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Underwater fights are like the drum solos of movies.
  — Crow T. Robot


The Movie

Synopsis

Creative censor bar in Devil Fish

The film takes place along a stretch of coastline somewhere in Florida, where a local tourist spot has become plagued by a mysterious marine creature. Unbeknownst to them, the monster is the product of a secret military experiment; it is a genetic hybrid mutated from a common octopus and the prehistoric Dunkleosteus. Unfortunately, the creature has broken loose, and is now feeding on swimmers and tourists swimming or sailing along the coast. As the monster is only an infant, it will continue to grow if it is left to hunt much longer.

A team of biologists and oceanographers - led by Peter and his colleague Dr. Stella Dickens - are trying to find the creature and stop it. Meanwhile, a group of military scientists are trying to stop the others, as the experiment was classified military business. Both groups are slowly picked off by the creature while they try to track it down. They eventually find that it is hiding in the Everglades and manage to corner it in shallow waters and kill it with repeated blasts from flamethrowers.[1]

Information

  • The film's director, Lamberto Bava (working under the pseudonym John Old Jr.), is the son of famed Italian director Mario Bava, whose 1968 film Diabolik! was later featured in Season 10.
  • The original, uncut version of the movie (titled Monster Shark) features considerably more violence, but is much more coherently edited.
  • Major Movie Goof: The "marine paleontologist" in the movie isn't very good at her profession, as evidenced by her lecture in which she misidentifies a present-day basking shark as an extinct marine reptile named Tylosaurus, along with other errors.
  • Star Michael Sopkiw has attributed the film's flaws and negative reviews to the production's limited budget, saying that Lamberto Bava was a great director. He has stated that despite the film being set in Florida, the cast often had to swim in extremely cold water.
  • The film was shot entirely in Florida in and around the Everglades in real interior and exterior locations. This is unusual for Italian films, which often have exteriors filmed on location and interiors on sound stages in Italy.
  • The film's cast and crew were made up of Americans, Italians, and Latin Americans, so communication was often a challenge. The cast shot their scenes speaking their native languages, knowing that the dialog would be dubbed in English later.
  • This movie is one of many where the premise is taken from another, more successful film. This time the source material was Jaws, which would become a RiffTrax production years later (as would The Last Shark, another Jaws-inspired film).
  • One scene of this film contains a brief glimpse of a male character's genitals, which the Sci-Fi Channel censored by superimposing the MST3K logo. Like many of the R-rated movies used on the show, key death scenes were removed entirely due to being impossible to edit.

The Episode

Host Segments

Tourists at Castle Forrester

  • Opening Scene: Mike has an identity crisis, claiming that some government agency has erased it. It turns out that he lost his wallet.
  • Segment One: Pearl has to convince a couple that the castle is a cruise ship because Bobo forgot to tell her he took 2500 reservations when their number was mistakenly put in an ad for a cruise. She has the crew make ice sculptures: Crow uses four cubes to make Michelangelo's David; Tom puts his in a drink; and Mike tries to weld his.
  • Segment Two: When the crew make fun of dolphins and their intelligence, some dolphins attack them in a space ship until they apologize.
  • Segment Three: An electrician shows up to repair some stuff. Mike, Crow and Tom taunt him too based on a character's wisecrack from the movie, until the dolphins come back; seems that after this movie came out, electricians made a deal with dolphins to protect each other. Mike apologizes.

    Italian Vision

  • Segment Four: Because the vacationing couple finds the presence of the SOL crew to be incongruous, Pearl tries to make Mike and the Bots seem more Italian. It works until Bobo and Pearl mess with the filter, and it turns the crew into broad, insulting stereotypes.
  • Segment Five: Bobo is too busy eating to hear when the couple asks about something on the ship. When Pearl whacks him on the head to get his attention, he goes berserk and she has to tranquilize him. Observer, meanwhile, does his best impression of Isaac Washington from The Love Boat. He points a lot.
  • Stinger: Janet: "It's right underneath us!" Bob: "I knooow!"

MST3K cast

Regular cast

Guest cast

Trivia

  • During the commercial promoting this episode on the Sci-Fi Channel, the clip of agitated dolphins was shown while Tom screams "Dolphins won the Super Bowl! Yaaaayyyy!". The year before the release of Devil Fish, the Miami Dolphins went to the Super Bowl, but they lost. The year after Devil Fish was released, the Dolphins lost another Super Bowl. The Dolphins haven't won a Super Bowl since Super Bowl VIII in 1974 (see The Final Sacrifice and the numerous Larry Csonka references alluding to this). It's also a callback to the running "Packers won the Super Bowl!" gag used in The Giant Spider Invasion.
  • This episode was ranked #96 among backers of the Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 campaign in the Top 100 Poll.

Callbacks

Quotes & References

  • "Bebe Rebozo's home movies!"

Charles "Bebe" Rebozo was a Floridian businessman and personal friend of Richard Nixon's, who often took him on fishing excursions in his boat.

  • "Aw, poor Robert Shaw. Eaten again!"

Robert Shaw portrays the grizzled Captain Quint in Jaws. Quint is eaten by the giant shark in the film.

  • "Same picture of Mark Spitz, even."

Mark Spitz is a retired Olympic swimmer.

  • "Devil Fish: The Story of Aleister Crappie!"

Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. A crappie is a North American freshwater fish.

  • "Hey, temp workers!"

Dolphin Staffing (currently Dolphin Group Companies) is a staffing service based in Minneapolis.

  • "Don't say/Things you're gonna regret..."

A lyric from The Alan Parsons Project song "Eye in the Sky".

  • "Too much time on my hands..."

The chorus from the Styx song "Too Much Time on My Hands".

  • "I've located a Gary Wright song."

The sound that the piece of equipment makes sounds vaguely like the synths at the beginning of Gary Wright's 1975 song "Dream Weaver".

  • "Ah, transport me, Marc Cohn..."

Marc Cohn is a musician best known for his 1991 song "Walking in Memphis". The following line, "Why I feel like I actually am walking in Memphis," is a direct reference to that.

  • "It was more of a horrifying sound, full of hate..." "Oh, like Bob Dornan."

Bob Dornan is a retired congressman from Southern California, known for provocative statements, often seen as offensive or bigoted. He is a former fighter pilot , after leaving active duty, worked as an actor, starring in Experiment #612's The Starfighters among other projects.

  • "Maybe the frequency was too high or too low." "Kenneth."

A reference to an incident in which former CBS News anchor Dan Rather was attacked by a man who kept asking him the cryptic question "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" The incident inspired the R.E.M. song "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?".

  • "Is that Fab or Rob?"

Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus made up the infamous pop duo Milli Vanilli.

  • "You colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf!"

A reference to the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

  • "I'm listening to Shonen Knife!"

Shonen Knife is an all-female Japanese rock band.

  • "Kick, punch, it's all in the mind."

Referring to a lyric in the video game Parappa the Rapper.

  • "Gotta finish this bomb for Pakistan by Saturday."

Pakistan conducted its first successful test of a nuclear device on May 28, 1998, a few months before this episode first aired.

  • "I can't believe I directed North!

North is a critically panned 1994 movie directed by Rob Reiner, whom the character resembles.

  • "What's that?" "Kraftwerk."

Kraftwerk is a pioneering electronic music group from Germany.

  • "Dolphins win the Super Bowl! Yaaaaay!" 

A callback to the "Packers win the Super Bowl! Woooo!" bit from The Giant Spider Invasion.

Mike is comparing the female lead's appearance to the character of Jack Skellington.

  • "I got the Amiga working!"

Amiga is a line of computers made by the now-defunct Commodore company, which still have a devoted following, despite never being as popular as PCs or Macs.

  • "This guy dubbed by J. Peterman?"

J. Peterman is a retail and fashion company that does most of its sales through catalogs. The riff here however is based on the infamous "I knoooowww!" line. This is more an allusion to a fictional portrayal of the company's owner on Seinfeld, Jacopo Peterman, who spoke in a clipped, stilted voice.

  • "I'm going to try and put him to sleep!" "I'm going to read him something from Joan Didion."

Joan Didion is an American author and literary journalist.

  • "Slowly I acted... step by step..."

"Slowly I turned... step by step... inch by inch..." is from the popular comedy sketch "Slowly I Turned" wherein a character is relating a story and erupts into violent outbursts when the listener inadvertently utters a triggering word or phrase. There are many depictions, but the "Niagara Falls" version is familiar to fans of The Three Stooges and Abbott and Costello.

  • "You know, that door isn't even red, and I want to paint it black."

A reference to the first line of the The Rolling Stones' song "Paint It Black": "I see a red door and I want it painted black."

  • "Now it's 10 as rewritten by Terrence McNally!"

10 is a feature film directed by Blake Edwards, best known for its scene of actress Bo Derek walking out of the water onto the beach in a tight wet bathing suit. Terrence McNally was a playwright known for exploring gay issues in his works.

  • "B-baby, we ain't seen nothin' yet, over."

Lyric from Bachman Turner Overdrive's song "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet".

  • "Ed Wood's octopus scene was a lot more convincing than this."

In Edward D. Wood Jr.'s movie Bride of the Monster, the mechanical octopus's motor didn't work, so the actors had to thrash around while holding its tentacles to their bodies.

  • "Janet?" "Oh, I forgot, I'm nasty... Miss Jackson!"

A reference to the song "Nasty" by Janet Jackson: "No, my first name ain't baby/It's Janet/Miss Jackson if you're nasty."

  • "What's going on? I say hey-ey-ey-ey! Hey-ey-ey..."

A reference to the song "What's Going On?" by 4 Non Blondes.

  • "Please, Francisco Franco died quicker!"

A reference to Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and the many premature announcements of his death, which was famously parodied on Saturday Night Live.

  • "The Ox-Fish Incident!"

The Ox-Bow Incident is a Western novel in which three innocent men are accused of cattle rustling and lynched.

  • "Get your flame-throwers out, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit!"

Juicy Fruit is a brand of chewing gum. During the 1980s, Juicy Fruit TV commercials would begin with a jingle similar to the one Mike sings, based on whatever activity the commercial depicted (such as water-skiing).

  • "You know, I don't need Neil Young around, anyhow."

A reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd's song "Sweet Home Alabama", written in response to the song "Southern Man" by Neil Young.

  • "Southern Man, gonna EAT YOUR HEAD!"

"Southern man better keep your head" is from the 1970 song "Southern Man" by Neil Young (see above).

  • "Someone threw a match on the Cuyahoga River!"

The Cuyahoga River is a river that flows through Cleveland, infamous for its heavily polluted water. It was so polluted that it caught fire on several occasions. The river has since undergone an extensive cleansing process. Mike pronounces Cuyahoga (a Native American word) as "KOY-a-hoga", though locals more commonly pronounce it "KY-a-hoga".

  • "Start seeing motorcycles, Mike."

This refers to a public safety campaign that encourages motorists to be more aware of the presence of motorcycles and other small vehicles in an effort to reduce collisions and fatalities.

Memorable Quotes

[The film's title is shown.]
Servo: The story of Aleister Crappie!
[Mike and the bots react when one of Peter's testicles slips out of his shorts.]
Crow: WHOA!
Mike: INCOMING!!
[Peter then joins the rest of the crew.]
Crow [As Peter]: Heh heh... I "Hung one out" for fun!
[Bob and Peter see their rival following them.]
Peter: It's West! Think he's after "our friend?"
Bob: Oh I wouldn't put it past him. He's very ambitious! He'd sit on his own mother's face if he had anything to gain by it!
Crow: Hot image, Bob!
[Coming aboard the Seaquarium, Stella and Peter are looking for Dr. Janet.]
Peter: Janet! Janet!
Servo [as Peter]: Oh, sorry, I forgot. I'm nasty, Miss Jackson!
[Mad scientist Dr. Davis, armed with a gun, confronts WOI head Dr. West.]
Dr. Davis: Anyone who has the chance to tap the enormous reserves of the sea… will have the future, Doctor.
Dr. West: In his hands.
Dr. Davis: Exactly.
Crow [as Davis]: Yeah, thanks for helping me out there.
[Several squads of locals have volunteered to help the police and Coast Guard track down and burn the Devil Fish, while Peter acts as bait. They pour pink-tinted gasoline in the water.]

Crow [as Sheriff Gordon]: Deploy the Countrytime Pink Lemonade!
Servo: I bet they hired every nature-hating psycho in Dade County.
[Shot of skinny woman in bikini on raft]
Servo: See the Human Lady!
[That night, the squads are still looking for the Devil Fish.]
Sheriff Gordon: Squad number one. Report in.
Squad Member: Squad number one, Sheriff. Ain't seen nothing yet.
Crow [as Squad Member]: B-b-b-baby, we ain't seen n-n-nothing yet, over.
. . .
Sheriff Gordon: Squad number two. Squad number two!
Servo [as dead squad member]: We done been et, over!
. . .
Sheriff Gordon: Squad number two. Squad number two!
Crow: Oh, they'll be number two soon enough.
. . .
[The rednecks of Squad Number Two become a light snack for the Devil Fish.]
Servo [as Devil Fish]: [singing to Neil Young's "Southern Man"] Southern man, gonna eat your head!
. . .
[The Sheriff and the other squads arrive and again pour gasoline into the water.]
Crow: Well, this should take care of every living thing in the Everglades.
. . .
[The squads are playing flamethrowers over the gasoline, cooking the Devil Fish.]
Servo [as Sheriff]: Okay, now, throw in the diced onions and celery and chopped porcini mushrooms!
Crow: Does the Coast Guard have a lot of use for flamethrowers?
. . .
[Close up of burning water.]
Mike: Eww, someone threw a match on the Cuyahoga River.
. . .
[A woman is about to take off her bathrobe, but is interrupted by the doorbell]
Servo: Well, that's it, Mike. That's as close as I'll ever come.

Video releases

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