For movie night it was once again time for a cult classic, and this time one which ticks all the checkboxes for bad 1950 movies. We have a sexy female scientist as a love interest for our hero who really owns the “scream your lungs out damsel in distress” stereotype. A large part of the movie is filled with promotion footage the U.S. Army still had laying around on some dusty shelf. A well known city is in peril. Slow and wooden dialogs. Did I forget something… ah yeah… a giant radioactive octopus.
“It Came From Beneath The Sea” is a movie which you have to watch from a perspective in the day and age it was made. Some of the monster movies from that time still hold up, but this one, not so much. Even for that time this movie had a very low budget, which is responsible for the handful of special effect shots we get. The shots which are their were made by non other than Ray Harryhausen, so the shots of the stop-motion octopus are still quite good. But even for his doing nothing really stands out or is revolutionary.
Rumors have it that the entire movie was based around Ray Harryhausen having an octopus prop laying around. You can sum up the entire story on a napkin. In the beginning of the movie it tries to make an effort as it builds up the story with an unknown blip on a sonar making everyone question themselves what the hell is going on. But after the first encounter with the monster almost the entire remaining movie is filled with a few scientist discussing what the creature must be. Resulting in some really top notch dialogs (yeah, I’m being sarcastic there):
Prof. John Carter: Here, gentlemen, is your villain. (pointing at a fish tank with a small octopus inside it).
Naval Asst. Sec. Robert David Chase: It would take an enormous number of those to disable a Navy submarine.
Prof. Lesleyl Joyce: Or just one of enormous size, Mr. Chase
They even tried to make their view on the rising movement of women rights clear:
Prof. John Carter: Look, Pete, you don’t see many women in the Seagoing Navy.
Cmdr. Pete Mathews: Are you kidding me?
Prof. John Carter: Oh, shoreside women, sure. But there’s a whole new breed who feel they’re just as smart and just as courageous as men. And they are. They don’t like to be overprotected. They don’t like to have their initiative taken away from them.
No, “It Came From Beneath The Sea” in the end isn’t the cult classic it’s supposed to be. Harryhausens prop work can save it a little bit, but there is just to little to make it worthwhile. So, only watch it if you really enjoy the genre.
Genre: Sci-Fi / Horror
Duration: 79 minuts
Director: Robert Gordon
With: Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue and Donald Curtis
After an encounter at sea with an unknown underwater creature, a naval commander works with two scientists to identify it. The creature they are dealing with is a giant, radioactive octopus that has left its normal feeding grounds in search of new sources of replenishment. As the creature attacks San Francisco, the Navy tries to trap it at the Golden Gate Bridge but it manages to enter the Bay area leading to a final confrontation with a submarine.