MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Vincent Price, Susan Hart, Tab Hunter, David Tomlinson
Yet another in the long line of American International Pictures film projects based on Edgar Allen Poe stories, ’War-Gods of the Deep’ is a rousing undersea adventure. The original title of the film was ’The City Under the Sea’ and that moniker gives a far better idea of what the movie is all about rather than the flamboyant and meaningless American release title.
Tab Hunter stars as Ben Harris whose stay at a turn of the century inn is interrupted when monstrous gillmen kidnap the lovely Jill (Susan Hart). Along with oddball artist Harold Tiffin Jones (David Tomlinson) and his sidekick — a chicken named Herbert — Ben discovers a lost undersea city ruled by the ageless Captain (Vincent Price) and his crew. Thinking Jill to be the reincarnation of his long-dead wife (does this movie cliche ever get old?), the Captain has whisked her away to his city under the sea just as it is about to be destroyed by a volcano. Can Ben and crew save the damsel in distress, avoid the gillmen, and return safely to the surface without getting the bends?
’War-Gods of the Deep’ is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and offers up a fairly pleasing picture. The overall image is quite sharp with nice vibrant colors and very little film grain. In just a bare handful of instances the transfer is marred by blemishes that last for a mere frame or two. A few of the long shots utilizing stock photography are also in noticeably worse shape. Black levels really aren’t strong enough to handle the frequent dark sequences but for a low-budget film on a budget-priced DVD I’m not complaining.
Audio is a serviceable Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track that handles the dialogue well enough and is free of any hiss or distortion. Heck, even the subwoofer gets to rumbling in a few of the scenes.
The only extra is the film’s original theatrical trailer which, surprisingly enough, plays things fairly straight without giving away too much of the story.
No one will mistake ’War-Gods of the Deep’ for a classic by any means but it does offer a nice evening’s entertainment for those willing to suspend their disbelief. Performances are fairly bland — save for Vincent Price — but the story itself is engaging enough to stand on its own merit. Another winner in MGM’s Midnite Movies line-up, ’War-Gods of the Deep’ is quite a lot of fun and the solid quality of the DVD itself is a nice surprise.