Terror Beneath the Sea DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Dark Sky Films
Directed by Hajime Sato
Written by Kohichi Ohtsu based on Masami Fukushima's book
1966, Region 1 (NTSC), 79 minutes, Not rated
Sonny Chiba as Ken
Peggy Neal as Jenny
Erik Neilson as Dr. Moore
Ken (Sonny Chiba – the Street Fighter series) and Jenny (Peggy Neal) are two reporters covering a story about one of the Navy's newest torpedoes. During the testing of the torpedoes, something is seen swimming in front of one of the cameras used for monitoring the test. The Navy quickly crosses it off as a dead body (??).
The subject is quickly changed, however, when they out a dead body would most likely be floating.
Since they are good reporters, Ken and Jenny go diving in the area where the "dead body" was seen. As they are heading towards the dive spot, Ken remembers the area is close to an atomic waste facility.
Strange creatures seen swimming around an atomic waste facility is never a good sign.
During the dive, Jenny sees an underwater man-beast. Just before he tries to grab her, she manages to snap a picture, but in her haste to escape, she leaves the camera behind. The Navy officers don't believe she saw anything and insinuate she is crazy, so Ken and Jenny go diving again to retrieve the camera and prove something is down there and Jenny is not insane.
The second dive leads them to a cavern, which they immediately start exploring.
That's when they are knocked out and captured by the beasts!
When they awaken in some sort of prison chamber, they are introduced to Dr. Moore, a man intent on taking over the world with the aid of the underwater beasts—known as "water cyborgs."
Now, trapped 3,000 feet beneath the sea, Ken and Jenny must escape to save themselves. And the world.
Okay, first things first:
While Sonny Chiba gets top billing, he barely fights. He does get the top billing, because he is the star, but it's not going to be the Chiba you expect.
That said, even with the lack of fighting, although he did knock out one woman with a punch to the kidney and almost gets his tail whipped by a dorky scientist, Terror Beneath the Sea has some charm.
Dr. Moore is a villain straight out of an old James Bond flick—complete with oversized black-as-night sunglasses that never come off. He even said, "Permit me to introduce myself," when he, uh, introduced himself. I couldn't help but think of the scene in Austin Powers when Dr. Evil said, "Allow myself to introduce... myself." Good times.
While the water cyborgs seem a little goofy in their rubber suits, for seem reason they reminded me of a distant cousin of the Sleestacks from "The Land of the Lost." That was enough to creep me out on some childhood-fear level. I hated those Sleestacks.
The performances are to be expected from a monster movie of this kind. There aren't any Oscar clips here, and there is plenty of melodramatic acting, but it all fits in the grand scheme of the movie.
If there is one thing that really hurts this movie, it is the pacing. There are more than a few scenes where I reached for the remote to speed things up. A five-minute transformation from human into water cyborg is about three minutes too long. Especially when there is no dialogue, a few screams and a lot of shocked faces and stop-action special effects.
But even with the slow pacing, Sea's goofy charm makes it a fun movie to watch on a monster-movie Sunday.
Video and Audio:
The anamorphic picture is rich with color, although there are occasional signs of grain and print damage. However, as with most of their releases, Dark Sky did a great job of cleaning the movie up, considering its age and popularity.
The 2.0 soundtrack sounds a bit hollow on occasion, but it could be result of the obvious dub. The dub is not distracting, and the actor used for Chiba's voice is decent. But because of the dub, the sound is not as natural as it could be.
English subtitles are available.
While it has some nice animated menus, there is nothing offered in the way of special features. Considering the cult status of Sonny Chiba, a bio would have been nice.
Plus, with its growing catalog, Dark Sky should have thrown at least some trailers on the disc. A trailer for The Flesh Eaters would have complemented this movie nicely.
Don't let Sonny Chiba's name lead you to think he will be kicking ass and taking names, because he doesn't. But, like Dark Sky Films' other recent release, The Flesh Eaters, Terror Beneath the Sea is a fun, tongue-in-cheek B-level monster movie.