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Media Blasters presents

Creatures from the Abyss (1994)

Dorothy: "What are you looking at those disgusting creatures for?"
Margaret: "But Dorothy, they're just fish."
Dorothy: "They frighten me. They have an evil expression."- Loren De Palm, Sharon Twomey

Stars: Clay Rogers, Sharon Twomey
Other Stars: Michael Bon, Loren De Palm, Ann Wolf
Director: Al Passeri

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (horror violence, sexuality and nudity)
Run Time: 01h:25m:49s
Release Date: 2001-08-28
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- C-C+D+ C-


DVD Review

Creatures From The Abyss is the fishy 1994 release from director Al Passeri, the man who would eventually unleash such low-brow gore classics as Satan Claus (1996), Hellinger (1997) and Necrodemon (1999). With a story about an alien life form of sorts that moves from person to person that borrows conceptually from The Thing, Creatures From The Abyss doesn't waste much time moving its five characters (more aging "teens") into deadly peril, this time aboard an abandoned oceanographic research ship.

After accidently leaving their gas can back on the beach, the "teens" run out of petrol during a late night thunderstorm that disturbs their wild carousing. The group literally float into the aforementioned abandoned research ship, and quickly climb aboard to seek shelter. The ship apparently is some type of high-tech research vessel, but it comically features some surreal decorating touches, such as the giant motion activated fish clock that speaks in a high-pitched, helium-tinged female voice, or the Austin Powers-ish shagadelic bedrooms. I'm not sure exactly what type of scientists were on board, but their decorating tastes are in need of help.

As the "teens" explore their new surroundings, as well as the notes left behind by the missing crew, the crux of the thin plot are revealed. There is the discovery a new breed of deep water carnivorous fish that can live, conveniently, out of water. We're told it has "mobile eyes," which I guess accounts for the various low-angle shots which are supposed to a fish-eye view of the world. Plankton (which was the original title for this film) tainted by radioactivity has produced a whole slew of scaly mutant creatures, some of which are sexually aggressive, and all of which are exceedingly violent.

As each of the group slowly become infected after eating some bad fish (just go with it, ok?), Passeri is free to toss out some spirited, but ultimately dated, special effects. A nasty vomit sequence, in which one of the characters literally heaves directly onto the camera, was particularly unpleasant, so avoid eating any Chunky clam chowder during this one. As things progress from bad to worse for the group (as if flying flesh-eating fish weren't bad enough), a man-to-fish transformation occurs during a hot and heavy lovemaking session, which results in a rouge eyeball popping noisily into the girl's mouth.

I'll credit Passeri, along with Richard Baumann, with writing an entertaining B-movie concept for Creatures From The Abyss, even if it's not 100% original. Unfortunately, the robotic acting styles of the "teens" generates more laughs than probably originally intended, and immediately drop this film into it's own abyss of truly bad acting. The "teens" are laughably monosyllabic and extremely annoying. I can sometimes forgive a horror with either bad effects or bad acting, but the presence of both make it exceedingly difficult to tolerate.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: For a very low-budget horror flick, this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer doesn't look too bad. A few specks here and there, as well as some grain, but overall a fairly clean print. Colors are undersaturated, but consistent for the duration. Much of the film has a rather soft focus, and as a result any real contrast is minimized. It's unusual to find any of these cheapo horror titles with noticeably impressive image transfers, and Creatures From The Abyss is really no worse than most.

All in all, not a bad transfer. Just not an exceptional one.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: With what appears to be an extremely bad dub, the available mono track on this disc doesn't offer any aural satisfaction at all. My biggest complaint is that screams and loud voices tend to clip and distort badly, which I always find distracting. However, when dialogue is spoken in normal tones, everything sounds as good as mono can sound.

Audio Transfer Grade: D+ 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Demonia, Biozombie, Misa The Dark Angel
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
  2. Scream Scenes
Extras Review: The extras, at first glance, look promising. On further review, they're just so-so:

Director Interview (02m:03s)
An interview, admittedly a very short one, with director Al Passeri, surrounded by creature props from the film. Passeri, with his thick Italian accent, answers a few generic questions from an off-camera questioner, and at one point flubs an answer. It was apparently supposed to be edited from the final interview, because Passeri has the interviewer repeat the question and he just starts all over again as if nothing happened.

Scream Scenes
A special menu option that allows viewers to select 6 of the film's most graphic horror scenes directly. I like the concept.

Photo Gallery
10 less than memorable color stills from the film.

3 low-budget horror epics (Demonia, Biozombie and Misa The Dark Angel) are featured in the trailer gallery.

Extras Grade: C-

Final Comments

Creatures From The Abyss features killer fish that can live on land, infect humans, and turn them into flesh-eating mutants. I laughed out loud a few times, so I guess that says something.

This is a rental for the very curious only.

Rich Rosell 2001-12-14