November 20th, 2014

BEYOND ATLANTIS (1973) **

Sid Haig stars as a pimp in the Philippines who wants to expand his horizons. He buys a priceless pearl off of fisherman Vic Diaz and coerces him into telling him where he can find more. Sid then gets his scuba diving buddies Patrick Wayne and John Ashley to venture to an uncharted island to find them. There, they encounter a beautiful woman, played by the sultry Leigh Christian, along with a race of bug-eyed fishmen. Her father (George Nader from Robot Monster) demands she must mate with Wayne to prolong their species, but things get complicated when he spurns her advances.

Directed by Eddie (Mad Doctor of Blood Island) Romero, Beyond Atlantis is mostly boring for much of its running time. The long underwater scenes get dull in a hurry and are only there to pad out the running time. There are some scenes that play like an underwater ballet and the droning chamber music on the soundtrack is enough to put you to sleep. If you do manage to stay awake, you’ll be treated to a decent piranha attack, a not-bad catfight, and a pretty cool explosion in the finale.

The best thing about the film is that it features an incredible cast. Sid Haig is excellent as the slimy pimp-turned-entrepreneur. Whatever spark of life the flick has is due to his lively performance. Christian is quite sexy wearing nothing more than a bikini, and Nader gets some good moments as her father. Vic Diaz, the Marlon Brando of the Philippines, does a fine job with his (all too) brief role, and Wayne makes for a suitably stoic hero.

As dull as much of this is, I have an affinity for any movie that revolves around the main chick mating to prolong her species. The scenes of the fish-eyed natives smacking Christian around and saying “You will mate!” are pretty funny too. They don’t exactly save the picture, but they do prevent it from being a total snoozer.

AKA: Sea Creatures.