There is no denying that The Terror Beneath the Sea or Kaitei daisensô as it was originally known, is not a great film as it is highly ridiculous due to the constraints of its budget and thus, is actually a truly great time to be had by viewers. Starring a very young Sonny Chiba, a lovely Peggy Neal and a ton of rubber suits, the film would probably be lost to time if not for those that love terrible movies. Such as it is, it is not the worst sin ever to be committed to film, yet thanks to some fairly awful dubbing, some below-par acting and a story that needed a little help, it is not a movie that would rank fairly high on anyone’s must-see list.
Chiba and Neal star as a couple of reporters looking to get the scoop on the latest Navy test. They end up going scuba diving and run into a strange gill monster, something akin to the Creature From the Black Lagoon, though silver in appearance and much poorer than the aforementioned monster due to the lack of decent practical effects. It is not long before they decide to go for the bigger story and encounter far more of these gill-men than they anticipated. Taken to their master who happens to be a mad scientist looking to conquer the world or some such, he shows the reporters his method for creating these water cyborgs as he calls them and in one of the film’s best bits, they watch the strange transformation of man into fish-man. From there, the creatures gain some sort of independence and everything comes crashing down with the reporters just escaping in the end.
The pacing of the picture is off, being far too long and it too hurts more than it helps, though the stars of the film make it worth watching. Offsetting some of that length though is the cheesiness of it all and while it is silly and juvenile in spots, it no less entertains. That above all else is what makes this film a win – the enjoyment one gets from watching Chiba trying to fight off these sea monsters, from Neal overacting throughout it all and the pure wonder put down on celluloid despite all the faults. Overall, there is not a lot to love in The Terror Beneath the Sea but at the same time, there is at that.
2.5 out of 5