As the weather starts to warm up, thoughts turn to summer activities. Fishing, hiking, sports, and most importantly of all: swimming. For those of us in Colorado, it means a trip to the lakes, rivers, or public pools. To celebrate the season, here’s a list of five creature features starring beasts from the deep.
Piranha 3D (2010)
This movie doesn’t pretend it’s anything but a campy send-up to the creature features of the past. A silly plot involving an earthquake releasing prehistoric piranha into the lakeside resort sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Gratuitous violence, nudity, a funny script, and some great performances (Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott uses his deadpan humor wonderfully) will leave old and modern camp fans in stitches. The best part is that these piranhas are swarming in a lake, forcing viewers to think: “not even our lakes are safe anymore!”
If you’ve never seen Jaws, shame on you. This was the film that provoked fear of both open water and sharks to this day. Spielberg’s classic horror film built tension by showing unsuspecting swimmers happily flocking in the water spliced with point of view shots from the shark’s perspective. During this, the iconic cello music swells as Jaws approaches his next victim. A well told story and good performances from Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw make the film compelling to watch rather than a task of skipping ahead to the shark scenes.
Devilfish (Mystery Science Theater 3000 version)
This one is a bit misleading, as the actual film is really bad, but the MST3K crew make watching the film a total joy. For the uninformed (or too young to know), Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a show in the 90’s that featured a man and two robots (actually two puppets) riffing on bad horror and sci-fi movies from the past. It has become a cult classic and is still loved by fans to this day. Devilfish was a 1984 Italian produced knockoff of Jaws that featured a scrappy crew trying to kill an octopus/shark hybrid off the coast of Florida. Wooden acting, bad production values, and a very silly looking monster are easy fodder for the MST3K crew’s riffing abilities. If you weren’t already a fan of the show, their humor may convert you to their side.
Godzilla vs The Sea Monster
This one is more of a personal favorite, as I’m a huge fan of the Godzilla franchise. The old Godzilla movies prided themselves on being over the top movies that tried to be serious and failed spectacularly. In this film, Godzilla battles Ebirah, a giant lobster monster terrorizing an island inhabited by natives and a terrorist organization manufacturing heavy water for their own nefarious deeds (yes, the plot is incredibly silly). Naturally, Godzilla and Ebirah have large scale battles as people watch in shock and awe. If you are fan of the old Kaiju (giant monster) flicks, give this one a watch: it’s pure old school campy fun.
Deep Blue Sea
An unbelievably stupid plot (genetically modified sharks with big brains break free of an underwater research facility and terrorize the crew) is played up for some genuine laughs and memorable moments. A cast with good chemistry (Thomas Jane, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, Michael Rapaport, and Saffron Burrows) play up the camp factor with funny dialogue (for those who have seen it, “you ate my bird” should at least make you chuckle) and some good tension due to the ever rising water in the breached facility. Fans of shark movies or cheesy creature features should check it out.