Thursday, December 1, 2016

"I Have Fire in my Veins" - Creatures from the Abyss (1994) - Part 3 of 3


This is Part 3 of our discussion of Creatures from the Abyss. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Previously, our group of five twenty-somethings were stranded on the ship Oceanographic Research Institute with one surviving chemist. Julie sneaked into Bobby's cabin to spend some alone time with him.


Thus begins one of the film's signature scenes, the lovemaking scene between Julie and Bobby. It starts innocently. "Oh, Bobby, you're terrific," she says.

"I have fire in my veins," he replies--what young man hasn't said the same in his position?

It is fortunate Julie keeps her eyes closed during sex, because Bobby begins to transform. A massive fish head emerges from his mouth. One of his eyes pops out and falls into Julie's mouth. Tentacles burst from Bobby's back and wrap around Julie's legs as this creature--from the abyss, no less--continues to have sex with Julie.

   

Mike and Margaret hear the commotion and race to the cabin. When they briefly see the abomination inside, Mike loads a tiny harpoon gun with a trident and kicks in the door. But when they enter the room, there is only Julie's unconscious body on the bed, and no sign of the monster.

Mike searches the room. The creature has apparently used some kind of acidic saliva to burn through the wall and escape.

There is a reaction shot from the six-foot stuffed polar bear.

Mike moves on to the head. Astonishingly, they see Bobby inside, ready to take a shower--he appears to be back to normal, though a snaking tentacle behind his leg keeps the viewer suspicious that he might not be completely recovered.

Mike, Margaret, and Julie return to the living area, where Dr. Dewison is preparing something in a hypodermic needle that he slips into his pocket.

With everyone on edge and nothing to be done until daylight, they return again to their cabins.

In a scene that could not be considered one of the film's signatures, Margaret goes to the head but the computerized facilities revolt against her. The toilet lid flaps up and down, the sink doesn't work, and the toilet paper roll dispenses far too much paper. Margaret stares down the drain in the sink when suddenly a tentacle bursts out and strangles her.


The situation is quickly resolved when Mike hears Margaret's cries and uses a conveniently placed straight razor to cut through the tentacle.

Dorothy, who, you might remember, has been sleeping after experiencing stomach pains from eating bad fish, is now having even worse discomfort. A different creature--though presumably also from the abyss--emerges on a stalk from the back of Dorothy's head and threatens Mike with its tiny lobster claws.

   

This creature begins to speak English, though its words are mostly garbled and indecipherable.

Instead of harming Mike, it turns its attention to Dorothy, its host, and starts to crush her head while somehow ejecting a smaller fish out of her mouth.


The others escape the room. While Mike goes to the basement to find some way of destroying all the monsters, Julie complains of stomach cramps and starts punching herself in the stomach. The viewer realizes that she has been impregnated by the monster that was Bobby.

In another of the film's grotesque scenes, Julie ejects a mass of fish eggs from her bikini bottom. "My babies," she says to the roe. "Mommy loves you. Just like Daddy."

In the basement, Mike floods the engine room with fuel and prepares to light it with a candle, but he did not count on the reappearance of Bobby, now completely transformed into a tentacled fish monster rendered in beautiful stop-motion animation.

   

Mike lures Bobby into a smaller room and escapes through some kind of window. He returns upstairs just as lightning strikes the Oceanographic Research Institute, causing a blackout.

A computer voice somehow knows the ship will explode in five minutes. It starts a countdown to destruction. "Danger!" the computer says. "Stop screwing around! Evacuate!"

Mike and Margaret get the chemist and start climbing the stairs to the open deck, but they are delayed by the chemist's inability to walk normally, and then by Margaret being overcome by her own transformation due to the scratches she received previously.

Margaret turns the spear gun on herself, killing herself and stopping the transformation.

Dr. Clark Dewison is killed when Bobby reappears in the lab in all his fish-monster, action figure glory.


Mike gives up and jumps off the vessel just as it explodes.


The sole survivor, Mike finds a life preserver and floats through the flaming wreckage. Unfortunately for him, he fails to see the fish embryos and eyeballs also floating in the wreckage...that is, until one of them rockets through the water toward him in a loving homage to the final scene of the original The Evil Dead. His scream is the last thing we hear.



As ever, I cannot fathom why the critics of your universe so undervalue Creatures from the Abyss. I find it fishy that the film was met with such stern critical disapproval on such a scale. Creatures from the Abyss is leagues ahead of its nautical-horror competition: Anchored by energetic performances from its young cast and drowning in shocking makeup effects--not to ignore the ever-present lure of fish sex—the film is quite deep. Belaying its low budget, the film has much going on below the surface. Despite its obvious qualities, the film failed to hook most critics.

While it might be considered ungracious to carp about such things, the crabby critics spewing bilge about this film should, I venture to say, clam up. The reasons behind the critics' stern opinions of the film baffle me. Perhaps there are no reasons. Perhaps they just express such opinions for the hell of it.


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