Before The Deadliest Catch, there was Killers of the Sea. This documentary tells the story of Captain Wallace Caswell, a salty seaman who caught and killed dangerous sea animals with his bare hands. When sharks and octopi come along and eat fishermen’s catches, robbing them of their payday, Caswell is called in to dispose of the pesky animals. Throughout the film, Caswell fights a marlin with a rod and reel, kills a dolphin with his bare hands (the narrator calls it a “whale” but it’s really a dolphin), catches a bass with a giant hook, hacks up a hammerhead, repeatedly stabs a tiger shark, murders turtles, fends off a giant octopus, and almost loses his life while dueling with a deadly sawfish.
This flick was on a 50 Movie Pack of horror movies but it totally isn’t a horror flick. It’s still fun in a hopelessly dated kinda way. (Wait until you hear the horribly racist things the narrator says about Caswell’s black cook.) If you are a member of PETA, the gratuitous animal cruelty will no doubt make you sick. On the other hand, if you’re like me and can appreciate archaic cinematic artifacts like this one, you should be amused.
I think the best part of Killers of the Sea was it’s length. It was only 49 minutes long. The first 4 minutes was spent on opening credits, a crawl telling you all about Caswell, and THE NATIONAL ANTHEM! I’ve seen a lot of movies in my time but I’ve never seen any movie begin with the flipping Star Spangled Banner!
Many will find this flick reprehensible but I thought it was a fascinating relic of a bygone era. There is never a dull moment and the 49 minutes whizzes by in no time. Besides, you can’t lose when the narrator constantly says shit like, “When you see Caswell climbing out of his pants, that means the battle is about to begin!”
Killers of the Sea has enough unintentional laughs to put it on The Video Vacuum Top Ten Films of the Year for 1937 at the Number 4 spot.