Death Ship (1980)

Ok, for the record, the movie poster is better than the actual movie…

Ma used to take me to some pretty amazing horror flicks, even when I should have been too young to go see them. I remember a movie involving a ship, thought this might be the one – it was most definitely not the one. The movie came in at 1h30m so it was not horrible to have playing while I did other things. I can multitask, if I can do nothing else.

Common thing as old horror movies are playing close by – I like the sound of them, even this bad one. There is something about the sound editing that reminds me of my younger days of constant movie watching – it is a thread within the fabric of who I am. Modern day slick productions are great and all – but it is the sounds that take me back.

iMDB Synopsis: A mysterious ghostly freighter rams and sinks a modern day cruise ship whose survivors climb aboard the freighter and discover that it is a World War II Nazi torture vessel.

My thoughts as watching….

There is nothing that says “this is the dude” like the old crotchety man that is only three days away from retirement and on his last voyage… “Thank god it’s his last trip!”

COLLISION!! OH NO!! Tell me old crotch is dead… Well, of course he isn’t.

This is more of a jump-em-out horror flick than it is intelligent suspense building. It isn’t even really the dirty naked slice and dice either. One fully clothed makeout scene on the bed and one naked death in a shower of blood. It really isn’t a solid jump-em-out either. Can you tell I will not recommend this movie to others? ha

My Dad LOVED Bemuda Triangle lore. This made me think – I cannot remember ever seeing a movie in the theater with my Dad. Always me and Ma. I have to chew on that for a while….

So on the rescue float are pretty much all crew and their family and only two guests. So much for the captain going down…. wait, where is the captain? ARrrrrrggghhhhhh He is the firstt jump-em-out and is being pulled onto the floater and is semi conscious…

They find a ship and, miraculously, there is a drop down set of stair waiting for them to board. Well, all of them but THAT guy…. HA!

The rest of the movie is old crotch being possessed by the ship’s ghosts, a bloody shower, everyone being murdered except for the new captain who was about to start his job when the accident occurred and that captain’s family (they end up saved in a raft).

Meh. Frantically meh. I would not tell you to run out to watch it or to pay to rent it but if it is on TBS on a Saturday after midnight and you are too lazy to reach your remote that you left across the room – well, sure, watch it.

Great line by the new captain’s son: “I’m scared shirtless.” His sister: “That’s shitless.”

Now, for some trivia and casting…

Alvin Rakoff: Director
John Robins: Screenplay / Jack Hill and David P Lewis: Story

Cast (in credits order)
George Kennedy : Captain Ashland
Richard Crenna:Trevor Marshall
Nick Mancuso: Nick
Sally Ann Howes: Margaret Marshall
Kate Reid: Sylvia Morgan
Victoria Burgoyne: Lori
Jennifer McKinney: Robin Marshall
Danny Higham: Ben Marshall
Saul Rubinek: Jackie
Murray Cruchley: Parsons
Doug Smith: Seaman No. 1
Anthony Sherwood : Seaman No. 2 (as Tony Sherwood)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adolf Hitler: Self (archive footage)

When the crew of the ocean liner picks up the echo of the approaching ghost ship on their radar, the close-up of the ship’s radar imagery is a reverse-image video clip of the fog-covered “Skull Island”, taken from King Kong (1976).

The footage showing the movement of the Death Ship was the result of filming from a small boat moving around it. The crew shot for about an hour before the Death Ship broke down. The rest of the required shots were achieved by faking movement, as the broken down vessel was anchored and stationary.

As the ghost ship collided with the cruise liner, brief scenes of an explosion, a grand piano falling between decks, and the engine room flooding were cut in. These scenes were from The Last Voyage (1960).

The blood used in the shower scene was not real, but the actress was told it was real, for effect. The shower scene was shot in one take because it was too expensive to clean up and reshoot.

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