Joe D’Amato, Raffaele Donato, 1989
Starring: Frank Baroni, Allen Cort, Keith Kelsch, James Camp
Alas. Here we are at the very bottom of the barrel of Italian Jaws rip offs. This is the sort of drivel that has made it difficult for me to go on with animals attack month. I’m not exaggerating. I love trashy, bad movies -- I’ve already mentioned that William Girdler’s Grizzly is one of my favorites -- but there is something demoralizing about watching a series of movies in a row that are all increasingly worse versions of the same film. There are a few more, but this is the end for me. I simply cannot watch another Italian shark film after this. You win, Joe D’Amato.
Even though he’s directed a lot of trash, I actually like Joe D’Amato. I have watched and enjoyed Beyond the Darkness, Anthropophagus, Death Smiles at a Murderer, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, Ator the Flying Eagle, his Emanuelle series, and especially his nunsploitation film Images in a Convent. I don’t know what happened here, but I just couldn’t enjoy Deep Blood aka Squali aka Sangue negli abissi. You have to consider that this is the same man responsible for Ator the Flying Eagle 2, one of the worst films I have ever seen, and yet it is wildly entertaining. Deep Blood is just not. Not at all.
Raffaele Donato also has a directing credit and thus shares some of D’Amato’s shame. This is Donato’s only film, though he produced two Martin Scorsese documentaries, My Voyage to Italy and A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. I’m not sure what he and D'Amato were thinking with this plot. It’s certainly a riff on Jaws -- a large, killer shark assaults a seaside town and must be stopped -- but there are all kinds of weird subplots that are frustrating and tiresome. As I said earlier, this could be so bad it’s spectacular, like Ator 2, but instead it is just incredibly boring. Four kids on the beach receive an ancient artifact from a mysterious Native American. This artifact will allow them to track down a the murderous shark that is soon unleashed upon the shores. They have to hunt the shark themselves, because the authorities don’t believe them, yadda yadda yadda.
This is not available on DVD (except for a weird Czech print, I think) and is somewhat difficult to locate, which is why I added it to my list of killer shark films, but don’t bother. The pace is slow, there’s more talk than action, bad acting, bad dialogue, and an insignificant amount of time actually in the water pursuing the shark. The death scenes are dull and the gore is unsatisfying. The shots of the shark seem to be stock footage or shots from inside an aquarium. Allegedly some of the underwater photography is from Great White.
I can’t write about this anymore, but don’t waste your time. The bizarre thing is that the Bruno Mattei Jaws rip off, Cruel Jaws, actually lifted a few scenes from Deep Blood. Why would you ever want to use part of this?