EntertainmentMONSTER SHARK aka DEVIL FISH (1984) Reviews and overview

MONSTER SHARK aka DEVIL FISH (1984) Reviews and overview


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‘Sink your teeth into pure terror.’

Monster Shark is a 1984 Italian-French horror film about a mutant proto-shark hybrid creature that terrorises the Florida coast. Worse still, it can reproduce itself! Also known as Devil Fish and Devouring Waves

Directed by Lamberto Bava [as John Old Jr.] (Twins; Delirium; Demons and Demons 2; A Blade in the Dark; Macabre) from a screenplay co-written by Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, Hervé Piccini and Dardano Sacchetti, based on a story by directors Luigi Cozzi and Sergio Martino. Produced by Mino Loy and Max Pécas.

The vapid synth soundtrack score was composed by Fabio Frizzi [as Antony Barrymore] (The Beyond; City of the Living Dead; Zombie Flesh Eaters).

The movie stars Michael Sopkiw (Blastfighter; Massacre in Dinosaur Valley; 2019: After the Fall of New York), Valentine Monnier, Gianni Garko, William Berger and Dagmar Lassander.


“Lamberto’s Demons films are much better than this, but that’s the kind of bar that you don’t just stumble over, but one that you also stub your toe on. Sopkiw claims that he’s a great director, yet the budget here hampered his talents. I just don’t know how a movie about a giant eyed prehistoric octopus hybrid battling alcoholic flamethrower enthusiasts can be so sleep-inducing.” B&S About Movies

“It’s just another Jaws ripoff and not an especially good one. In fact, one might even go so far as to call this movie terrible. Not me. I found it entertaining with enough explosions, boobies and horrible special effects to hold my attention. Who doesn’t want to see dubbed Italian actors rolling around with rubber shark tentacles?” Beasts in Human Skin

“Looking like a giant shuttlecock with oversized chompers, the blunderous creation is seen mostly in quick flashes at infrequent intervals–denying B-movie lovers of an abundance of low-rent entertainment they’ve paid to see […] an overly talky, low budget fish fry with little flavor.” Cool @ss Cinema

Devouring Waves is, by almost any metric, a terrible film and it’s so dull that it can’t even rise to the level of being accidentally entertaining. Seven people wrote this remember. Seven people, and not one of them was able to straighten out the painful plot machinations, come up with a line of dialogue that sounds even remotely like something a real person would say or even make a genetically engineered monster shark seem interesting.” The EOFFTV Review

“Despite its inanities, the flick left me with a great sense of respect for the Bavster. Devilfish has zero story despite three screenwriters and he knows it. So, he overloads the movie with slow-mo glimpses of the Devilfish, hot babbage, silly soap opera bits, intelligent parts that had to be accidents, and a shitload of scenes where the main characters are sucking down Buds!” Exploitation Retrospect

“Showcasing one of the most amateurishly cheap-looking monsters this side Roger Corman’s It Conquered the World, Devilfish is a flat-out terrible movie […] but it has its undeniable charms for Eurocult aficionados. Considering how shoddy and stupid the film is, there’s a surprising amount of top Italian genre talent for the time.” Good Efficient Butchery

“Monster Shark himself doesn’t have much to do other than to slap some people around with his tentacles every so often and more emphasis is placed on comparatively easier and cheaper scenes of guys on a boat staring at a primitive fish finder gizmo […] Wake me up when he actually decides to slop himself on board and we get unconvincing close ups of a mouth opening and closing mechanically.” Monster Hunter

“A terrible Italian monster movie about a killer fish-octopus-fossil. (The filmmakers couldn’t make up their mind on what the thing was supposed to be.) The goofy dialog and silly-looking monster could have made this movie a lot of fun, but the useless subplots (that never seemed to get resolved) muddy the waters and turn this potentially fun ‘time-waster’ into a grueling ordeal.” The Monster Shack

Devil Fish is supremely terrible, chiefly because it was written, shot, and edited with no sense of coherence, logic, or cinematic rhythm. It’s like a coked-up version of the stereotypically bad Italian film, complete with vapid acting, nonsensical dialogue, ridiculous dubbing, and a dumpster-bin aesthetic. Because of this (and certainly not despite it), it also manages to be wildly entertaining for all the wrong reasons.” Oh, the Horror!

“The score is a bad synthesizer track that won’t age well. The production design is fine except for the embarrassing computer programs. That won’t age well either. It makes the sharktopus look like Pac-Man on a radar. The monster looks bad when we see it. We see parts of it.” Tales of Terror

“Poorly made and executed, Devilfish features quite a few laughable moments throughout. The unintentional comedy and charisma of the cast tend to keep the movie afloat. Although certainly not the best piece of Italian trash […] it is far from the worst. At the end of the day, I suppose it does the job as far as a piece of entertainment goes…” Varied Celluloid

Choice dialogue:

Doctor Bob Hogan: “Good God, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Sheriff Gordon: “Listen, for me whatever it is, it spells danger and has to be defeated in no uncertain terms.”

Helicopter co-pilot: “What’s so special about a lousy fish?”

Peter: “I’ve recorded its voice and can reproduce it with only slight modulations.”

Cast and characters:

Michael Sopkiw … Peter
Valentine Monnier … Doctor Stella Dickens
Gianni Garko … Sheriff Gordon (as John Garko)
William Berger … Professor Donald West
Iris Peynado … Sandra Hayes
Lawrence Morgant … Doctor Davis Barker
Cinzia de Ponti … Florinda (as Cinthia Stewart)
Paul Branco … Miller
Dagmar Lassander … Sonja West
Ennio Brizzolari … Fisherman (uncredited)
Dino Conti … Doctor Bob Hogan (uncredited)
Lisa Frances Rubin … Molly (uncredited)
Goffredo Unger … Fisherman that loses a leg (uncredited)
Darla N. Warner … Doctor Janet Bates (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Filmatix, Rome, Lazio, Italy (studio)
Florida, USA

Technical details:

90 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.66: 1

Original title:

Shark: Rosso nell’oceano (Italy)
Le Monstre de l’océan rouge (France)

Fun facts:

Bruno Mattei (Cruel Jaws; Shocking Dark; Rats: Night of Terror) was one of the two assistant directors, along with Goffredo Unger.


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