Monday, May 31, 2010


When someone uses the phrase "so bad it's good," this is the film I think of. In fact, almost everything about this movie is just about as bad as it could possibly be.

The acting is... well, let's just say that almost every actor here has never appeared in anything else after doing this.

In fact, the woman on the cover wasn't even in this movie.

Stage direction:
Look scared
(Bonus points if you can make your eyes asymmetrical and look like the Toxic Avenger).

The set is ridiculous. The whole movie takes place aboard a "research ship" which does have a laboratory, but seems to be mostly a discotheque.

And not just that, but one designed by a sexed up Sid and Marty Krofft. Just take the hallway clock for example. We see it, have enough time to wander why the designers opted for full red lips instead of hour or minute hands, and then suddenly it starts batting its eyelashes at us and announcing "I give good time!"

Oddly enough, the clock actually introduces itself as "Jessica." All sorts of things in the ship have a sexy female persona, including all of the bathroom fixtures (collectively known as "Suzy" I believe). What's even weirder is that the characters here and everyone else I've ever heard talk about this movie refer to the clock as "Cutie Time."

I'd like to be able to comment on the screenplay, and I have my suspicions, but I've never actually been able to find the native language version. What I can comment on is the ridiculous dubbing used for the English version. It's always seemed to be that the dubbers really had fun with this thing. Either that or someone got the contract to create the English dubbing track, took the Italian screenplay and ran it through Babelfish (from Italian, to Mandarin Chinese, to Russian, to English), and then removed half the pages and handed it off to a high school drama class to do the voice-work. The results probably would've made the movie pretty much unwatchable if it hadn't accidentally become so hilarious. The really weird thing about the dubbing is the mixture of quality. On the one hand, the dubbing is actually really good for some of the movie. The dubbing is matched to the mouth movements so well at times, you could easily go through the first 20 minutes or so without realizing that the actors are actually not speaking English. On the other hand, there are times when we hear dialog when there's obviously no one speaking on screen. At other times, we can't see the guy speaking and so the dubbing is done in a Porky Pig voice. At another time a character impersonates Elvis for a while... It's just weird, and this strange dichotomy makes it even weirder.

As for the effects, they are mercifully CGI-free, and while the practical monster effects are kind of silly looking, they at least had some fun with them rather than just lifting all of the fish designs directly out of Piranha along with the other stuff they took from there.

Ok, so they're actually all very silly looking.

The whole premise of this movie is that a radioactive contaminant has somehow mutated fish (a la Humanoids From the Deep), somehow reanimating long-extinct "carnivorous fish that live out of water" and ramping up their sex drives. We later find out that the sex drive doesn't immediately cause their aggression until they've been sexually provoked by people's "curious minds."

Just have a look at some of the fish fossils and let that last thought sink in.

Between the constant laughter and the quickness with which these lines are skimmed over, I actually didn't notice that this was actually a fish's rape-revenge story for the first several years I had this movie. Even though at one point later, someone asks the one crazed surviving scientist of the boat "How long have you been fucking fish?!" To which he answers "They were old enough!" For a long time I just thought that was yet another really weird dubbing anomaly, but as it turns out it is actually a plot point.

With the rape-revenge angle, it makes a lot more sense that the climax of this movie is one of the fish monsters taking over the most annoying male character, getting him to have sex with one of the girls, and then changing into a fish/hippo monster and raping her until she's full of fish eggs.

I've got no screenshot of that, and I doubt I could even get one that would do the scene justice. Instead I'll just say that if a fish/hippo monster raping someone until they're full of fish eggs sounds like something you'd like to see, just go pick up your copy of this movie. You'll love it.

Available on Amazon: Plankton

1 comment:

  1. Damn it! I had completely blocked this movie out of my mind. How could you bring Plankton back into my life?!?!? Great review, by the way.