Cast: Michael Bon, Loren De Palm, Clay Rogers, Sharon Twomey
Extras: Still Gallery, Director Interview, Bonus Trailers
As someone who prides himself on keeping up with horror films, I don’t know how I missed this little gem, originally entitled ’Plankton’. After taking a motorized inflatable raft for a pleasure cruise in the ocean (!?), five young people find themselves out of fuel and stranded. Luckily, they spy a passing yacht and board it. The boat is an oceanic research vessel, which appears to be deserted. What they do find are the remnants of very bizarre and dangerous looking fish, which seemed to have been the focus of the research on board the ship. Being wild and crazy kids, the group decides to ignore these ominous signs and party! However, it is soon revealed that anyone who comes in contact with these fish, or the irradiated plankton which caused them to mutate (?!), will turn into a vicious monster. After two of their friends become scaly freaks, the remaining three, and a scientist who looks like Dennis DeYoung of Styx, must find a way to survive the night.
’Creatures from the Abyss’ is an Italian production and has all of the trademarks of those lame 80s shockers from Italy. The acting is bad, the dubbing is horrible, and the film appears to have been edited by the same person who cut Lamberto Bava’s ’Devilfish’, as we get an establishing shot of the boat every few seconds. Still, I found myself drawn into this film for two reasons. One, the plot involving radioactive plankton is just so weird, that I had to keep watching. And, more importantly, the other reason is the film’s attitude. ’Creatures from the Abyss’ is a throwback to those Italian films that went for broke and let the gore fly. The last act of this film contains some truly bizarre and disturbing images, which horror-hounds should love. Also, check out the lavish production design on the yacht. ’Creatures from the Abyss’ ain’t great, but it plays like a combo of ’Piranha II’, ’Leviathan’ and ’Friday the 13th, Part 8’ and it’s a whole lot of fun.
Media Blasters/Shriek Show reels in ’Creatures of the Abyss’ for its DVD debut. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen and is letterboxed at 1.85:1. The image is sharp, but some defects from the source print are evident and the picture is a tad dark at times. The colors are true, and the fleshtones appear natural. This transfer shows no distracting flaws from artifacting or edge enhancement. The mono soundtrack gives us clear and audible dialogue, but little else. A more powerful soundtrack would have only added to the creepiness. The DVD contains a still gallery with 12 images, and a brief interview with director Al Passeri (real name: Massimiliano Cerchi), in which he discusses this film and his love of horror.