We had a large collection of great comments regarding our last Face-Off
involving the classic Night of the Creeps and James Gunn's Slither. The majority agreed with the column's outcome that the wonderful mix of horror and humor with Creeps was tough to beat. Although, it's definitely a safe bet to say that both movies are very much beloved in our genre.
Today's fitting Face-Off dives deep into a body that many enjoy getting into in the Summer... the ocean. And who doesn't love a good sea monster tale? How about two that actually came out in the same friggin' year, 1989! Do you remember the underwater horror "classics" DeepStar Six and Leviathan? Well, it's very shocking how damn similar these two movies are. That, along with the fact that Leviathan is getting a brand new release through Scream Factory this week is a good enough reason to throw 'em both in the ring! So, throw on your diver suits because we're about to get wet!
Under Sea Lab
DeepStar is a fairly high tech lab funded by the US Navy. It's got smart computer resources and some large, open sections for working in cumbersome diver suits. The sleeping quarters are a bit on the small side and the fresh water showering time is limited, but you could persuade a hot lady to shower with you by sharing your allotted showering time with her. It also contains nuclear missiles and the lab is nowhere near strong enough to sustain large explosions.
The crew in Leviathan also has a pretty state-of-the-art under water facility complete with fancy diver worker suits that rarely malfunction. It's also pretty damn spacious inside in case you feel like stretching your legs. The showers are unlimited, even if you die in one of them. There's a fast messaging system to reach people on the surface. It also holds up well if a mutant monster begins bashing the shit out of everything.
Not a great deal is shown of the mysterious force that is f*cking with the DeepStar crew. A lot of the initial suspense has to do with everyone dealing with the destruction of their undersea station as it begins taking on water. Finally, we get a good shock when the creature rips off the bottom half of a crew member in a divers suit, but the friggin' movie poster actually gives that part away! From there, nothing else very scary happens.
Now with Leviathan, we get a pretty cool "The Thing" type of willies workin. The suspense literally "comes from within" since the crew members begin getting infected by the worst kind of virus that actually grows the creature that eventually stalks them. When supposedly dead crew members begin showing signs of movement and icky growths, it's pretty damn creepy. And at least this creature doesn't need water to sustain its attacks.
The cave dwelling creature of DeepStar is somewhat similar to the Graboids from Tremors (though these came first). It's got a large, gaping mouth loaded with sharp teeth and huge, sharp claws. This thing is friggin' freaky-looking and gigantic. It's also got a fast tail that's very useful in knocking potential prey into the water. This is a well made movie monster.
I like how the creature of Leviathan gets created out of the poor crew members. It's cool how the infected gets smooshed together and molded into this thing. It's got these sharp-toothed tentacles that are good at stretching and latching onto victims. However, once you finally come face to face with the thing, it's got this ridiculous-looking fish head that is more funny than scary. I'm surprised it was made by Stan Winston's workshop.
Oh, man, Miguel Ferrer is awesome at playing a dickhead. First was his smarmy turn in RoboCop and now here as Snyder. Not only does he cause the explosion that f*cks up the DeepStar lab and lets the creature in, but he also runs away like a scared bitch once the creature shows up. Then, he "accidentally" causes the death of one of his colleagues with a shark dart. He whines some more, goes crazy, and runs off in one of their escape pods without pressurizing it. His death is glorious.
Before he was being an asshole to Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, Daniel Stern was being a dickhead to his undersea crew in Leviathan. His character, affectionately nicknamed Six-Pack, is a womanizing, prank-pulling douche. He is the reason the virus comes on board that mutates his crew into the creature because of the flask he finds and then drinks from. At least he doesn't completely hate his crew and doesn't mind throwing a few back with them.
Greg Evigan is definitely a brave, hard-workinhg hero. He cares very much for his lady friend played by Nancy Everhard and is well respected by the rest of his crew. He does everything possible to make sure as many people survive as possible, especially Miss Everhard once he learns that she's pregnant with his child. At the end, he is fine making the ultimate sacrifice in order to blow up the creature... but the bad ass also somehow survives!
Mother-f*cking Peter Weller is all I have to say. (It's actually kind of funny that this Face-Off features 2 RoboCop alums.) Anyways, Weller claims he's just a geologist throughout the movie, but that doesn't mean he's incapable of kicking absolute ass. The tone of his voice alone is enough to slay the scariest of beasts. He is a born action hero and battles the creature with brilliance. Bonus points for slugging the bitch that refused to help him and his crew at the end.
Well, this was a fitting battle. Right down to the wire! Both flicks are so damn similar, it really is the best way to go. But it seems that RoboCop, I mean Peter Weller, was too great a force to be reckoned with and put Leviathan over the top. I'm interested in seeing how you all feel about these two old-school undersea frightfests. Kindly cast your bullets below and let us know who you think is the big fish! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org