May 29th, 2014: Leviathan (1989)


Cast and Crew: George P. Cosmatos (Director); David Webb Peoples (Story and Screenplay); Aurelio and Luigi De Laurentiis (Producers); Jerry Goldsmith (Score); Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Ernie Hudson, Amanda Pays, Daniel Stern, Hector Elizondo, Meg Foster

What It’s About: The crew of an undersea mining operation find the wreck of a Soviet submarine.  They will be lucky to survive the horror that they salvage

Why Watch it Today?: Alien was released on this date in 1979.  Like Jaws and the Terminator, Alien spawned a cottage industry of rip-offs right through the 80s due to a fascinating (isolated crew discovers an alien creature or genetic experiment gone wrong that proceeds to pick them off one by one) premise that was also relatively cheap to copy (a few cast members, a location, and a creature) and riff upon, so we ended up with creatures in sewers, archaeological digs, various hostile Earth environments and all kinds of space ships, bases, and space stations.  Leviathan was a fairly late entry into the game with a fun cast and some decent effects by Stan Winston.  It’s not as good as its primary inspirations (there’s a strong thread of The Thing along with Alien), but is a fun B-creature feature and worth a look for fans of this sort of thing.


7 comments on “May 29th, 2014: Leviathan (1989)

  1. geelw says:

    Heh. Thank the movie gods you didn’t go with Deep Star Six, the other underwater Alien rip-off from I think the same year. I recall seeing both and being disappointed, but less so with Leviathan (must have been the Goldsmith score)…

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      I remember when they both came out; I never got around to Deep Star Six, but I saw parts of this that terrified me (more like overheard-at the time Thing style body take overs really got me), so I finally caught this last October. I think the biggest pluses are the score and the cast, while the actual story/chills isn’t all that great. It would have been 100 times better if they’d just let Ernie Hudson live.

  2. geelw says:

    Yeah, poor Ernie, lol. The guy can’t seem to get a break. Deep Star Six is just… odd to me because it tried SO hard to be scary and came up short. That, and The Abyss made all of those underwater films forgettable even though it had some flaws of its own in that original release…

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      I have never seen The Abyss, believe it or not! Re: this one, I think the fact that I had a middle school crush on Pays from The Flash probably helped a lot along with the love of character actors.

      • geelw says:

        Ah, crushes! I sat through the dopey film Boy on a Dolphin as a kid just to see Sofia Loren, so yeah, I can grasp that entirely (er, so to speak). As for The Abyss, as the kids say, WAT? Oh, you should check it out someday. Go for the extended cut, as the original version doesn’t work thanks to it feeling reigned in somewhat. Then again, the longer version is kind of excessive, but you can see it’s what Cameron wanted to show in the first place.

      • T.A. Gerolami says:

        I’ll have to put it back on my list…either the actual one I keep or the mental one. I saw some of it years and years ago but just didn’t get into it. I think now I know the cast better and would thus enjoy it more.

      • geelw says:

        Hopefully, you’re talking about The Abyss and NOT Boy on a Dolphin, heh. Anyway, you certainly want to see it from the beginning, as coming into it even after a few minutes can end up mucking up the experience. I’m surprised it’s STILL not on Blu-Ray and the last DVD version is a few years old. I guess Cameron wants to do up a special edition for the format but hasn’t the time. That and I believe it’ll be tough getting some of the cast back to discuss their experiences making the film (given the brutal shoot)…

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