Sunday, November 27, 2016

Up From the Depths, Sea Monster vs. Swimsuit Shoot

Set in Hawaii and shot in the Philippines, 1979's "Up From the Depths" is one of a billion "Jaws" rip-offs.  IMDB bills this one as a horror/comedy, however I don't think comedy was a goal of the film makers.  Directed by Charles B. Griffith, the overly stereotyped characters may indicate a comedy, but in fairness, perhaps the stereotypes are fair.  For it inaccurate to assume that ditzy swimsuit models are shallow and have inflated egos?  With lots of nudity, gore, and a cool looking sea creature, this film is worth a watch.
As the opening credits roll, our star, Sam Bottoms, has his name flashed on the screen over three bottoms of pulsating hula dancers.  A nice start.  Sandy (Dorothy Burham), a buxom, bikini clad diver, is then chewed up by a monster fish.  Her limited remains, and the remains of a shark wash up on the beaches of the Tropical Palace.  Forbes (Kedric Wolfe) wants to keep this all quiet as he must think of the resort's bottom (there's that word again) line.  The beautiful and nubile Rachel (Susanne Reed), is Forbes' assistant, and she believes the authorities should be contacted.  Because Rachel is not with the program, she can't see that the carnage may have been a boating accident.  As the media converge on the resort, a swimsuit model, Iris Lee (Denise Hayes) arrives.  Iris loves nudity, skinny-dipping, and is an airhead.
As our monster begins dining on more beach-goers, Greg (Bottoms) and his uncle Earl (Virgil Frye) see the horror first hand.  Now Greg and Rachel team up to figure out how to fight the fiend and do it behind Forbes' back.  In one heartbreaking scene, the nude Iris Lee is eaten in front of her cameramen, and hardly anyone sheds a tear.  Unable to hide the monster from the press, Forbes is struck with a brilliant idea.  Tropical Resort will conduct a contest...$1,000 to the guest who kills the fish.  As the guests grab spears, SCUBA equipment, flame throwers (yes!), guns, and other explosive toys, Greg and Rachel team up with a scientist who would like to capture the thing alive.
Will pics of Iris' final photo-shoot grace the pages of a major sports magazine?  Will the fiend be taken alive, or will our scientist be added to it's buffet?  Is our big monster fish a mere metaphor for the plight of the proletariat which will rise up against the one per centers, symbolized by the guests at this luxury resort?  The ending is phenomenal and loud.  You may have seen "Jaws" a hundred times, but do catch this Asian rip-off.  "Up From the Depths" is available on YouTube.

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