1989 was a fantastic year for creatures of the sea in cinema. We had Leviathan, Endless Descent (aka The Rift), the James Cameron masterpiece The Abyss and a personal favorite of mine that I know sucks, DeepStar Six.
Directed with wonderful ineptness by Sean S. Cunningham of Friday The 13th fame, DeepStar Six is affectionately known as DeepStar Sux among fans. Is it that bad, you ask? No! It’s fun and also boring as hell at times, but has a rather fetching monster in it too.
Selecting a cast of mostly has-been 80’s TV actors was an odd choice, but it made it all the more amusing. We do get Greg Evigan of BJ And The Bear fame and although he’s actually quite good, how can you not chuckle? Plus, in a few scenes he certainly fills the chest hair quotient.
Evigan is also buddies with his esteemed captain played by the horribly named Taurean Blacque, and when Blacque meets his demise, oh the anguish! More on that later.
Blacque: “You know I’m the only black guy on this sub and I’m going to die, right?”. Evigan: “Yes sir, I can feel it in my chest hairs, Captain!”.
Miguel Ferrer plays one of the most unlikable characters in cinematic history. He is a whiny, annoying, paranoid bitch named Snyder who also fucks everything up and STILL carries on like a nutcase. Why ANYONE would endure this is beyond me, especially when he accidentally detonates nuclear warheads that wake up (and piss off) our giant killer crustacean.
It’s all good though, because Ferrer will have a most unpleasant end to his story which is as gory as can be.
Other actors who grace the screen here include Matt McCoy, Nia Peeples (why is she in a shower scene and we don’t see her naked?), Nancy Everhard, Cindy Pickett and others you might know by face but sure as hell not by name!
“I was in the video for Prince’s ‘Raspberry Beret’. And he didn’t taste my raspberry either!”.
Most likely people in theaters were saying, Oh-the nerd from Riptide! And, that chick from St. Elsewhere, and that chest-haired bastard from BJ And The Bear! Glad we spent our money tonight for this!
The plot as it is were, involves these oh, so tired crew members bitching and moaning about wanting to go “topside” and see their families (who I can’t imagine wanting to see a damn one of them), but they must finish this final mission. A British dickweed named Dr. Van Gelder is calling the shots to finish installing a nuclear missile storage platform underwater. Why??? Who the fuck knows or cares.
Ah, but towards the end of installation a Russian goof (Elya Baskin who believe it or not, has actually had quite the career and has even recently been in massive films such as Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and Transformers: Dark Of The Moon) and the really cute Everhard discover a massive cavern at the instillation site.
Van Gelder wants it blown up but Peeples pleads (unconvincingly) that it is a mistake because there could be fascinating sea creatures in there as well as some not so nice ones. The argument falls on deaf ears.
“He didn’t listen to me so I’ll work out! That will show him. AND, I won’t get nude in the shower either! By the way, anyone remember my shitty dance hit ‘Street Of Dreams’? No?”.
This explosion will awaken something. Something we do not see for 3/4 of this horrendously paced film.
The explosion also causes a fissure and that means a small sub is sent out from Deep Star Six to check out the damage. So Ronn Carroll (Osborne in the film) and Hodges (Thom Bray) are in the sub and send an unmanned probe (that’s what she said) into the cavern to survey the damage. They lose contact and go after it,”detaching”. They are also filming at the same time to see if Peeples can get some film footage of any creatures down there.
“This goatee alone will get me killed, but I got killed with a bicycle spoke by Alice Cooper in Prince Of Darkness man!”.
They lose the camera and go after it and in the cave the tension builds as they get sonar contact. Increasing. Fast. What the hell could it be coming after them? They scream. The lights go out. We assume they’re dead. What happened?
How the shit would we know? We see NOTHING. Lame, boring and predictable in the worst way.
In any case, the creature we don’t see attacks the observation pod with the Russian guy and cute girl, and Russian guy will die from broken legs in the freezing water they are now submerged in.
Of course, cute girl survives because chest hair guy and the Captain get in a tiny sub to save her, only to have the Captain get crushed in half by a fastly closing hatch. It’s pretty cool and gross and he then intentionally floods the place so they don’t waste time trying to save him. As we know, he’s black and stand no chance so this makes sense. He will drown.
Shaken (and stirred-thank you Robert Plant), chest hair guy (Evigan) and cute girl (Everhard) make it back to the main base.
Well, now it’s time to go home as the Navy has given the OK. But first the missile sled must be secured. Van Gelder (played by Marius Weyers) instructs the insane Snyder to secure the missiles and leaves the room. Snyder does the exact opposite of securing things and detonates the missiles causing the Deep Star Six to Deep Star sink. It’s easy to see why, as the computer looks like Pong was too advanced for it.
Damage is done but a way to save air is discovered. It can only be done by patching a hole outside. This is where Richardson (played by Full House-looking reject McCoy) gets in the atmospheric diving suit and his work outside in the water with lights attracts a friend.
He screams in horror as they try to pull him up. He is not alone. Nor is he whole!
This is some of what is left of Richardson. The creature finally appears and he’s a biggun!
“I am crab. Very large crab.”
Some of the crew do not survive the crustacean visitor and his appetite, but those who do find a place to hide and realize that Peeples’s character (now crab bisque) had mentioned something about cavernous sea-dwellers being attracted to light. So they actually go back into the pool with light to awaken the beast.
In another cool but silly scene of gore, when the monster appears, Snyder freaks out and accidentally harpoons Van Gelder (well, he was annoying and British anyway).
After that little mishap we’re now down to 4 people. Snyder keeps freaking out and fighting with everyone and gets tranquilized. That’s not enough though, so he steals the escape pod before anyone else can get in. He doesn’t decompress however and meets a sickening demise in which we see his face start to crack, bleed and combust. His head will explode as he goes topside!
Here it is:
“If only I’d stayed away from that roast beef at Arby’s”.
A final showdown with the beast sees Pickett square off with high-powered lights which electrocute both her and the crab. They both sink below to a watery death. But not before Pickett utters the dreadful, Jaws (or Alien) ripoff line “Die, you sack of fish shit!”. I’d say that, but nobody in a movie should be saying it.
“My ex-husband never touched me this way”.
Now it’s down to Evigan and Everhard to flee to safety and of course she’s pregnant and of course he’s never settled down and of course now he promises her he will do her right and they will get married and…well, we’re actually thankful when Carl Crab reappears as they surface. (How the hell this thing would travel all the way up is unknown, but who gives a sack of fish shit???).
Yeah, he’s still huge and pissed off. (I actually think the monster is pretty kick-ass if not a little bit awkward). Evigan will set the vessel on fire (Everhard is in a separate life raft screaming “NO!”) and dive in the water to avoid Carl’s sizable pincers.
Is it ironic that as Everhard awaits to see what happened after Carl blows up to bits that her nipples are everhard? Woah, momma!
“This is waiting for you if you survive my bearded one!”
And there you have DeepStar Six. I am always a sucker for sea creature movies and I do actually enjoy this one. The pacing is terrible and the characters are as cliched as it gets.
However, the monster is pretty damn awesome and the acting is actually good. There’s a plot, it’s just horribly unoriginal and the miniatures look crappy.
I pull this one out each summer because I’m an idiot, but yes, I do see the qualities of this film. In the battle of this and Leviathan, I go with this although I do actually like Leviathan as well for what it is.
1. The creature was designed by Chris Wallas of Gremlins fame.
2. DeepStar Six was the first of the 1989 sea creature movies to surface. It would only gross $8.1 million at the box office.
3. Director Sean S. Cunningham directed the original Friday The 13th in 1980 as well as one of the sequels Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday in 1993. He also produced the surprisingly good remake of Friday The 13th in 2009.
1/2 beagles out of 4 for awfulness
Q: Should you see DeepStar Six?
A: Yes! At least six times and always in summer when we all know sea creatures feed at their best.