Deep UndeadOverview -
Fans of underwater horror will enjoy checking out Deep Undead now on Blu-ray from Saturn’s Core. When a group of divers investigate a mysterious shipwreck near a leaking nuclear power plant, they soon discover they’re not alone. From SOV icon Dave Castiglione, the film is an entertaining mix of eco-horror and creature feature. The disc from Saturn’s Core and OCN Distribution provides a solid A/V presentation and is loaded to the gills with bonus features. For SOV fans and those who enjoy underwater horror, this one is Recommended.
When a pair of divers go missing near The Catfish, the notorious site of a mysterious 1920s shipwreck, a tenacious news reporter Megan Flowers (Pamela Sutch) becomes determined to unravel the mysterious connection between the divers’ disappearance and the ominous nuclear power plant located on the shores of the small coastal community. When a local, close knit group of salvage divers are enlisted to search the area, the tension mounts as the shores become awash in radioactive corpses and bloodsucking, mutant vampire humanoids!
Started in 1999 but not released on video until 2005, Saturn’s Core is proud to present the definitive release of director Dave Castiglione’s elusive, shot on video, aquatic eco-horror epic Deep Undead. An homage to the underwater creature features of the 1980’s that features a cavalcade of ‘90s SOV luminaries including Pamela Sutch (Psycho Sisters), Dawn Murphy (Backwoods Marcy), Mick McCleery (Addicted to Murder), Debbie D. (Burglar From Hell), Laura Giglio (Sorority Slaughter), & Osman Karriem (Love Is a Stranger Again), Deep Undead takes a deep dive into terror with its atmospheric scares, pulsing synth score, telepathic mutant sexcapades, and hypnotic underwater videography.
directed by: Dave Castiglione
starring: Pamela Sutch, Vince Butler, Debbie D., David Maul, Dawn Murphy
2005 / 104 min / 1.85:1 / English DTS-HD MA 2.0
- Region Free Blu-ray
- New transfer of the 2019 director’s cut version from the original SVHS master (104 min.)
- Audio commentary with director Dave Castiglione moderated by Ross Snyder of Saturn’s Core
- New transfer of the original 2005 VHS cut from the original SVHS master
- "Diving Deeper Into Deep Undead” -a new feature length retrospective documentary featuring director Dave Castiglione, composer Matt Cannon, author Richard Mogg, and stars Debbie D., Laura Giglio, Mick McCleery, & Phil Herman
- Q&A from the 2019 cast & crew reunion screening at the Blue Moon Theatre
- “Beyond the Deep Undead” -archival making-of featurette
- Two alternate endings
- “Open House” (2020) -a short film directed by Matt Cannon starring Deep Undead filmmaker Dave Castiglione
- Photo / artwork gallery
- Reversible cover art
- English SDH subtitles
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
“There appears to be a telepathic desire for them to breed.”
In 1929, a speakeasy party hosted in a lighthouse goes awry when the bartender sprouts fangs and begins chewing on the guests. We cut to 2007 and see two scuba divers investigating a shipwreck but fall prey to a mysterious force pulling them to their deaths. Soon, a dive team is hired by the local nuclear power plant to find the bodies as the incident on their property. A recent spill from the plant has caused controversy about the safety of the waterways, creating unrest among the locals. As the dive team navigates the murky depths, they begin facing more fantastic terrors than the bumbling suits from the energy corporation.
Deep Undead starts off well, giving us a backstory to the horrors we’re about to witness with roaring 20s vampires paired with a modern-day shipwreck connection. Perfect. As we’re introduced to the dive team and the agents from the nuclear plant, matters become clunky, like the dialogue the actors are required to spew. It becomes clear, though, that the plant doesn’t look out for the welfare of its contractors or the local waterways.
The film's strengths lie in its unique setting and the impressive use of underwater cinematography for a low-budget SOV feature. Castiglione makes good use of the claustrophobic and eerie atmosphere of the underwater world during dive sequences. Overall, the scenes of the divers exploring the sunken ship are genuinely suspenseful, even if they become tedious. While I deride the film for its uneven approach, I applaud it for attempting to tackle the issues of unregulated nuclear waste disposal and its effect on marine life, even if that marine life contains aquatic ghost vampires.
The cast of non-professional actors knows what they’re committing to here, even when required to detail the water filtration systems of nuclear power plants or sport the giant fake breasts of an aquatic vampire. Sadly, most of the cast never acted again after filming Deep Undead. Fans of W.A.V.E Productions will enjoy seeing regular cast members Debbie D.(Burglar From Hell) and Pamela Sutch (Psycho Sisters) tearing up the scenery. In the intro, Debbie is a seductive flapper girl, and Pamela stars as ace reporter Megan Flowers.
Anxious to combine elements of environmental horror and creature features, Deep Undead is a rushed mix of genres once the film figures out what to do with it all. Pacing issues aside, knocking the film for swinging for the fences is tough. It is a bold effort for sure, with the impressive underwater sequences and eco-horror themes combined to make an entertaining SOV thriller.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Deep Undead arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Saturn’s Core and OCN Distribution. The All-Region disc is housed in a transparent keep case with reversible artwork. Loading the disc presents the Saturn’s Core and Sharkey Video logos before landing on the Main Menu screen with scenes from the film playing against typical navigation options.
Deep Undead finds its depth on Blu-ray with an AVC-encoded 1080p image in the film’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. As expected, with an SOV feature, image quality is limited by the source material. Detail is minimal within the frame, with occasional close-ups offering minimal facial features. Primaries are muddy, not unlike the sea floor our divers are exploring. Compression issues are prevalent throughout the feature. Black levels suffer constantly. Underwater sequences are the highlight of this movie, which, given the difficulty of production, should be praised regardless of their clarity.
Deep Undead arrives with a single 2.0 DTS-HD MA mix that handles the material confidently. Dialogue is adequately defined, though muddy on occasion. Synth scoring is present throughout, achieving a tense atmosphere throughout the feature.
As expected, Saturn’s Core and OCN Distribution load this release with plenty for fans to enjoy. I recommend starting with the audio commentary before moving through the featurettes.
- Audio Commentary with Producer / Writer / Director Dave Castiglione, moderated by Ross Snyder of Saturn’s Core
- Diving Deeper into Deep Undead (HD 81:34) An all-new retrospective documentary on the film.
- Cast and Crew Q&A (HD 19:01) from the 2019 reunion at the Blue Moon Theater during the film’s restoration premiere.
- Beyond the Deep Undead (SD 26:27)This is an archival making-of documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew.
- Original 2005 Version (SD 84:36) A VHS cut of the film predating any restoration efforts.
- Alternate Ending (SD 4:19)
- Outtakes (SD 11:05)
- Short Film: Open House (HD 11:50) is a story about real estate and real fear by Matt Cannon, starring Dave Castiglione.
- Still Gallery (HD 8:45) is a gallery of images from the production autoplays accompanied by music from the film.
- Original Deep Undead Trailer (HD 1:19)
- Additional Sharkey Video Trailers (HD 8:08)
- Other Saturn’s Core Releases (HD 8:32)
Anyone who has spent time watching SOV features knows the novelty of the format and its ability to tell stories by shooting from the hip. Deep Undead struggles to leave this world behind and develop itself as a fully involved feature covering multiple genres and styles. It's an admirable effort for sure that is entertaining as hell, but it never fully satisfies in any direction. Thankfully, there are enough WTF moments to compensate for these shortcomings.
The disc from Saturn’s Core and OCN Distribution presents the film with a solid A/V package, given the film’s source limitations. An abundance of bonus features give fans plenty to chew on after the credits roll. For SOV fans and those craving an unhinged eco-horror creature feature, this comes Recommended.
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