Death Ship

retroist halloween movie madness

I have just finished posting VicSage’s first movies for Halloween Movie Madness IV and I have to say, he picked much better films then I have. I am not sure why, but I had some faint memory of maybe somehow enjoying this film as a kid. Perhaps it was my natural affinity to Richard Crenna or my love of the open seas that gave me this false impression, because when it comes down to it, this is not at all what I remembered.

In the film, a cruise ship hits another ship in the middle of the ocean. The ship sinks but the survivors are rescued by the very ship that collided with them (is that irony?) Oh and get this, that ship was once a Nazi death ship that was used as some sort of horrible mobile concentration camp. So when the people come aboard, the ship still hungers for victims. So naturally Kennedy get possessed and goes Nazi crazy.

Now on paper, it sounds okay. I believe it even has some great requisite elements of a horror film. Just to be sure, let me consult my horror film checklist:

– Title of the film would make a great heavy metal band name – CHECK
– Nazis as villains – CHECK
– Fog – CHECK
– Possession – CHECK
– An Academy Award winner picking up a paycheck – CHECK
– Crazy Germanic script used in credits – CHECK
– Well acted –
– Characters seem motivated and plausible –

See it got a lot of things going for it, but I still couldn’t shake that exasperated feeling. Maybe I was having a bad day, so you might want to formulate your own mini-opinion. So check the film out for yourself, here is the first 10 minutes. Watch them…if you dare…

(warning: those 10 minutes are non-refundable)

The film even kind of looks good at times and the horror gets still enough that I even found myself laughing every once in a while. Plus, while their characters are pretty poorly conceived, Crenna and Kennedy are still able to make their screen time reasonably compelling. Yet, somehow the film does not come together and by the end of the film, I was yelling Abandon Ship (wondering to myself if I can close all my posts with “clever” puns based on the title of the film).

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4 thoughts on “Death Ship

  1. What is up with that crazy Rowan and Martin Laugh-In camera work on the engines at the beginning? Ha, ha. I really like George Kennedy but I think his resume proves that he was willing to work…no matter the script. I do believe this is what I called a shelf warmer back in the days when I worked at my local video store…pretty sure we had it in stock.

    It really looks like the movie also might have used scenes from other films or at least the editor locked himself in the editing bay and just went nuts until he emerged with Death Ship held high like some Cthulhian worshiping stone, fascinating and horrible but impossible to look away from. ;)

  2. Atari Adventure Square says:

    I caught this movie as the first of a horror double-bill around the time it came out.
    It was so badly paced and dreary, it choked the life out of the evening (though there where some hoots and hollers – for sanity’s sake, I imagine).
    But years later, it became a cult in my own head and just seeing the vhs box triggered the dread of seeing this and instant appreciation of good movie-making, in general.

    Two things stand out for me:
    -I’m reminded of that Nazi ghost movie projector whenever Ash goes in the basement for the second time in Evil Dead.
    -That scene when the nanny turns around after consuming the ages-old hard candy (really…who does that?) is probably a factor in my declining interest in said candy.

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