Also in 1989, we were treated to Leviathan. This was set at a deep sea mining facility. Getting close to rotating out, they discover a sunken ship called the Leviathan. In hopes of claiming riches, they brink back a safe. But the safe just contains video tapes and a bottle of vodka.
The next morning, one of the crew is struck ill and dies. But this is only the beginning, as the mysterious disease that killed the man seems to be actively altering his body. Soon, a another crew member dies. After the Doctor (Richard Crenna) confirms no other crew have symptoms, he and Crew Boss Beck (Peter Weller) decide to get rid of the bodies. But before they can, it fights back. While trying to get rid of it, part of the body is sliced off and continues to grow while the crew is unaware.
The film is basically Alien underwater. The crew uses flame throwers to move around and fight it through labyrinthine hallways. They monster knocks off the various crew members until only a few remain.
This is a great cast. Weller was fresh off Robocop, you had Ghostbuster’s Ernie Hudson, Amanda Pays , Richard Crenna and Daniel Stern in pivotal roles. Then there are the effects. It is obvious this was made on a tight budget and a tight time frame. The Creature Effects were overseen by the Stan Winston Studio. This team included Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis who now run Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc.They manage to create a fearsome looking creature, in spite of not being given a specific design to work with. The director wanted a kitchen sink approach which results in the monster being somewhat of a mess, but it still work quite well most of the time.
If the only two movies that came out in 1989 about undersea crews fighting a monster were Leviathan and Deepstar Six? Leviathan is flat out the better film, in part due to it sticking so closely to the Alien Formula. But 1989 saw one other film which broke new special effects ground and left these two films in the dust.
The director George P. Cosmatos followed this film up with Tombstone. Really.