• Deep Star Six (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: October 13th, 2020.
    Director: Sean S. Cunningham
    Cast: Greg Evigan, Miguel Ferrer, Nia Peeples, Taurean Blacque, Matt McCoy, Cindy Pickett, Nancy Everhard
    Year: 1989
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    Deep Star Six – Movie Review:

    Set at the bottom of the ocean inside a deep sea military station responsible for establishing a top secret navy nuclear facility, Sean S. Cunningham’s Deep Star Six opens with a scene featuring crew members Joyce Collins (Nancy Everhard) in bed with her coworker, McBride (Greg Evigan). They and the rest of the crew are scheduled to go topside soon, and they talk about what they might do after finishing a six month tour of duty under the sea.

    When they team discovers a giant cavern in the area where they are to be placing nuclear warheads, marine life researcher Scarpelli (Nia Peeples) wants to put the project on hold and investigate but the man in charge of the operation, a scientist named Van Gelder (Marius Weyers), isn’t having any of it. Before you know it, two of the guys who went out in the ‘Sea Cat’ to check out the scene have gone missing, Collins and another crew member get trapped in a remote station requiring McBride and Captain Laidlaw (Taurean Blacque) to go on a search and rescue and it seems like a very big ‘something’ is quite unhappy that they’ve arrived on its turf. Scarpelli’s main man, a diver named Richardson (Matt McCoy), decides to pitch in and try to get things fixed, while the base's mechanic, Snyder (Miguel Ferrer), starts freaking out as the team find themselves in a race against time, caught between a very big, very angry monster and potential nuclear destruction!

    Based on story by Lewis Abernathy, who co-wrote the script with Geof Miller, Deep Star Six often times feels like Alien set underwater (and was made fast and cheap by Carolco Pictures in order to cash-in on James Cameron’s The Abyss), but if it isn’t a particularly original creature feature, it still manages to offer plenty of entertainment value. There’s some neat monster effects on display in the picture and a couple of moderately gory moments in the picture that stand out despite the obviously derivative nature of the production overall.

    Sean S. Cunningham, best known for producing Last House On The Left and directing the original Friday The 13th, does a pretty good job in the director’s chair. The movie is paced nicely, it does a good job of building tension and making us want to know what’s going to happen next. There isn’t a whole lot of character development here but there’s enough to keep the characters from blending together. Most of the performances are quite good. It’s amusing to see My Two Dad’s Greg Evigan playing the lead in an R-rated monster movie, but he handles himself just fine here, and he’s got pretty good chemistry with Nancy Everhard (who starred in the 1989 version of The Punisher alongside Dolph Lundgren). Walker Texas Ranger’s Nia Peebles and Matt McCoy are good in their supporting roles and Taurean Blacque is likeable enough as the captain. Miguel Ferrer, however, steals the show here, delivering great work as the sketchy, twitchy mechanic.

    Deep Star Six – Blu-ray Review:

    Deep Star Six arrives on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber on a 50GB disc with the feature, framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, taking up 32GBs of space. Taken from a transfer provided by Studio Canal, the picture quality here is good if not perfect. The higher resolution isn’t always kind to the matte paintings and miniature work, but that’s hardly the fault of the image. Colors are reproduced really nicely, though with the bulk of the film taking place inside an undersea base, the film leans pretty heavily on a drab color scheme. Regardless, that color scheme looks the way it should. Skin tones also look really nice here, and we get solid black levels as well. Detail is never reference quality, indicating that this might have been taken from an older master, but it certainly surpasses DVD, and there’s reasonable depth and texture here. There are no issues with any noise reduction but some minor edge enhancement shows up now and then. The transfer is free of any obvious compression artifacts.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track. Quality of the audio on the disc is quite good. There’s some nice channel separation noticeable in a few spots in the more action-intensive scenes, while dialogue stays clean, clear and nicely balanced. Manfredini’s score has some nice depth to it, and there are no issues here with any hiss or distortion to note. Optional subtitles are offered up in English only.

    Extras start off with a vintage audio commentary with Director Sean S. Cunningham and Visual Effects Supervisor James Isaac. Lots of good information here, with both men talking about how they came to work on the picture, detailing who did what behind the camera to help them with the shoot, working with the different cast and crew members, sets and soundstage work, lots of details on the effects work, the score and more, though there are some stretches of dead air here and there. A second audio commentary, a new one with Screenwriters Lewis Abernathy and Geof Miller, is also included. This one is a lot of fun as the two men look back on where they got some of their ideas from, the insanely rushed nature of the production that they had to deal with, changes that were made to the story, different ideas that were used and tossed, how their work translated to the screen and their thoughts on the movie overall. Kino also provides some isolated score selections and an audio interview with Composer Harry Manfredini. This is interesting when Manfredini chimes in, though there are some stretches where he’s quiet. Still, he covers his process, what his intentions were with the score and a fair bit more.

    From The Deep is a new twenty-two-minute featurette that is made up of interviews with Creature Effects & Special Make-up Designer Mark Shostrom, Creature Supervisor Greg Nicotero and Creature Artist Robert Kurtzman. It covers quite a bit of ground, including how they each came to be involved with the project, what it was like on set, working with James Isaac and with Cunningham, dealing with the cast and crew, having to create the monster for the movie and how they brought it to life on the screen, some of the challenges that they ran into and more. There's some cool archival material included in here too, it's quite interesting.

    The Survivors is a new selection of seventeen-minutes of interviews with Actors Greg Evigan and Nancy Everhard, who are interviewed here individually. They give us some background on their careers (and of course My Two Dads gets talked about!), talk about getting their respective parts on the film, what it was like on set, getting along with the other cast and crew members, dealing with a shoot that involved so much water, Cunningham's directing style and what he was like to work with and other topics.

    Water Damage is a new interview with Stunt Coordinator Kane Hodder that clocks in at thirteen-minutes. He discusses his background in the industry, how he landed the job, what some of his responsibilities were on the set, working with Cunningham, what it was like on set, some of the complications that he and the crew had to deal with and more.

    The disc also contains eight-minutes of extended vintage interview clips with Patrick Markey, Sean S. Cunningham, Greg Evigan, Nancy Everhard, Cindy Pickett, Nia Peebles, John Reinhart, Jim Isaac, Miguel Ferrer and Marius Weyers.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is a four-minute vintage behind the scenes featurette focusing mostly on the scene where the crew first fight the monster, a four-minute vintage EPK with some cast and crew interviews, an original theatrical trailer, a bonus trailer for Deep Rising, a vintage TV Spot, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection options. This release also comes packaged with a slipcover and some nice reversible cover sleeve art.

    Deep Star Six – The Final Word:

    Deep Star Six isn’t the most original horror picture ever made but it’s a fun monster movie with a neat cast. Kino has done a great job on the Blu-ray release, presenting the film in an solid presentation and with a great selection of extra features. All in all, great package that fans of the movie will definitely want to pick up.

    Click on the images below for full sized Deep Star Six Blu-ray screen caps!