Up from the Depths – USA, 1979

‘Your vacation is about to end !!!’

up from the depthsUp from the Depths is a 1979 American horror feature film directed by Charles B. Griffith (Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype) for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. It was co-written by Griffiths and Anne Dyer but credited to fictitious Alfred M. Sweeney. Future special effects expert Chris Walas was brought in by Corman to shoot more horror footage because Griffith’s had filmed it more as a comedy.

It is similar to Jaws (1975), although it should be noted that this blockbuster is itself based on the premises of 1950s movies that spawned it such as Griffiths’ own aquatic terrors Attack of the Crab Monsters and Creature from the Haunted Sea.

Despite Up from the Depths apparently being a financial dud, Filipino producer Cirio H. Santiago remade it in 1987 as Demon of Paradise. The soundtrack was one of the earliest by composer James Horner (Humanoids from the Deep; The Hand; Wolfen; Aliens).

Up-from-the-Depths-Demon-of-Paradise-Scream-Factory-DVD
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The film stars Sam Bottoms, Susanne Reed, Virgil Frye, Kedric Wolfe and Charles Howerton.

The staff and vacationers at a first-class resort on the island of Maui in Hawaii are beginning to mysteriously disappear…

Up-from-the-Depths-tourist-1979

A biologist believes that an underwater earthquake has caused a giant and very hungry dormant prehistoric fish to be released from his slumber. Voraciously the fish helps himself to a tourist buffet. Now it’s open season for the local fishermen to find the creature and kill it…

up from the depths 1979 fish monster

Behind the scenes footage of the embarrassing-looking fish monster courtesy of Jess Griffith. This comedy creature was replaced by a scary shark-looking monster when Chris Walas filmed additional scenes.

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Reviews:

“Whenever the predator strikes, it’s a muddled mish-mosh of shots of oncoming teeth, hunks of meat being shaken back and forth underwater, and the obligatory red dye emptying into the deep, ‘whenever’ in this instance meaning ‘every single goddamned time'” Wopsploitation

“The big cast probably has you thinking that there’s plenty of fodder for the beast, and you’d be half-right. A lot of people get chewed up, but don’t get too excited. Most of the attack scenes are incoherent and are pretty much the equivalent of filming red food coloring in a bathtub.” Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!

Up-from-the-Depths

“The story is quite simple: it’s about a prehistoric shark tearing up tourists and ruining business for a hotel right by the water. Now while the film has some decent moments, overall it doesn’t take itself serious enough. It is very tongue in cheek with some corny dialogue which to me took away from what could have been a more serious effort about a shark-like mutant monster.” David Steigman, DVD Drive-In

Up-from-the-Depths-James-Horner-soundtrack
“Up from the Depths
is one of those horror films that leaves you scratching your head in confusion as the credits roll, not because of some sort of philosophical ending but because you just can’t imagine anyone involved meant for it to be taken seriously on any level. But its eminently quotable quality makes it well worth a watch, preferably with liquor in hand.” Horror Home Room 

Choice dialogue:

“Don’t be so asinine, Rachel!”

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Image thanks: Horror Homeroom Oh, the Horror!

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2 Comments on “Up from the Depths – USA, 1979”

  1. Chris Walas was on the FX crew and always regretted they failed to give them the budget to make a better monster. I hate this film, really hate it. Possibly the worst Jaws cash in of all time. I so wanted to enter the film and murder all the characters, especially the really stupid, stereotyped ones. It does feature one of my pet peeve movie tropes, a giant (20 foot or so) creature or thing that can sneak up on someone, easily (in shallow water in this one to boot). .

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