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eighties horror you might have missed

Leviathan (1989)

Herein lies a totally enjoyable combo-movie - an amalgam of Alien and The Thing, but taking place underwater, rather than in space or in the snow. There are huge, ridiculous weapons, as well as machinery and other "gak" designed by Ron Cobb (and yes, those are in fact re-purposed space helmets from 2010). The creatures are designed by Stan Winston, who by this time had already worked on Aliens, Predator, The Terminator, Monster Squad, Friday the 13th Part 3, The Entity and The Thing. Best of all, are the very-goopy practical effects and the assimilation of devoured characters' features into larger beasts (as in The Thing).

The casting and crew for this one are pretty great, too. Stars include Peter Weller (after Robocop, but before Robocop 2), Amanda Pays (post-Max Headroom), Ernie Hudson, Meg Foster (as the evil, electric-eyed CEO) and several other familiar faces. Leviathan was directed by George Cosmatos, who did Cobra, Rambo II and Of Unknown Origin (also with Weller) prior to this. The DP, Alex Thomson, also worked on Excalibur, The Keep, Legend, and later on Alien3. The screenplay was written by David Peoples (who wrote the Blade Runner screenplay), and the score, which is pretty heavy-handed at times, was written by Jerry Goldsmith (who also did the Alien score).

Keep an eye out for the Garfield poster that appears later in the film (somehow that seems important), as well as a quick flash of the Pixar logo on one of the computer monitors.

Comments

Co-produced by Aurelio De Laurentiis, related to both Dino (who produced all those Hannibal Lecter sequel/prequel films and Raimi's "Army of Darkness") and Giada, the TV chef with the biggest smile you've ever seen. Aurelio's films were mostly Italian, but another American production Aurelio later produced was Kerry Conran's "Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow". Also worth noting is that Richard Crenna had worked with Cosmastos in "Rambo II" (YAY! Colonel Trautman!)

Yes, and let's not forget Raffaella De Laurentiis producing Dune (1984)! Had no idea about Giada, though - that's kind of amazing.

How do you think Giada got her show? $$$ and connections.

Weller is always enjoyable, but this one is definitely worth watching on it's own merits. Its 'borrowing' from other films is fun to watch for (and ridiculous), but in spite of the blatant idea-theft, the film is better than one would expect.