Thursday, September 17, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Devil Fish (1984)

This week I've been reviewing some quality Italian horror films for those of you who dig my blog.  I've provided my take on one of the late Lucio Fulci's better films, City of the Living Dead.  I also gave you my thoughts on my favorite chiller from Dario Argento, Deep Red.  Well, today we're taking a look at another Italian horror film, but I can't really vouch for the quality of this Lamberto Bava movie from 1984.  In fact, I think it's safe to say that Devil Fish is a terrible movie.  No, it's worse than that.  Calling it terrible is an insult to all of the movies out there that are merely terrible, and not so awful that it is downright embarrassing.  Yet, I have some affection for this turd, and here's why: it is absolutely one of those "so bad that it's good" pictures.  Scary?  Shit.  Hilarious?  Absolutely.  It is entirely possible that Devil Fish represents a high-water mark for unintentional comedy.  There are special effects that are so pitiful that one might wonder if the filmmakers let their children design and operate the creature.  There are death scenes that are so poorly acted that you may wonder how anyone on set was able to keep a straight face during filming.  You won't be able to keep a straight face while watching, I can promise you that.  The direction is woeful, the score sounds like the work of inept musicians playing broken instruments, and the script is idiotic at its best and dumber than Dumb & Dumber at its worst.  As a result, the laughs are frequent, and I am being 100% sincere when I say that Devil Fish is funnier than a lot of comedies that I've watched.  Like many films of this sort, it probably wears out its welcome long before its over, but if you turn it off at any point, it's not like you have to worry that you're missing a cool part.  There are no cool parts.  Lamberto Bava is the son of notable director Mario Bava, a terrific filmmaker whose worst feature film was surely about 100 times as good as this atrocity.  Lamberto would go on to direct Demons (a personal favorite of mine), so he was capable of making a good flick.  With that in mind, it's hard to say what went wrong with Devil Fish.  Actually, it's pretty easy, I guess, as obviously EVERYTHING went wrong with Devil Fish.  It's a blatant attempt to produce a Jaws ripoff on a shoestring budget with a lousy script, a lousy cast, lousy effects, and a lousy score.  The end result is a lousy movie that only finds redemption by virtue of failing so badly that it winds up being amusing.

 Final Grade: F+

"Do as I say or I'll make you watch Devil Fish again!"

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