AMPHIBIAN WEEK: Up from the Depths (1979)

Brought to you by the “father of redneck cinema,” Charles B. Griffith, this movie is more Jaws than Creature from the Black Lagoon. Griffith was told to make an action movie, but he got a depressing looking creature and decided to make a comedy. By the time he flew back home, producer Roger Corman had already recut it in into a horror movie.

Welcome to Maui, where the staff, tourists and locals are starting to disappear. Turns out that an underwater earthquake has released some very hungry prehistoric fish (I caught a bowfin once as a kid and it’s a trout with teeth, a horrifying beast that hasn’t changed much from its prehistoric version). Local fishermen all team up to hunt and kill the beast, just like Jaws, except everyone has guns.

Sam Bottoms, brother of Timothy, plays Greg Oliver, one of the locals. And so is R. Lee Emery, in an early role. Neither of them are the tourist who yells, “Oh my God, it’s a monster fish!” a line that made me so happy I nearly passed out.

Believe it or not, Corman’s New World Pictures double-billed this feature with Cronenberg’s The Brood, a fact that makes me happy if the audience was rewarded with The Brood first. If not, I’m not certain how many folks would still be in the theater.

Griffith called this film a “terrible experience.” He should have had to watch this piece of shit!

If you want to see it for yourself, Shout! Factory released this on a double disk with Demon of Paradise. And yes, I watched that. So get ready for more bile.

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