A feminist film, or "I'm an amoeba, not an octopus"
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe I'm still seeing this movie through the eleven year old eyes I had in 1954, but I just watched the tape today and to me it sure seems much better than its reputation. It actually is a feminist film in that the character who motivates the action and has the most screen time is the female lead. Apparently a tourist, she works alone to try to solve the mysterious disappearances of humans and animals off a coastal Mexican village, while receiving nothing but ridicule from her new-found marine biologist boyfriend. If sometimes she does seem to get startled a little too easily, she quickly overcomes her fears and continues her quest. Eventually, she snags a piece of the monster on her boat anchor and mails it to her boyfriend and his colleague who have moved their research operation on down the coast. As they study the sample, the boyfriend finally realizes there is a monster, and returns in time to rescue her, and his hero status, with a neat human-propelled miniature submarine. Presumably they live happily ever after, but we know who's going to be the go-getter in this family! By the way, the monster, often referred to as a one-eyed octopus, is actually a giant amoeba created by that old 50's standby, radiation from an atomic bomb test."
Amoeba? One-Eyed Octopus? No Monster From the Ocean Floor
Joseph A. Jenkins Jr. | Forestville, MD United States | 12/21/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR stars Anne Kimball, Stuart Wade, Dick Pinner, Inez Palange, Jonathan Haze, and David Garcia. This movie stars a strong female lead, who is fairly easy on the eyes without the obscenity of modern-bathing suits. Julie Blair, played by Anne Kimball, investigates stories of an underwater, single red-eyed, monster that is terrorizing a small Mexican community. Steve Dunning (Stuart Wade), a marine biologist working in the cove provides the romantic interest. He pedals around a real neat one-man mini-sub. Without giving away the ending, this fact will be important at the movie's ending. A local witch influences one of the peasants to make an attempt to sacrifice her, "the fair one," as an appeasement to the monster. His haphazard attempts make us sympathetic to him in a movie that drags somewhat and where there is little significant action. I read that this was Roger Corman's first production, making it a must see for his fans and collectors. The director is Wyott Ordung who also appears as the superstitious Pablo in the movie. Roger Corman is in the movie, too, as Tommy. There is nothing on the box from RHINO or on the DVD to tell us this.Kimball gives a good performance although the other actors often come off wooden and as if they are reading. The music is not bad and compliments the suspenseful water scenes. The one-eyed monster comes off cheap by today's standards, maybe even by those in 1954, but it is still rather neat with its one bulging eye. Unfortunately, we do not see much of it. The underwater scenes with the monster used a puppet in an aquarium. The live sequences, with just the swimmers and the sub was purported to be actual deep-sea footage. Usually such shots are done a few inches under water in someone's pool.The RHINO DVD is a conventual pan/scan 1.33:1. There are no extras, just the movie and a few chapter divisions. The picture is pretty clear although the sound is below average. I had to turn my speakers way up. Part of the problem rests with the original production. There is too much background noise and the constant blowing wind becomes a distraction.In retrospect the peasant woman, really a witch who disavows the local padre for her ancient superstitions, comes across as a real monster. However, she has little screen time. Further, while the character played by Kimball incessantly seeks the monster, she goes out unarmed and passes out every time she sees it. While she has proof of her discovery at the end, she goes back into the water looking for it again, for no good reason whatever. It simply provides the final situation for the movie's mild climax. The logic fails somewhat at this point.Nevertheless, I like B-grade movies and this is a fair one. >No foul language or blasphemy.
>Conventional bathing suits, but no bikinis and no nudity.
>Light romance, but nothing lewd and no sexual situations.
>Light plot violence."
An Atomic Age Corman Cheapie
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 03/19/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Monster From the Ocean Floor (1954), produced by Roger Corman, is a really good example of why he always made money with his films. By duping a popular subject or theme of the time, in this case the giant atomic monster craze of the 50's, hiring unknown actors and production crew cheaply, setting an incredibly tight production schedule, sinking as little money as possible into production, and coming up with a fantastic and sensation title and advertising campaign...and it worked. Lemme take a moment to talk about the director, Wyott Ordung. Never heard of him? Well, if you like B-movies, you should be familiar with some of his work. As a writer, he penned such classics as Robot Monster (1953) and Target Earth (1954), the latter actually being pretty good. But wait, he was also an actor, actually appearing in Monster From the Ocean Floor. Writer/actor/director? A triple threat, to be sure.
Anyway, the movie stars a couple of actors not really worth mentioning, playing a blonde vacationing in Mexico (you can tell this in the beginning as she's donning a giant sombrero with the word 'Mexico' embroidered on it...how tacky) and a less than hunky marine biologist who actually has an incredibly bad musical performance about halfway through as he plucks a guitar and warbles on in some sort of strange mating ritual meant to impress the blonde woman but just ended up revolting this viewer. So the blonde woman learns of a 'devil' creature within the cove eating local residents and various animals. She also learns that the attacks begin about 1946, around the time the Bikini Island atomic testing began. Okay, so radiation fallout has caused some kind of embiggening of a sea creature, and it is now feeding within the cove. Taking an odd interest in these happenings, she decides to investigate. Her new friend, the marine biologist, poo poos the idea and chalks it up to superstition and proposes the attacks are caused by a shark. After a number of solo scuba excursions into the cove (not the brightest idea, if I may add), the woman finally does encounter a creature, and it's discovered to be a form of life we normally don't see. I thought it was going to be a giant octopus, and it actually looked like one, but that was wrong.
The creature, who we get to see for a total of about two minutes, looks like something made for another film that got rejected because of it's silliness. I suppose it was probably too expensive to show it more, and, you know what? It was probably for the best that it had the limited screen time that it did. The acting, along with the dialogue, is extremely clunky, causing a copious amount of groaning on my part. A very silly subplot was thrown in, one involving the local residents (all two of them) deciding that they should sacrifice the 'fairest of them all' (meaning the blonde) to the sea 'devil', in hopes to appease it and keep it from depopulating the tiny village even more. The underwater scenes involving the main characters swimming around in scuba gear were pretty nice, although sometimes a little too murky or blurry to really be enjoyed. I did like the biologist's little man powered submarine, and it was quite maneuverable. Thankfully the film only runs for 64 minutes. The movie does have some merits, but ultimately gets dragged to the depths of banality by the various aspects I've already mentioned.
For under ten bucks, I wasn't expecting much, and I didn't get much. The picture does look pretty good, with minimal deterioration, and there are absolutely no special features except for chapter stops. All in all, cheaply done non-thriller that will have you rooting for the monster to finish the cast and provide a quick end to this lack luster affair.
A shade over an hour, "Monster" doesn't overstay its welcome
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 01/16/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This low-budget cheapie actually has a breezy, watchable quality, largely due to Anne Kimball's relaxed, natural performance and some nice island scenery. But make no mistake about its pedigree: this movie is definitely a low-budget 50's monster movie in all its dubious glory. For me, this was cool to watch because I had just read about the film in Roger Corman's book "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime", and it's always fun to see a movie after reading all the behind-the-scenes anecdotes and dirt about it. Actually, knowing from the book how the monster scenes were accomplished (they essentially moved a puppet around in a small aquarium), I was surprised how well the final result turned out. Not that the effects are actually good or believable, but they're watchable and somewhat accomplished considering the time and budget. Finally, the print Rhino used for this DVD release is actually pretty good; it's clean and clear and mostly free of defects. Recommended to aficianados of this sort of movie, who could certainly do worse."
Bare-bones but clean DVD of Corman cheapie
Surfink | Racine, WI | 08/28/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Even as a bad-movie fanatic, it's hard to find good things to say about Monster from the Ocean Floor. If this were not Corman's first sci-fi production it would have no reputation at all. There is little plot, virtually no action, and a notoriously shy monster. If you can get all fired up about the one-man mini-sub or are content to ogle Anne Kimball in her bathing suit, then you're about halfway there. That B-movie staple Embarrassing Racial Stereotypes also rears its ugly head in this one, adding to the overall icky feel. When we finally get to see the monster (I was sure that the stock footage of the octopus was gonna be it) it's rather quaint, kind of a cross between the really old B&W Muppets and a Diver Dan creature. Personally, I could've dealt with about half a dozen more appearances by the "special effects" if only to break the monotony (one wonders why they were so stingy). Rhino's DVD is pretty stingy as well, including only the movie and 12 chapter stops. Not even a trailer. Well, I guess at the price you can't complain too much. The print used is actually quite respectable. There is the usual very light speckling throughout, but otherwise little visible damage besides a couple of reel changes that suffer from scratches and blemishes. The tonal quality varies throughout (due I'm sure to the source material) from very good to somewhat flat (especially in the underwater scenes, which also suffer a little more from speckling). The image is not super-sharp but quite adequate. Overall, I'm pleased for the price. For Z-movie diehards and Corman completists, you might as well flip for it (what, you're waiting for the Criterion edition?); Normal People looking for a Good Movie may want to spend their cash elsewhere."