Cruise Into Terror (1978)


Directed by: Bruce Kessler

Written by: Michael Braverman


John Forsythe .... Reverend Charles Mather
Hugh O'Brien .... Andy
Frank Converse .... Matt Lazarus
Dirk Benedict .... Simon
Christopher George .... Neal Barry
Lynda Day George .... Sandra Barry
Lee Meriwether .... Lil Mather
Ray Milland .... Dr. Isiah Bakkun
Stella Stevens .... Marilyn Magnesun
Jo Ann Harris .... Judy Haines
Hilary Thompson .... Debbie Porter

Release Date: Made-for-TV: February 3, 1978





A bunch of people are going on a cruise in a yacht to the Gulf of Mexico and along their way they are by an egyptian tomb buried underneath some rocks of the ocean as bad luck has hit the passengers along the way including a shark attack as well as someone buried underneath some rocks while retrieving the Egyptian sarcophagus in the underwater cavern as a greedy Dr. Isiah Bakkun (Ray Milland) wants it for wealth but a Reverend Charles Mather (John Forsythe) warns the passengers on the history of this object owned by the devil as everyone starts to act strange and evil themselves as the sarcophagus is possessing everyone on board.


There's a beginning of the ocean and what's underneath which almost looked like a cheesy take on something like Jaws. Also we spot some corny moments like someone almost being late coming on board of the yacht with his ticket being on the wrong boat and asking for them to wait which also leaves that psychological type of feel to it all. Also we have a black cat prowling around the boat which seems to leave an impression that this feline is bad luck for part of the demonic curse that will unravel later on but looked a little too cute even when this critter hisses or growls.
We spot a real neat moment for a TV movie although it may look cheesy in today's standards in which one of the character's named Debbie spots red eyes glowing at her at night outside of the yacht and she nearly falls overboard which works well in a demonic type of horror film along with the cat screeching on deck as well. Adds a nice touch to the surroundings. Plus there's some suggestive lesbian moments when we meet her friend Judy.
Also we spot nice shots on an uplifting moment with everyone scubadiving off the yacht in which all of the surroundings looked nicely done as well as a shark coming in as it looked mildly suspenseful for a TV movie but yet we've seen it looke more terrifying than in something like in Jaws. Plus there's people's reactions freaking out that seemed unconvincing.
There's some effective situations when the yacht is near a buried tomb underneath the ocean with discussions on this which involves a greedy and obsessive Dr. Isiah Bakkun wanting it as well as a fearful Reverend Charles Mather preventing them from getting it and discussing the historical moment after Christ as well as the devil awakening and causing danger if they retrieve it which adds some nice suspense to the story on what we have a cringing feeling on what's going to happen later on. It was well written in for sure.
Nice shots on people scubadiving down to the tomb and digging up a mummy's coffin as well as nice suspenseful moments on a rockslide happening and burying some people alive even if at present time it would look rather cheesy nowadays but yet for a TV movie in it's time it looked effective. Gives you that psychological feeling of being hopeless to try and rescue the people trapped under the boulders.
A perfect shot on everyone spotting the mummy's golden tomb as well as some excitement over certain people. Plus some great close up shots on each of the character's faces when they look at it leaving the moments look truly mysterious. Nice suspenseful moments with Charles getting upset and demanding to put it back into the ocean as it leaves more impressions for suggestive horror moments that will later unravel into the plot.
We spot many moments with certain character's staring at the golden tomb with this object breathing and red eyes glowing as well as the people slowly acting strange or spooked when this happens as it offers a perfect chilling moment to the story and nicely well done while we watch these certain scene's.
The story really grows more intense afterwards when we see people slowly becoming possessed showing perfect dysfunctional values such as a moment with Lil Mather acting depressed and aggressive as well as her going crazy shouting out strange words and nearly attacking which is very memorable to anyone who saw this flick and her being held back.
There's also another good situation with Neal acting nasty towards his wife Sandra acting upset as this looked well focused when we continue to watch on what goes on here.
Alot of good situations with everyone struggling on the yacht to find a way to escape the madness while certain individuals starts to not act like themselves along with alot of nice suspenseful moments surrounding both Charles and Lil when they try to put a stop to the evil that goes on in the yacht.
Bottom line is that this is a neat little mysterious horror flick made for TV which seemed to be heavily influential on other horror films later on which another flick called Death Ship seemed to use some of the similar chemistry even if that one was a bad film in itself. It seems cheesy at first but really gets into the exciting moments later on.

The acting is very well performed as lead actor John Forsythe (Reverend Charles Mather) really brought out a ton of energy in his work as a nervous type of preacher and seemed to study this part incredibly well here. Seemed to do a great job acting perfectly serious with whatever happens in each scene as well as getting high strung and freaking out about the golden tomb that was placed on the boat. Plus he shows off a great focus when he tells a historical tale too. Shows off a great forceful might of aggressions close to the end of his performance while trying to put an end to the evil. Yes sir. He proves to be a worthy character actor indeed. He proves more worthy than just the voice over on a speaker phone in Charlie's Angels.
Frank Converse
(Matt Lazarus) was another one who certainly showed off a no nonsense type of behavior as well as having the perfect big guy type of looks to his part as well as doing well with his seriousness in his speaking to top it all off. Draws a nice mysteriousness to his role here and shows his still personality well onto the camera.
Dirk Benedict (Simon) really got into his part a great deal as he often has in TV shows during this time period acting perfectly entertaining and full of life too. He was convincing by hosting others onto the yacht and was on the ball with stuff. Shows off as a happy go lucky type of person here. Also knew on how to change that when the terrors start to occur here.
Christopher George (Neal Barry) as usual played the gruff and serious type here in which he shows a good type of bluntness to his attitude as well as offering some convincing sarcasm as well. He also shows off a nice intense type of behavior when he gets possessed by the tomb by acting perfectly obnoxious without overdoing it. He certainly made his presence unpleasant and unwelcoming by what he does here.
Lynda Day George (Sandra Barry) was convincing as the unhappy wife and real life wife to him. She offered nice chemistry by what she does here acting concerned about stuff but trying to act perfectly calm by what's going on without ending up into a nervous breakdown. Shows off some nice timid and scared emotions when the terror starts to strike around her. Shows a nice softness to her speaking too like she usually did in a show. Two thumbs up for her.
Lee Meriwether
(Lil Mather) had the most effective supporting role and a nice key to the story too. Really brought it out a great deal by acting like a convincing basket case as well as coming across as beleiveably strange and depressed. Shows alot of good expressions while doing this too. She also really brought out her insanity big time too when she ends up being possessed and out of control. She for sure studied this scene inside out. A perfect one for the role here.
Ray Milland (Dr. Isiah Bakkun) was the best out of the cast I found with his greedy and slick type of appeal since he often portrayed these near villain type of roles here. Definetely showed a nice obsessive attitude on getting the tomb in which draws your attention wondering if he's an evil one in the story here. Has the right speaking voice for this and just rolls with the punches big time here as well as acting perfectly aggressive and persistent too.
Stella Stevens (Marilyn Magnesun) had the right sharp type of looks and mysterious personality too which really draws your attention as to what he purpose was in the story. She for sure acts perfectly charming when getting into a conversation wondering if she's a wicked one or not here. Added alot of nice spunk and appeal to her personality too as I enjoyed her performance here and another nice key character to the story.
Jo Ann Harris
(Judy Haines) shows off the nice and understanding one acting like a perfect sympathetic type in the story which made her role believeably likeable and open minded. She adds a perfect versatality when she suddenly snaps while being possessed and getting perfectly harsh and nasty almost acting violent too. She was perfectly on the ball here.
Hilary Thompson
(Debbie Porter) acted perfectly paranoid and high strung with her fears of the yacht in which she does well with her emotional and worrysome behavior. Came across as nearly annoying too which worked well into what she had to do here. She showed some decent energy while portraying a negative minded type here acting perfectly cowardly with things that goes on with her cruise.

The music at first sounds a bit cheesy with the orchestral playing for the near beginning of the movie taking place under water as it almost seemed to rip off the theme from Jaws but then it improves big time when the story starts rolling. There's many great low strong trombone playing as well as high and low violin quiverring too. Plus the odd drumbeats as well as perfectly spooky low and deep chanting sounds when the egyptian mummy tomb is put on board of the yacht. We also hear some chilling high wavy sounds too which was impressive as well as alot of heartbeat sounds adding more great touches to the composing. Plus there's a small scene during when a fire in the yacht happens when we hear old fashioned organ music adding a nice old fashioned type of horror film touch to all of this. Also in the middle of the story there's nice uplifting classical sounds when people are scubadiving from the yacht as well as detective type music too for the mysterious moments which seemed common for a show during this time period to have all of that. All of the music was nicely put together by Gerald Fried.