DeepStar Six (1989)
What was once a crass and strange horror/sci-fi hybrid has been transformed by time in to a rather charming, crass and strange horror hybrid. The always entertaining Miguel Ferrer steals the show as Snyder, quite possibly the stupidest person to ever exist in a horror film. Over the course of the movie Snyder manages to cause two nuclear disasters. One character even goes so far as to remark Snyder must have set some kind of record for sheer incompetence. DeepStar Six came out when only high end movies could afford CGI so all of the effects here are done with models on a smoked sound stage to simulate water (same technique used in The Hunt for Red October) and the low-fi approach gives the movie a lot more charm now than it ever had upon release.
The crew of underwater Navy station DeepStar Six are in the last days of trying to place a nuclear missile platform on the bottom of the sea. One of the scientists discovers a cavern underneath the proposed site and recommends aborting. The head of the project commands the crew to blow up the cavern ceiling and place the missile platform down anyway. The project is over due by months and something-something the Navy is going to cancel them if something-something. The reasons are completely irrelevant. When the crew blows open the cavern it releases a giant crab monster from the cave that immediately attacks the team. Through Snyder’s unfortunate stupidity the DeepStar Six is badly damaged in the chaos and the crew must scramble to repair various equipment under the threat of an impending reactor meltdown while fending off the creature’s sporadic attacks.
The cast does a good job with silly material. Nearly all of them are career actors still working today (unfortunately Miguel Ferrer passed away January of 2017) and depending on how well you know your 80’s and 90’s TV there are many you will probably recognize like Greg Evigan, Nia Peeples, and Matt McCoy. Cunningham’s pedigree from Friday the 13th comes to the fore with a series of gory deaths that seem shoe-horned in to the movie to give it more blood. Falling doors crush people, one hapless hero is eviscerated, others explode. By the end it’s a toss up between how many people the creature kills and how many die through accidents or just human foolishness.
Creature feature fans should definitely check out DeepStar Six. Other than some dated 80’s touches like a gratuitous (though nudity free) shower and workout scene, the movie has aged moderately well. DeepStar Six sits right on the border line between silly and scary, delivering a some shocking kills packaged in an entertaining action-adventure that is dumb but never boring.
Note: As of this writing DeepStar Six is available on Amazon Prime.
DeepStar Six is one of six underwater movies released in 1989. The others being The Abyss, Leviathan, The Rift, Endless Descent and Lords Of The Deep. Sci-fi/horror films were exhausted by the mid 80s so directors needed a new atmosphere for their films. Something that would give people the same excitement as movies like Alien. When word was released that James Cameron was working on an underwater action film called The Abyss, producers quickly tried to jump on the new trend.
In my opinion The Abyss is still one of the most exciting sci-fi films ever made and holds the title as the best of the five. Leviathan being second and DeepStar Six coming in as third. That effect of filming underwater is called “Dry for wet” and both Leviathan and DeepStar Six pull this off. DeepStar Six is a fun film for anyone not expecting too much. It’s more a creature feature that has a hard time competing with the wrecked ship scenario. You don’t know which thing to be concerned about, the ship flooding or this giant lobster thing hunting them down. All-in-all, it’s a good film.