Rosso nell’oceano [Devil Fish] (1984)

(aka; Shark: Red on the Ocean; Monster Shark; Red Ocean)

Back in 2010, amid a wave of cheap shark movies, there was brief moment of excitement over Sharktopus, a SyFy Network movie whose title had been chosen by the fans in a survey.

I suppose it sounded like a good idea at the time.

However, what most people didn’t realize was that there was already a movie featuring a Shark/octopus hybrid.

Although it may seem a lot less surprising if I point out that it was Italian.

Some unknown creature has been attacking people in a Florida seaside community: it looks like it might be the work of a shark…but then, again, it doesn’t.

And when someone finally survives an attack by the beast, we learn that it has tentacles!

Now the creature is actually part prehistoric shark, part octopus and all secret genetic experiment and what we can see of it, in the rather murky shots it appears in, looks pretty good.  We see a bit more of its jaws, which don’t look all that shark like, thanks to their rather weird teeth, and we do actually get a few fairly impressive attack scenes.

However, this doesn’t take up much of the film’s running time, so we get to follow an electronics expert and a Marine Biologist, as they try to track down the secret of the mysterious sound they heard.  We also get a sinister plot, a big corporation, several murders, thugs, a bit of nudity, and a Sheriff trying to figure it all out.

Which is all rather complex.

Devil Fish was directed by Lamberto Bava, who, yes, is Mario’s son, from a story by Luigi Cozzi (often billed as “Lewis Coates,”) who is best remembered for directing Starcrash.  Lamberto has made quite a few horror films over the years, although he never could match his father’s talent.

As usual, Devil Fish suffers from a lot of the things that plague these films, from the dubbed voices (this is typical of these Italian films as it is easier to reloop the voices than get the sound right on a location shoot — although it doesn’t help that the actors were from several different countries and spoke different languages), and indifferent film quality, to the proliferation of different names and versions of the film.

Which is also typical of the Italian films from this era, come to think of it.

As Italian B-Movie Jaws rip-offs go, it’s not bad.  There were quite a few of these films which were far better, but then, others are far worse.  Devil Fish is basically watchable, and complex enough to be interesting, as long as you are willing to accept it for what it is, flaws and all.

Although, darn it, it may mean that I have to go out and watch Sharktopus one of these days.

Oh, well.  I survived Sharknado.  I’ll be fine…

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