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Rated R
Copyright 1979 The Pacific Trust
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Gregg - Young man with impressive sideburns, makes his living by helping Earl to con hotel guests.
  • Rachel - The hotel's public relations representative, she is falling in love with Gregg.
  • Mr. Forbes - Manager of the hotel and a complete dork, though he does spout quite a few of the film's memorable lines.
  • Earl - Alcoholic captain of a small charter boat, tends to throw beer cans at people. One day he is going to wake up with a trail of blood leading away from his bed, this will be his liver jumping ship.
  • Dr. Whiting - Research scientist specializing in deep sea fish, dies of internal injuries after the killer dolphin (whatever it is) rams him. Now even though his last words were, "Don't throw me back in, don't let it get me." the other main characters tie explosives to his dead body so they can blow up the fish.
  • Iris Lee - English playmate who ends up as fish food. I think the UK version of Playboy must have some quality problems.
  • The Hotel Guests and Tourists - Plenty of stereotypes here, we have the soused couple, the arguing older couple, a Japanese guy with a samurai sword, and two young lovers who just want to be alone. Some of these people end up getting eaten.
  • The Fish - Depending on which prop they used it looks like either a killer dolphin or maybe a porpoise. The monster is bulletproof as an armored car and absolutely voracious. I mean this thing was hungry, did it have a tapeworm or something? Blown to bits by explosives.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Sometimes as the video rewinder is humming away and I'm shutting off the TV a stray thought hits me. Sometimes my wife hits me. On rare occasions both of these occur. The film in question caused the latest case of domestic violence and my own thoughtfulness; give me a moment and I'll explain.

What demon of hell dreamed this script up?

Okay, all better.

The remote beaches of Mahu are every vacationer's paradise, with a luxury hotel and local merchants to satisfy their every need. Unfortunately both are just out to milk the tourists for their cash, though Mr. Forbes (representing the hotel) and Earl (representing, heck I don't know, rum?) hate each other. Even when unusual ocean currents carry a killer fish into the waters surrounding Mahu the feud does not end. The intrepid Mr. Forbes offers a generous reward to anyone who can destroy the beast and save his floundering hotel. This prompts a jaw dropping scene as hotel guests grab decorative spears off the walls and march out to do battle, despite the fact that everyone has seen 5.56mm rifle bullets and shotgun slugs bounce off the thing. Earl takes a more active role, he loads up the boat with alcohol and ammunition to kill it himself, which is little more than another excuse for him to throw beer at people and get drunk.

Ultimately Gregg and Rachel turn Whiting into a boobytrapped snack for the saltwater terror to gnaw on, which let the special effects engineer use his remaining red dye (evidently they purchased about ten gallons too much) and explosive charge to represent the departing fish.

When the monster attacks we are treated to perfect lessons in celluloid chaos, with multiple half-second flashes of something going on. What they do is use several shots of someone shaking a piece of raw meat underwater, then a red dye pack is dumped into the mix. This happens about half a dozen times, just in case you are too dense to catch on the first five instances. Things are hardly helped by the apparent use of dubbing throughout the film, but perhaps being able to hear the dialog clearly is a mixed blessing.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Women prefer to go diving in shorts and white t-shirts.
  • Kids carry glasses while swimming in the ocean so they can drink seawater.
  • Ancient samurai swords, inlaid with jade and ivory, are worth less than one thousand dollars.
  • If a woman acts stunned and upset she is probably pregnant.
  • Sailors have a very dim view of mother-in-laws.
  • Fish like bubblegum.
  • Scrawny bald men should not try to act threatening, especially while wearing palm leaf hats.
  • Small island harbor masters are armed with assault rifles.
  • Flamethrowers are not very effective against fish.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Foreshadowing?
  • 4 mins - Dare you to drink that.
  • 7 mins - Why don't you just dive under the water to wash it off?
  • 24 mins - The killer fish just grabbed him in about three feet of water?
  • 24 mins - Notice how he carefully deposited the camera on top of the rock as he was pulled under; saltwater would have ruined it.
  • 33 mins - No Flipper, no!
  • 41 mins - There are no sharks in the water surrounding Hawaii? What?
  • 43 mins - Padding the film...
  • 48 mins - All those kids splashing and swimming around, so it attacks and eats the boat?
  • 52 mins - How far away were they from Iris' boat again, maybe a few hundred yards? This is pure idiocy.
  • 56 mins - Why is everyone running, who set that on fire, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
  • 66 mins - No way he could hear what she is saying from that distance.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note updepths1.wav Rachel: "You know, you and your unspeakable uncle are gonna have to stop conning our guests."
Gregg: "Rachel be fair, you con 'em, we can con 'em!"
Green Music Note updepths2.wav Earl: "Stop by the ship and we'll bleach your kidneys out with some fine old rum."
Green Music Note updepths3.wav Rachel: "There's something out there."
Some Guy: "Sharks?"
Forbes: "Sharks? There are no sharks in the Hawaiian Archipelago!"
Green Music Note updepths4.wav Forbes: "We've all heard that we've been terrorized by what some people say is a sea monster. Hahahaha! Well I say it's only a fish and we're not going to be intimidated by a fish!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipupdepths1.mpg - 2.2m
Bullets can't stop it!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1]
Up from the Depths
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by MegaZeo
I had first seen this movie a few months back, and I was stunned. How could anything be this bad? The "killer fish/shark/whatever" effects were terribly bad, but not even bad enough to be fun. For a moment I wondered why this was never done by "Mystery Science Theater 3000," but then I realized it was probably too boring. This makes "Plan 9 From Outer Space" look like an academy award-winner!
Up from the Depths
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Joe the Photog
I played the photographer in this adventure epic.  It was worse, much worse, than you think.  However, I believe the Bottoms in \\"Up From the Depths\\" is the brother of Tim Bottoms, who was, I think, in "Apocolypse Now".  "Apocolypse" was also filmed in the Philippines in the '70's; that's another story.

Time permitting, I'll post some stories from the filming of this Corman classic.  The driver of the profile fish who crashed it into the reef, fell out and put his hand on a lion fish, for instance, or the Budweiser cans which were full of sand because a full beer can was too expensive.

It truly was an experience to remember, and to keep me away from Hollywood forever more.

Joe Cantrell

Up from the Depths
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Chadzilla
I remember the newspaper ads for this killer fish *ahem* epic way back in the late seventies, they featured a blonde in a bikini about to be swallowed whole by the titular beastie.  The cover box art for the Warner Bros Home Video release of Piranha featured the same blonde in a bikini, this time with a giant piranha about to swallow her whole.  Roger Corman is incapable of wasting money on anything.  Needless to say I wanted to see this movie for the fish.  Luckily I did not see it until Vestron Video released it many, many years later (and even then I avoided it because a friend of mine hated it so much).

The primary reason that I finally saw this movie is that I LOVE monster movies more than anything, Charles Griffith (the writer behind such Corman classics as The Little Shop of Horrors and others) wrote and directed it, so I wasn't surprised at all by the broad comedy (in fact if this movie had been played straight it would have been far, far worse).

If you want some serious pain then try sitting through the "comedy" Smokey Bites the Dust.  It was also made by Griffith (I think) and features the guy who played the hotel manager as a hapless deputy that gets coated in manure and almost decapitated by some wild arabian guy (if I am recalling the movie clearly, I saw it on HBO when I was a kid and my memory can be fuzzy on things like that).  One of the Van Patton boys (I think it's Jimmy) plays the lead.  Who boy is that movie ever BAAAAAAD!
Up from the Depths
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Dave
This movies is so bad ya gotta love it!
I actually have the radio spots that they used to promote the movie and the presskit!
Just think another 20 years from now and that stuff we'll be worth $$$ LOL
Anywayz wanna bet there will be a
Up from the Depths 2?
Up from the Depths
Reply #5. Posted on October 11, 2006, 05:29:14 AM by Tyler
I bought up from the depths on DVD! RELLY RARE DUDE! Its so cool and cheesy love it
Re: Up from the Depths
Reply #6. Posted on August 12, 2007, 10:37:55 PM by hmarx20
Can you tell me where you got the DVD for this movie? I am looking for the Region 2 release on DVD.
Re: Up from the Depths
Reply #7. Posted on August 13, 2007, 05:47:27 AM by Andrew
Can you tell me where you got the DVD for this movie? I am looking for the Region 2 release on DVD.

The reference I see for a DVD release is here:

It appears to be a Japanese DVD.  The review goes on to say that online retailers list is as the alternate title "Jurassic Jaws."   If you plug that and "DVD" into Google, you get some pages.  It looks to have limited availability and rather expensive for a low-budget horror film.
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