(Canada/UK - 1980)
Directed by Alvin Rakoff. Written by John Robins. Cast: George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Nick Mancuso, Sally Ann Howes, Kate Reid, Saul Rubinek, Victoria Burgoyne, Jennifer McKinney, Danny Higham. (R, 91 mins)
DEATH SHIP is probably better known for its chillingly effective poster art than for the film itself, though it does have a devoted following. A ubiquitous presence on cable, late-night TV, and video store shelves throughout the 1980s, DEATH SHIP has some occasionally striking bits of atmosphere and two memorable death scenes that became minor classics with horror fans, but for the most part, it's really nothing spectacular, and it's hobbled by some clumsy direction, sloppy editing, and an unwillingness to cut loose and exploit its more outrageous elements. DEATH SHIP has certainly achieved cult classic status, but it might be a case where it's more about sentimentality for a bygone era than anything inherently "great" about the film itself. DEATH SHIP seemed to constantly be on TV when we were kids, so it's a film that a lot of horror fans--myself included--saw during an influential and formative period in their lives. This was one of those movies that a lot of us cut our teeth on and, as is often the case, the way it exists in your memory is perhaps a lot more satisfying than the reality.
|The great Richard Crenna (1926-2003)|