Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ALIEN FROM THE DEEP

Italian exploitation maestro Antonio Margheretti (usually credited on the English-language releases of his movies as "Anthony Dawson") directed over fifty films in an astounding variety of genres from space opera (WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS) to gothic horror (CASTLE OF BLOOD) to blaxploitation Spaghetti Westerns (TAKE A HARD RIDE) to Eurospy (LIGHTNING BOLT), to... well, just about any other kind of flick you can imagine. While it would be difficult to call any of them great, it can fairly be said that most of his movies are competently made, if highly derivative, schlock.  1989's ALIEN FROM THE DEEP is no exception.

An environmental activist named Jane (pretty Marina Giulia Cavalli, billed here as "Julia McKay") and her video cameraman (Robert Marius) are investigating a company called E-CHEM, which is running a nuclear waste disposal operation on an isolated island. When her partner is captured by E-CHEM's corrupt plant manager (the always-enjoyable Charles Napier, DINOCROC, DEEP SPACE), Jane escapes to the jungle, where she meets Bob (Daniel Bosch) a shotgun-toting American with a snake venom business. Turns out that E-CHEM has been dumping waste into the local volcano, and this has attracted the unwanted attentions of a bizarre, clawed, bloodthirsty, bio-mechanical beastie (don't ask)....

ALIEN FROM THE DEEP is not one of Margheretti's finer hours. While it's a professional enough piece of filmmaking, the first two-thirds or so of the film are mind-numbingly boring. However, once you get about an hour into the 92 minute flick, things start to pick up; bullets start to fly, stuff starts blowing up (via some pleasantly retro miniature effects work), and the titular "alien from the deep" begins crashing through walls with its gargantuan, pincer-like claw. I have to admit, though: the creature is an absurdly awesome creation. I guarantee you've never seen a movie monster quite like this one.

One 7 Movies' DVD presentation of ALIEN FROM THE DEEP is pretty good, considering that it was clearly shot for international home video and/or cable TV. The 1.33:1 "full frame" transfer is surprisingly clean and sharp, with bright colors and adequate detail. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo English language track is pretty decent, with fair dubbing and the American actors providing their own voices. There is an optional Italian track, as well, but no English subtitles. The only extras are a still gallery and the original Italian opening and closing credits apparently culled from an old VHS tape.

By no means a quality monster movie, ALIEN FROM THE DEEP may still appeal to hardcore B-movie junkies possessing a lot of patience. If you can slog through (or fast-forward through) the first hour, what remains is kinda fun. Not good, mind you, but fun.

BUYAlien From The Deep