Up From The Depths (1979)

Spread the weird

RATING– ✮✮

DIRECTOR– Charles B. Griffith

PLOT– Dr. David Whiting is the preeminent marine biologist in the world.

…well, maybe not the world. I mean, if you bring a bottle of wine on a dive with a female intern half your age… then you send that female intern half your age, that you also are screwing, into the water to do your job… and then, when she dies violently on that dive, you just motor off with as much sorrow as when you lose the TV remote… well, you’re probably not the “preeminent” marine biologist…

… you’re just a creepy old dude with a college degree.

Dr. Whiting is just helping with her extra credit

Our creepy esteemed biologist has a hunch his young assistant may have been eaten by a giant deadly creature he’s been trying to find (yet another reason not to send your intern into the water)… so Dr. Whiting* motors back to the dock and tries to hide the death.

*please note, the screenwriter wants us to believe Dr. Whiting is one of the good guys.

Meanwhile, beach bum and thief Greg*, along with his partner Earl, make a living swindling guests at the local Hawaiian hotel by convincing them a sunken treasure awaits.

*another note, the screenwriter wants us to believe Greg is also a good guy.

Well this time their scheme becomes all too real… not only does the hotel guest they are trying to rob actually find real treasure, but he gets eaten by the creature.

Luckily, a strung-out model or rock-star or actress or whatever she is (she’s just famous for some reason the screenwriter chooses not to explain) shows up with some photographers and wants to do some topless scuba photos.

Bad idea…

… she gets eaten also.

This causes panic at the resort. And when I say “panic” I mean “PANIC”…

The entire hotel goes insane. They push and shove each other, they trample old people, they run around the beach for hours… and then head over to the lounge for a dance contest… that turns into a vigilante meeting where everyone gets whipped-up to a murderous frenzy by a free case of rum.

Guests grab anything sharp and jump into anything that will float (which seems to be about 3 boats) and head out to the ocean to hunt the creature.

Greg, his girlfriend, and Dr.Whiting head out together. This time, Dr. Whiting actually gets into the water… which turns out to be a terrible idea.

The creature attacks Dr. Whiting and he bleeds to death in Greg’s arms.

But there are people who see a glass half empty and there are people who see that same glass as half full… and Greg is a half-full guy.

He stuffs Dr. Whiting’s dead body full of explosives, feeds him to the creature, and blows the creature to bits.

Everyone rejoices… many say “yay”.

3 THINGS WE LEARNED

  1. If you decide to scuba dive topless, you’re a goner
  2. If a fish attacks somebody in the water, and you’re on land, you really need to frickin’ panic… scream, pull hair, start fires, trample people… anything… just go bat-shit crazy for hours on end… and don’t stop… at least until a dance contest starts
  3. Using your friends minutes after they die as shark chum is perfectly acceptable behavior

REVIEW– The last time I visited Hawaii was over 20 years ago.

It was a gorgeous place. Dramatic cliffs covered in luscious vegetation. Incredible tropical foods designed to excite the palate. Beautiful native dancers at every luau. Crystal clear surf lapping at the edge of stunning beaches.

We stayed at a Hilton.

Not this place…

“Monthly finals”???… who stays at a “hotel” for months?!?

I have no idea what’s going on at this “hotel”, but maybe Dr. Phil or Janet Reno should get involved…

It seems to be some sort of tourist trap cult lead by an anorexic man with a benedictine monk haircut.

New guests must have a private nude “consultation” before check-in

He’s paranoid to the point that he accuses everyone and everything is out to destroy what he built. Not only does he lure people to this secluded spot to drain money from them, but he has them participate in rituals that seem to have them brainwashed…

Because being brainwashed is the only plausible explanation for the classic cult behavior….

They mock and shun the press.

They happily join in a murderous orgy of violence at the slightest suggestion.

They treat discovered body-parts as run-of-the-mill finds.

He even enlists a celebrity to taut the benefits of his cult hotel.

“Come visit. You’re going to love it.”

Jim Jones would’ve had no problem selling his brand of kool-aid here.

Honestly, this place was David Koresh before David Koresh was cult-cool.

It’s hard to recommend Up From The Depths. It’s not that fun and corners were cut in so many places, it’s looks just plain cheap.

There’s even evidence to back that up…

The sound for the entire movie was somehow lost. So the producers only brought back a handful of the original actors to dub the lines for everyone again… only, they lost the script also. So the actors had to guess at what was being said on the screen.

That story perfectly sums up this movie.


Ralph assured the other swimmers the yellow liquid surrounding him was just spilled lemonade.