Mystery Science Theater 3000 season 12, episode 3: Lords of the Deep


Once again Mystery Science Theater 3000 squares off against schlockmeister producer Roger Corman with “Lords of the Deep”.

As Kinga and Max alluded to in the last episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, “Lords of the Deep” was one of a handful of underwater films to come out in the late 80s with the most remembered example being James Cameron’s The Abyss.

As a matter of fact, Max describes it as “if James Cameron made The Abyss over the weekend with stuff from the 99 cent store” so gleefully, that it feels like “Lords of the Deep” might be a personal bad movie favorite of Patton Oswalt’s up there with Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.

For the invention exchange, Jonah presents an air hockey table for the bathroom with air coming courtesy of a hand dryer.  Things take a turn for the gross though when a urinal cake is used as the hockey puck.

Kinga and Max on other hand present what they call Drone Probes.  They attach marionette puppets to a set of drones to properly harass people from afar.  These end up being easily neutralized by simply cutting the strings.

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As the movie starts we are introduced to the crew and research team aboard an underwater research laboratory.

The cast includes biologist Claire played by Suzanne Somers’ replacement on Three’s Company Priscilla Barnes.

There’s also the weirdly whiny, ineffectual and increasingly hammy Commander Dobler played by Bradford Dillman who kind of looks like a discount Ricardo Montalban with a questionable hair day.

We’ve also Claire’s boyfriend O’Neill played by the film’s co-writer Daryl Haney.  Haney actually spent several years screenwriting films for Roger Corman and also wrote Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.  Sadly for him, his screenwriting career seemed to peak there as a few years later his credits were mostly limited to shorts and Skinemax and even that work mostly dried up for him around 2004.

The rest of the crew is so generic and forgettable Crow at one point asks “Which brown-haired white guy is this again?”

Fair warning if you go into this movie expecting something along the lines of Alien but underwater like I was, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.  While that wouldn’t have been the most original idea for a movie, it still would’ve been far more interesting than Lords of the Deep.

As the plot starts (what little there is of it) in the not too distant future, the crew prepares to be replaced by a new team.  Commander Dobler gets a call from an executive of the lab’s owners Martel Incorporated.  Dobler warns that the researchers don’t like being replaced but the executive tells Dobler to have faith and Martel has their best interests at heart in such a sinister way the only thing missing is an“MWAH HA HA!”

Meanwhile, Claire is examining an unknown specimen and when she touches it she has mysterious psychic visions.  She continues to have them throughout the movie though Servo rightfully points out that a good chunk of them look like the opening theme of a classic Doctor Who episode.

When they lose contact with the replacement crew after a sudden earthquake, one of the crew is sent to investigate the problem.  When they bring him back to the surface his body has been replaced by a slimy glob with the same composition as the sample Claire has been studying.  Over the course of the movie, it turns into a stingray like a creature fake enough looking to make Ed Wood jealous and escapes.

After this happens Dobler tries to get the crew to sign some Non Disclosure Agreements and with one exception they all refuse.  This feels like something a big corporation would have squared away BEFORE something bad happens for this exact reason but whatever.

Since most of the effects budget seems to have been used on the stingray, the expendable remaining crew members start to get killed off screen.

As it turns out though, the big threat to the crew has less to do with the aliens supposedly attacking the base and more to do with sabotage from an increasingly homicidal Dobler.

Claire and O’Neill being the last survivors of Dobler’s insanity, discover the aliens are no threat.

As a matter of fact, with the disappearance of the ozone layer making life on the surface unsustainable, they want to help humans adapt to living underwater.

Dobler and the folks at Martel on the other hand already knew about the aliens and want to kill them all.  Dobler had been killing off the crew basically because they knew too much, though Martel was less than happy Dobler’s actions since ironically he was only supposed to kill Claire.

Claire and O’Neill are able to escape to the lab before it’s destroyed by another earthquake, while Dobler is left behind to die, also off screen.

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Thanks to Claire’s psychic visions, she and O’Neill are able to live happily ever after in the alien civilization.

With the Gauntlet now half over, Joel, Servo and Crow will now have to face “The Day Time Ended”.

What did you think of this episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!