Thursday, February 14, 2013

THE SEA SERPENT (1984) movie review

Sea Serpent, The (aka Hydra) (1984) d. di Ossorio, Amando (Spain)

After U.S. Forces drop a bomb into the Atlantic during a training exercise off the coast of Portugal, a giant slumbering sea serpent is awakened from its centuries-long slumber. Mayhem and hilarity ensue. The only thing faker than the titular menace, which rivals Reptilicus for sheer goofy monster puppetry, are the horrendous acting stylings of garishly miscast WASP Timothy Bottoms as a crusty sea salt tough guy captain (named Pedro, no less!) and Taryn Power’s fetching socialite, whose facial expressions upon seeing her American friend gobbled up resemble that of a heartburn sufferer.

Blind Dead impresario Amando di Ossorio directs under the non-de-plume of Graham Green, an apt pseudonym considering how much recycling he does: In addition to repeating the same shot of the watery beastie rising out of the water with its ear-shattering shriek over and over again, he lifts John Williams’ Jaws theme nearly note for note as well as the lighthouse scene from Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Ray Milland, in his final big screen role, seems to be enjoying himself (or at least his overseas working vacation), though one can still sense the “I used to be an Oscar winner” wistfulness in his eyes as he attempts to outsmart the dragon of the damp.

Semi-noteworthy in the annals of giant monster movies for the fact that our overgrown sock puppet is allowed to survive past the final credits.

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