Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Death Ship (1980)

Okey, Death Ship dosen't begin good. There's some a very cheesy boat-collision with stockfootage from at least three movies. Different ages, different qualities. Not good edited either. The acting seems a bit hammy at first, but as soon as the ship has sunken and the main characters is aboard the life raft this movie is turning quite good. Yes, I'm talking about Death Ship. Written by Jack Hill and directed by Alvin Rakoff.

After a while the people in the raft, among them an excellent George Kennedy as Captain Ashland and Richard Crenna as his co-captain Marshall, who will be taking over the ship after this journey. Ashland really hates people and sees the boat as his life. But this means that he dosen't care shit about other people, something that gotten him fired. Suddenly, from nowhere, a big rusty old ship comes sailing and they climb aboard. It's like a museum piece, with cobwebs and rust everywhere... and soon they realise that this ship is alive. It want to hurt people, and soon it's taken control over the bitter Ashland. 

Marshall and his family must now both fight the ship... and the crazy Ashland!

First of all: it's wonderful to see George Kennedy playing a such unpleasant characters. He's a bastard. A bitter, evil bastard that you just want to drop dead. But he dosen't. He starts to fuck around with the lives of his co-stars, and hearing german voices that tells him what to do. Great work from a very underrated actor. Crenna is the typical hero and the rest of the actors are good, but not fantastic. Saul Rubinek, as a shortlived role as the ships entertainer. He dies fast. 

But the first half is kinda slow, it shows it's low budget and there's a lot of scenes that just are there to make the movie longer. But then something happens, the ship's going more crazy and we have a very gritty and brutal ghost-story set in an amazing location. The ship looks scary, and I'm sure it's not that much set designed involved. This is a rusty old ghost ship they found, and it's works great. 

No, there's not much graphic violence - which is a pity, but the few scenes of violence is nasty and works fine. The famous shower of blood is cool of course, and offers some nudity of those who appreciated that. I haven't checked all the extras on the R2-release, but it looks like fantastic release. The documentary has a lot of the people involved talking honestly, even Mr Kennedy - who looks like he's dressed liked a black basketball-player or something. 

A nice little movie. Not fantastic, but worth watching more than once.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review! I always loved Deathship as a kid and jumped at the chance after seeing it had been re-released on DVD! Unfortunately the distributor lost the original print and the only copy they could find was located at the British Film Institute. However, given what they were working with they did as good a job as they could. An underrated cult film.