviewed and was a chore to get through. I know some might revel in the schlock but these movies are really similar and not particularly enjoyable. These are weak entries at best but in my opinion are for Corman completists only.