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Film: Devil Fish

No, not the species of large ray, but rather a spastically edited Italian Jaws ripoff from 1984, best known for appearing on Mystery Science Theater 3000's Season 9 episode.

The WOI (short for World Oceanic Institute, or "Woi") has made a fish. Not just any fish, mind you, but a giant, tentacled, beaked monstrosity that ignores every other source of food in the ocean to snack on whatever humans wind up in there. Why? For Science! Or possibly for money. Or maybe just for shits and giggles; the movie isn't very clear on the "why". All that is clear is that they made a fish, and it has a taste for Italian.

For some reason, a scrawny appliance repairman named Peter is just the man to kill the fish. Or study it. Or perhaps even mate with it — again, it's not clear. Tagging along are an even scrawnier, Frampton-esque woman named Stella; a less skeletal woman named Janet, and an extremely beery British guy named Bob Hogan. This happy foursome of idiots is out to do whatever it is the script said to do, but they mostly pair off to go make out, down Budweiser by the barrel, and occasionally get themselves eaten by the titular corporate-sponsored squid/fish thing. Somewhere in the mix is a fantastically ugly Professional Killer brutally killing off every attractive woman in the cast for equally foggy reasons.

This film contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Dr. Bob is at all times either drinking or cracking open a beer. The devil fish probably picked up a good buzz off of him. Naturally, the riffing on this starts off strong and doesn't stop.
    Bob: It lasted for three minutes.
    Servo: (as Bob) Like my last 12-pack.
  • Artistic License - Biology: So, the Devil Fish is like an amoeba and if any scraps of its anatomy is cut off, it'll grow into a new Devil Fish? Really, movie?
    • At the beginning of the lecture about fish evolution, the woman scientist opens with the phrase "Approximately 320 years ago". Considering the size of the predatory fish she's showing, either she forgot the word "million", or Washington's crossing of the Delaware was much more dangerous than history portrays.
  • Cartoony Eyes: On Stella. Looks kinda creepy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sandra. Full stop.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: The movie plays it straight; Crow and Servo don't.
  • Fake American: Oddly enough, the guy who played Peter actually is American...but they still dubbed him.
    • Pretty common in the 70's and 80's, every foreign film (even ones entirely in English like Mad Max) released in America was dubbed over.
  • Fan Disservice: Mike specifically complains about the repeated close up butt shots on Miller during his underwater fight with Peter. You could probably count Stella (aka Skeletor)'s entire existence, too.
    Crow: Well, it's a nice butt, Mike.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Being an ELECTRICIAN.
    Bob: How would you know, electrician?
    • Later, when Bob is having a beer with Peter, Mike cracks, "Sorry about that electrician crack earlier. My father’s village was attacked by electricians."
  • Hot Scientist: Janet is a LOT more attractive than female lead Stella, who resembles Marfuska, ten years older.
  • Informed Ability: Quite a few characters refer to Peter as a genius. Nothing in the film seems to back up that claim.
    Sandra: Two geniuses should never work together.
    Crow: But these two guys will be fine.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Stella, thanks to the 1970's concept that anorexic women were hot. Of course, this film was shot in 1984...
    (After Stella dives into the water.)
    Mike: You know, she displaces no water at all.
    • Peter is similarly rail thin.
    Mike: He's built like an action figure! He even has shoulder sockets so you can pose him.
  • Large Ham: "I KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!"
  • Magical Defibrillator: Accidentally subverted. It's still depicted as magical revivifying device, but it just looks like using it on the bearded guy ended up finishing him off.
  • Meganekko: Janet wears big, Sally Jessie-style glasses when first introduced.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Step One involves creating a monstrous fish that will destroy all life in the sea except for itself and propagate beyond anyone's control. It's flawless! You're just too old to understand! Too old For Science! and too old for your wife!
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: We never get a very good look at the Devil Fish, but evidently it's a prehistoric shark/giant squid combo covered in barnacles.
    • The head and jaws are a Dunkleosteus, with the rest being an octopus (Pacific giant octopus, judging form the color). No shark parts as far as can be told. And since the characters say it has the intelligence of a dolphin, it probably has a dolphin brain.
  • The Mole: Sandra. As for the who, how and why: *shrug*
    • The pool scene implies that she worked for them in the past but gave it up. Again, this isn't really given any sort of clarification.
      • Sex, Dear Boy.
  • Monster Misogyny: Averted. Miller the killer accounts for nearly every female victim, although given that his methods are so violent that Best Brains had to cut the actual murder scenes, they may have rathered the fish got to them first.
  • Police Are Useless: While it's not too egregious, there is a rather odd comment by the sheriff at the beginning regarding the lab technician's death.
    Sheriff: I think I'll decide on murder.
    Servo: What the hell.
  • Polyamory: Every female in the film is fucking everybody.
  • Red Herring: Early on the film really tries to make you think West is the Big Bad.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: There are plenty of other fish in the sea, but devil fish doesn't seem to give a crap about them.
    • At least they gave it a reason, it was design to attack boats.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Devil Fish's theme doesn't sound anything at all like the Jaws theme.
  • Technology Marches On: The ship's computer graphics look like they were taken from an Atari 2600, which is pretty bad since the film was released in 1984.
    • When we first see Sandra, she's actually playing Scuba Diver, an Atari 2600. The game, fittingly, seems to have you playing a diver bringing up salvage and rescuing people while avoiding sharks. And it does look better than the ship's computer.
    Servo: Man, Abyss 2 wasn't very good.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Miller warns Sandra that he's watching her, and that he'll kill her if she goes out of line. So, not one minute after he leaves her presence she tries to call the police at a public phone. It doesn't go well for her.
    • It was smart for her to do so at a public phone at the bar of a busy, crowded swimming pool-the stupidity manifested when she didn't start screaming bloody murder to attract attention to her attacker.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Simple Q&A format, large, easy-to-read font and habit of speaking every line of data out loud? Check, check, annnnnd check.
    • Worse, the computer feels it needs to emphasize plot points for the movie. "Professor Davis, DAVIS, DAVIS!"
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: The formula is as follows: Upward Camera Angle + Ladder × Peter ÷ Upsettingly Tiny Shorts = Unplanned Nut Shot
  • Worst Aid: When attempting to save the bearded guy's life after he flatlines, the doctor ignores the nurse's offered needle of adrenaline (which could potentially get the heart working again) and continues to shock him with the defibrillator (which, as the name suggests, only works to stop an arrythmically-beating heart so that it can regain its normal rhythm).
  • You're Insane!: Invoked by Dr. West.

"Bob, it's right underneath us!" "I knowww!"
Devil DollMystery Science Index 3000 Earth vs. The Spider
Countdown to Looking GlassFilms of the 1980sDon't Open Till Christmas
Devil DollHorror FilmsThe Devil Inside

alternative title(s): Devil Fish
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