The Death Ship Docks!
A luxury cruise liner is sailing the Atlantic Ocean, full of passengers all having a good time. Captain Ashland (George Kennedy), is rather sour, seeing as this is his last trip and he doesn’t like rubbing elbows with the partying passengers. He just wants to run his ship and be left alone. What he and the others don’t know is that a derelict Nazi ship is out in the waters and headed straight towards the liner. It rams them, capsizing the boat, and only a handful of survivors make it out alive. They drift on the waters in a big life raft that looks like a giant Lego turned upside down. As they wait for possible rescue, the Nazi ship comes upon them and they board it, thinking they have been saved. The problem is, things just got incredibly worse. The ship is empty of crew but full of ghosts. One by one, the survivors get killed off, and Captain Ashland, who was injured in the initial sinking of his boat, now seems to be possessed by the Nazi ghosts running the ship. Can the scant few left alive get off the boat before they, too, are killed?
This is one that I always avoided back in the VHS days. I’m not sure why because the box cover art is killer and the concept is great. I think it had to do with George Kennedy being in it. I believe by that point I had seen a couple of low-budget stinkers he was a star in and took that as a sign that this one might stink, too. Good instincts. Death Ship isn’t a bad movie by any means, but man, it has no inspiration. Cool concept, good setup, and then it just kind of fizzles out. After a low-budget recreation of The Poseidon Adventure, there’s some weird moments, such as when the survivors find a film room and watch a reel of an old musical. It’s eerie and unsettling, but ultimately goes nowhere. There’s also the segment with the naked woman trapped in the shower, blood spraying from the shower head. She can’t escape and goes slowly crazy. That scene is pretty effective. But the rest of the film consists of a bunch of people wandering around, hearing odd noises, observing that the ship is running itself, interspersed with scenes of “accidents” and “mechanical failures” that turn into murder. It’s never scary and never claustrophobic, as it had great potential to be. In fact, if you edit down the naked-woman-in-the-shower-of-blood scene, this could easily pass as a Made-For-TV movie. It might have made more sense and come across better if they had.
Can’t really recommend this one to a casual fan of Horror or even to someone who likes to delve deeper. It has a couple of moments that keep it from being a turd, but that’s about it. This one is for Haunted Nazi Boat Completists, only.