Video | Review by Dan Taylor
I rented this from a video
store a few towns away which boasts the
largest XXX-rated selection in the county.
Yes, they do have an enormous repetoire
of flicks like INVASION OF THE SAMURAI SLUTS
FROM HELL and A FISTFUL OF BIMBOS, but they
also have a fine selection of low-grade
exploitation that could only be referred
to as "normal" in a store where
"Transsexual Films" have their
While sleazing through one
night we stumbled upon DEVILFISH, a quaint
little French-Italian co-production which
tells the tale of a "shark with tentacles"
that is terrorizing the waters off the Southern
Florida coast. If it sounds like a JAWS
rip-off in the PIRANHA/UP FROM THE DEPTHS
school of exploitation you're absolutely
correct. However, what sets DEVILFISH apart
from the usual low-grade, sleazy Italian
fare (quickly becoming my fav genre) is
the people behind the camera: the script
was co-written by Lewis Coates (aka Luigi
Cozzi), and the directorial chores were
handled by none other than Lamberto Bava
(under the pseud "John Old, Jr.").
With talent like this involved you figure
that the flick has to have something to
But what is it about these
Italians? Are they so intent on out-doing
Hollywood flicks that they try to compensate
with an overblown story requiring 10 times
the budget they have? Yeah, I guess that's
it...Overambition Without a Clue...that
about sums up the whole Italian Experience.
In DEVILFISH, Bava and Company
have constructed a whacked, confusing and
out-of-control story that has all the elements
of JAWS (marine bio-experts, a hi-tech boat,
dismemberment) along with a subplot about
espionage and genetic engineering that left
our brains totally in its wake. As one character
says, "The only thing that's screwed
up is your head." Never have truer
words been spoken.
Despite its inanities, the
flick left me with a great sense of respect
for the Bavster. DEVILFISH has zero story
despite three screenwriters and he knows
it. So, he overloads the movie with slow-mo
glimpses of the Devilfish, hot babbage,
silly soap opera bits, intelligent parts
that had to be accidents, and a shitload
of scenes where the main characters are
sucking down Buds! After awhile you stop
laughing because it's just too good.
Bava builds what suspense
he can until the heroes corner the 40 foot
long Devilfish in two feet of water (you
figure it out!) and set the thing on fire.
One Question: Why doesn't it just submerge?
For fans of Italian cinema