Friday, December 17, 2010
Cruise Into Terror (aka Voyage into Evil)
"They say it all started in Egypt 2000 years ago. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. An Egyptian tomb at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But I'm recording the events as they happened... though there's no way I can record the human terror of those bizarre few days..." - Captain Andrews
JSP: When JPX told me about this shark/Mummy/Devil TV movie and his plans to use his Love Boat action figures in his review to compensate for the lack of available online pictures, I had no choice but to get in on the action. Hence this joint review. Yes, that's right - my brother has the complete set of Love Boat action figures and it's ok to be jealous. JPX, would you be so kind as to summarize the plot?
JPX: Captain Andrews is dismayed to learn that he must take 8 passengers from an overbooked cruise liner onto a crappy boat called the Obeah. His attempts at protesting this gross injustice fall on deaf ears as his boss essentially says “Take this job or shove it!” Moments later his boss is crushed by boxes, accident or harbinger of terror?
Joining Captain Andrews crew on this ship of doom is Nathan the likable African American porter (don’t get too attached) and lady-killer/first mate Simon (Dirk Benedict).
Passengers include archeologist and bible scholar, Dr. Isaac Bakkun, uptight workaholic Neil Barry and frustrated wife Sandra, hot Judy and her homely friend Debbie, the fire and brimstone Reverend Charles Mather (John Forsythe) and his sexually frustrated younger wife, Lil, and mathematician Matt Lazarus.
As the voyage commences the passengers get to know each other quickly. Apparently Dr. Bakkun is known for his research and is regarded as a bit of a kook because of his laughable theory that the Egyptians sailed to South America and founded the Mayan civilization 2000 years ago. The professor’s evidence for his theory is a chunk of ancient papyrus he found in Egypt, which suggests that Cleopatra VIII built a tomb "where the sun hits the sea". If Dr. Bakkun can find the tomb, it will prove his theory that the Mayans were really Egyptians (?). The good professor is ridiculed by the others for this hogwash.
JSP: This concept was basically a hilariously lazy way to slap a Mummy's curse storyline into the mix. It works because Dr. Bakkun sounds so damn sure of himself when he's spouting his nonsense.
JPX: Meanwhile as Simon and Judy get down to business with a lot of double entendres always-a-bridesmaid Debbie takes a walk on the deck by herself. Initially frightened by a cat and later by a pair of red glowing eyes, Debbie manages to trip over the side of the boat where she hangs and screams until Simon rescues her.
The captain dismisses Debbie’s claims of experiencing the supernatural. This won’t be the first time that Debbie Downer is summarily dismissed.
JSP: Initially I felt sorry for Debbie because no one liked her, including the cat. However I quickly joined the "I hate Debbie" bandwagon after being subjected to her incessant negativity (and her Where's Waldo t-shirt didn't help her cause). Pay close attention to the scene towards the end when Judy reaches her pressure point, loses her cool and tears Debbie a new one.
JPX: The next day the captain grants a request to allow the weary travelers a bit of fun in the sun and some much needed diving.
Lazarus and Bakkun remain behind to debate pyramidology. This love fest is soon interrupted when Captain Andrews spies a shark trolling around the passengers hoping for a snack. After ordering everyone to swim back he inexplicably grabs a knife and dives in for the fight of his life. Lazarus also jumps into the drink (without a knife). He soon realizes the stupidity of his actions and swims back. Everyone survives, for now.
JSP: There' s a lot of sunbathing and underwater padding to carry you through the first 45 minutes. The shark attack is completely random and doesn't further the plot in any way but it's still cool (it's a shark attack).
JPX: Later following some navigational errors the ship stalls exactly on the site where Bakkun believes the lost civilization lies. After convincing the captain to let them dive again (!), the gang all agree to go on an archaeological expedition, except Reverend Mather who doesn’t wish to disturb the dead. After a brief search they locate proof of the professor’s theory, a small golden sarcophagus. Apparently the sarcophagus brings bad luck as poor Nathan learns the hard way.
Soon Simon declares that the ship engine is dead and all communications have been cut off. One by one the helpless passengers experience the wrath of the curse they unleashed.
JSP: The curse story plays itself quickly and (with another half hour to kill) it is revealed that the Devil walks among the passengers. The scientist and the reverend inevitably butt heads. The crew exchanges furtive glances to convey their distrust of one another.
Revealing anything more would be a great disservice but trust me when I tell you - the climax is grossly unsatisfying. Fortunately getting there (nowhere) is more than half the fun.