There isn’t a bong hit big enough for me to make any sense out of this one, folks. Granted, the movie was made in 1984. It really tries to ride the coattails of the Jaws phenomenon but does it so badly that it ended up as a MST3K feature. Even the worst of the worst sharksploitation films have some redeeming qualities, right? Well…maybe.
The Devil Fish is an alleged proto-shark, a living fossil from prehistory. The paleontologist’s explanation for this creature is by far one of the most entertaining parts of the movie. She makes science her bitch, tossing all facts out the porthole and embracing a whole bunch of nonsense. Allegedly, Devil Fish is a “Pseudogallius volta”, a shark ancestor that lived 60 million years ago. That’s not a thing. She also misidentifies a hodgepodge of dinosaurs and sharks. As the movie slowly and tediously progresses, we learn that it is really just a baby whose cells are only eight months old and it can completely self-reproduce. That is the sexiest thing about this movie. But that didn’t stop the film makers from trying to sexy the shit out of it anyway. We shall come back to that later.
The first thing I thought of when Devil Fish was revealed was that it looks a lot like the monster at the end of Hellraiser that comes through the front door of Kirsty’s house. Same teeth, same look of ennui and deep regret. It is shaped like a bulbous sperm with tentacles. The thing has a “voice full of hate” which means it emits what some might consider a growl. Devil Fish also really sucks at killing people. He always leaves a survivor (until the final scenes when things get a bit gorier). He moves at a glacial pace. Until the end of the film, he just slaps people about the face with his tentacles like an 18th-century British dandy. Sloppy work, Devil Fish.
The editing, especially in the first 20 minutes, came very close to bringing a bout of spontaneous schizophrenia upon my disbelieving ass. The scenes ran totally amok, toggling between a scientist heavily drinking beer, to dolphins, to a rescue chopper, to a couple making sexy times, to a hitman murdering a woman. This being the 80’s, all was set to a fantastic crescendo of synthesizers.
Oh speaking of sexy times, there are way more of these than should ever be in a shark movie. The scenes are awkward, uncomfortable and come at really inappropriate times. The pillow talk is just pure and unfiltered crap. I just don’t get it.
The technology of this movie is jaw-dropping. I am pretty certain that the sonar readout screen was the Nintendo Jaws game. The computer speaks in a voice that can only be Rick Moranis on quaaludes.
But the best part, folks, are the quotes. Allow me to give you some of my favorites without any context whatsoever because that actually makes it better somehow.
“You filthy rotten bloody shark, LET ME HEAR YOU!”
“It was fear. Fear stopped his heart.”
“Bring all your notes on proto-sharks!”
“A shark with tentacles!”
“Too old for science…too old for your wife.”
“For a woman who has the sensitivity of a slut… I will not accept lessons.”
I’m not going into the plot of this film. Mostly because I’m not sure what it was. Also, it doesn’t matter. I would strongly suggest that if you were to read this and become overwhelmed with a fervent desire to watch this movie, watch the MST3K version. Also, you may need psychological help.
See ya next time!
Director: John Old Jr.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime