Halloween is here, and as well as fancy dress, trick or treat and creatively-carved pumpkins, another creepy tradition for many of us is scaring ourselves silly by watching horror films. Of course, half the fun is laughing at them as well, with plots as transparent as the rubbish fake blood and acting more wooden than a polished teak deck. The sea and some of its more fantastical denizens have certainly played their part in a number of horror films over the years, as have a number of beleaguered cruise ships, so here’s a look at just some of them.
Cast your mind back to the 1960s, a time when it was a rare privilege indeed to travel on an ocean liner, in this case the Italian ship Antonia Graza. Everyone’s dancing and having a good time both on deck and in the ship’s ballroom when one of the most memorable horror film intro scenes in recent years happens. The rest of the film isn’t nearly as memorable, as crew members of a present day salvage vessel which has spotted the drifting Antonia Graza are picked off one by one in classic horror film style, during the course of their investigations.
Luxury cruise ship the Argonautica (see what they did there?) has just embarked on her maiden voyage. Obviously, being a luxury ship, there’s plenty of rich pickings to be had in the vault, something which has attracted the attention of a bunch of sea mercenaries. Of course, said mercenaries get their just desserts when they are picked off by mysterious and fearsome sea creatures which decide to lay siege to the ship. Very silly but a lot of fun.
The clue’s in the name, really. If you’re looking for a ridiculous plot, then you won’t go far wrong with this. Imagine, if you will, a vengeful ship, sort of an aquatic version Steven Spielberg’s sinister truck in Duel, which prays upon a group of passengers it has previously ‘rescued’ after a sea collision. For added horror points, it is of course a Nazi torture ship, which has been sailing around for years, completely ignorant of the Allied victory, picking off unlucky sea-goers at will.
Cruise into Terror
This one gets bonus points for having ‘cruise’ in the title, then promptly loses them thanks to its totally rubbish sense of geography and a plot which makes Death Ship look like Battleship Potemkin. Here goes. Dirk Benedict and John Forsythe are on a cruise ship which is searching for Egyptian relics off the coast of Mexico and also, as it turns out, the remains of Satan’s child are on-board the ship. This one was clearly a TV movie for a reason.
This John Carpenter classic isn’t quite as well-respected as his topically-named horror classic Halloween, but for the purpose of this blog, it fits the aquatic bill perfectly, as, though there’s no cruise ship, there are several vengeful members of the undead, returning from their watery grave to give the residents of a coastal town (including Jamie Lee Curtis as a lighthouse-dwelling DJ) what for.
By Simon Brotherton