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4.0 out of 5 stars
Death Ship [1980] [DVD]
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is for the film only, not the listed DVD release.
I saw this many moons ago, late night on ITV. As far as I know it has never recieved another terrestrial showing. To be honest, all I had remembered from when I had seen it originally was the notorious blood shower scene and the net full of corpses.
It is an interesting film as it starts off looking like its going to become a disaster movie as we meet our main protagonists. The weary Captain on his last voyage, the young pretender taking his crown, the usual cutesy kids and a couple of characters with 'victim' stamped on their forehead. However, once the cruise liner is rammed by the mysterious boat, and our small group of survivors cast adrift, find the same mysterious ship and climb aboard, the film settles down nicely becoming a fine, atmospheric supernatural horror, with the emphasis very much on creating a feeling a dread over disgusting its audience.
Okay, the acting is a bit ropey at times, with George Kennedy having a whale of a time hamming it up mercilessly as the possessed Captain, but the scenes that show the ship steering itself and attacking the uninvited guests are very eerie indeed. I would recommend it to those who like the more recent films Ghost Ship and Triangle, as I feel both owe a small debt to this film. Enjoy it for what it is, an enjoyable if a little slow moving 1980's B-movie and you'll find plenty to entertain you.
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on 13 July 2013
very gory for the 1980; George Kennedy plays a captain of a cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean when a mysterious vessel crashes into them The seven survivors board mysterious vessel and find out it war time vessel. Its a great film its like the shining on sea the actors are great fie out of five
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Like at least one other reviewer here the lurid cover art of Death Ship drew me in as young, impressionable boy standing in the local dodgy video store in the early eighties shortly before many of the horror and exploitation films therein were whipped from our shelves by the fledgling BBFC and consigned to that cinematic void that lurks somewhere between obscurity and cult-fame.

Of course the over-zealous authorities did us a favour really. Ridding the shelves of films that in many cases were utter dross, propelled forward by enticing cover art. However there were some diamonds among the dung, Death Ship being a particularly shiny one, and it truly is a mystery how such a great film remained almost completely unavailable and unknown until it's recent repackaging and rerelease.

Despite a few B-movie clangers like the ridiculous day/night differential in the opening scenes Death Ship isn't true horror trash. For a start, it's got a famous-ish cast including George Kennedy, Richard Crenna and not to mention that bloke who went on to play Donnie in Frasier! But the area in which this film really sets itself apart is the set. The Death Ship in reality, I understand, was a decommissioned Canadian freighter of some description (albeit from the sixties rather than the forties) and most of the movie was filmed either on the decks or in the vessel's actual interior. It certainly looks the part with the ship's black, rust streaked exterior and grim, outdated interior brilliantly telling the tale of a Nazi interrogation ship given a life of it's own by the ghosts of it's past.

As the eerie first half of the film gives way to the helter skelter second half there are some truly sinister moments with the old woman's disfigurement at the hands of some innocent looking candies ranking as particularly shocking as was Nick Mancuso's wretched demise in the ship's flooded hold.

Rather less impactful was the supposedly infamous shower scene in which the gorgeous Victoria Burgoyne takes a bloody shower. The reality is however, overlong and sightly tedious.

I guess I could complain a little bit about the lack of answers provided. For example what was with all the frozen sailors and airmen? Were they poor unfortunates the ship had picked up for interrogation during the Second World War? But perhaps I should be grateful that the Death Ship just sailed off into cinematic obscurity rather than ruin it's poise by spelling every single thing out to the audience.

In short, this is a cracking horror yarn that deserves to take it's rightful place in the annals of history.
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on 29 May 2013
Realistic and believable- action packed and special effects are very well done-was full of suspense and still good after all these years.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2006
A Cruise Ship goes horribly wrong when a world war two German Tanker "Death Ship". One of those Movies you would see in the video shop in the 1980s, Where the cover would normally look better than the film was! I admitterly when i first saw this was somewhat disappointed but as years go on it still stuck in my head! I managed to obtain a copy a little while ago and thought this wasn't a bad film! Watch it the right time around midnight and its really good!

Buy this one just for the shear "hell" of it! Plus its Cult now!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2008
I had never seen Death Ship until it came out on DVD but curiosity plus affection for 1980's horror movies compelled me to give it a spin! Basically the story is of a small group of survivors whose cruise ship is rammed by a malevolent old vessel & although they are initially relieved to have survived they soon discover the danger is not over: there doesn't seem to be anyone alive on board. It turns out that this ship was once crewed by Nazi's and carries their ghosts with it supposedly searching for victims. Well, that's a bit simplistic but what follows is 1980's fun - the anti social Captain whose character has been established in the opening scenes becomes demonically possessed (incidentally he's the only one to become possessed)& attempts to prevent anyone leaving the ship : the first one to die is played by Saul Rubinek ( he appeared years later in the TV series `Frasier' but was honing his obnoxious persona in Death ship & I'm sure audiences at the time cheered when he met his Maker) - there's a homage to Hitchcock in a blood in the shower scene (no knife involved) & the poor victim's naked blood covered corpse gets thrown into the ocean by that accursed Captain! Next for the high jump is Nick Mancuso who has an unpleasant encounter with a bunch of skeletons whilst trapped in a gigantic fish net !When the Captain finally gets what coming to him it must have prompted more cheers from 1980's cinema audiences! The surviving family (Mum, Dad & 2 kids) eventually make it off the ship but is this the last we'll see of the haunted ship? I won't spoil it by giving away the ending! Viewers may have to fill in some of the narrative gaps - for example, are we to assume that this ghost / death ship has been cruising around crewless since World War 2 & is the fact that the only one to become possessed is the old misery of a Captain from the cruise liner who may have been a Nazi in a previous life? Still, this is a horror film & one should possibly invoke the tag line of "it's only a movie"!
The DVD kicks off with a tantalizing montage of other Nucleus films releases but now to the Special Features - in depth interviews with director Alvin Rakoff, actors George Kennedy and Nick Mancuso & a real bonus is the contribution of the legendary Jack Hill - yes, the man who gave you Pam Grier's finest hour as Foxy Brown ! You can also read pages from the original script which underwent several title changes & there are even deleted scenes included in the extras! It seems that the producers acquired an old ship which was due to be scrapped & you can almost smell it -they must have saved a bundle by filming interiors on the ship rather than building studio sets!
A great evening's entertainment & highly recommended to schlock fans (that'd be me!)
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on 11 September 2014
BRILLIANT FILM
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 31 January 2009
A large, dark ship haunted by nazi ghosts, travels the seas in search of victims. The ship has a mind of it's own thus a "freak" collision means a cruise ship's passengers are the next victims. There is a good yet small cast in the movie which has plenty of atmosphere but very little horror, blood or gore. The budget for the film was obviously tiny and most of it was spent on hiring the recognizable names in the cast (George Kennedy and Richard Crenna). Fans of low budget 80's horror will find it appealing but don't be expecting too much. However it does it's best to create an eerie atmosphere and give the ship a presence. Only worth picking up on the cheap.
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2007
Yes, I'm a sucker for a good horror yarn especially if it's one I missed the first time round, and the cover for this dvd drew me in like a moth to a flame. Sadly, this moth got burnt. Though I really can't fault the actors in this low-budget affair, I have to say the story begins to fall apart after 6 minutes of boarding the ghost ship. The shower scene just seems shoe-horned in so that we can see a pretty naked body covered in blood, and George Kennedy's descent into madness comes across as: "we can't show you ghosts due to the budget so we'll have one of the survivors become the bogeyman instead."

What's really sad is that there's a good horror film in here trying to get out, and one can only speculate on what might of been if the studio had pumped more money into its development rather than restricting it. I'm afraid what we get is an 80's B-movie that has a medicum of tension that soon evaporates into a bottom shelf dud. If you're a fan of good horror you won't find much here that will make you think it's money well spent, and I should know as I wasted money on it!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2010
Generally not to bad,

the video quality is "rocky".

Unfortunately, the overall presentation is definately showing its age.

Never mind, I still liked it, it will be a long time, till I view it again.

Cheers

John
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