“You want me to tell the whole world that I’ve got problem? Well, if I don’t tell the world, then I don’t have a problem.”
An underwater earthquake opens up a rift in the bottom of the ocean. Dr. David Whiting and his assistant Sandy are out on the ocean. Sandy makes a dive doing some calculations while David says in the boat. A huge pre-historic fish is released from the rift and eats Sandy.
Not too long after that people parts and a shark head show up on the shores of a fancy resort. The resort owner, Oscar Forbes (Kedric Wolfe) thinks the people parts are chum.
Later local con artist Greg Oliver (Sam Bottoms) and his uncle Earl Sullivan (Virgil Frye) are taking a client, Ed Bennett (Chuck Doherty), out looking for sunken treasure. While diving, their hired hand gets eaten by the big fish.
Not long after that Rachel McNamara (Susanne Reed), who works for Oscar, is out along the shore with one of the guests of the resort. He gets eaten. A model and photographer are also on the menu and anyone else that gets in the way.
Since there are no police on the island, Oliver, Dr. Whiting and Rachel report their missing people to the Harbor Master, Nieberg (Pete Cooper), as drownings. The harbor master calls the police on another island but it will be a couple days before they can get there. The harbor master goes looking for the fish. When the fish heads for shore everyone goes running out of the water. The harbor master gets eaten in front of the guests. Everyone scrambles to get away until Oscar offers $1000 for the fish. Now everyone is a deep sea hunter, and lunch.
“Up From the Depths” was released in 1979 and was directed by Charles B. Griffith. Roger Corman was an executive producer for the film. Roger never met box office hit that he couldn’t un-improve on. After “Jaws” 1975 was released everybody wanted to do a giant fish movie. Roger was no exception. Roger did many of them.
Director Charles Griffith shot and edited the movie in Manila. Griffith thought he was making an action movie. Apparently the Philippines people made this giant fish monster and according to Griffith it looked goofy. Out goes the adventure/Horror film and in comes the comedy/horror film. When Griffith was done he sent the completed film to Roger.
Griffith flew back on a different plane. By the time he got back Roger had already cut seventy-five minutes of the film and reshot stuff adding more blood and taking out comedy to bring it back to just a horror movie. It didn’t work. It seems that the writers of the screenplay had never written anything before and the monster was so dumb looking that Roger had Robert Short create a new monster for the close-ups, however, the replacement monster was too heavy and hard to work with. Add to that Roger’s cut and paste and you have a trifecta, bad screenplay, bad special effects and bad editing.
What I saw of the fish wasn’t really that bad. Of course what I saw was the new monster. I would have liked to have seen more big bad fish. I think there were more boob shots than views of the fish. Not that there were a lot of boob shots either. Roger was slipping in that respect. Only one woman showed her boobs and there was one girl in a wet T-shirt, and that one was underwater. I think that if the movie had more boobs and if Roger hadn’t taken out all the intended humor “Up From the Depths” might have been a cult film. Now it just might slip into obscurity.