Death Ship (1980)

Directed by: Alvin Rakoff

Written by: John Robins

Story by:
Jack Hill & David P. Lewis


George Kennedy .... Ashland
Richard Crenna .... Trevor Marshall
Nick Mancuso .... Nick
Sally Ann Howes .... Margaret Marshall
Kate Reid .... Sylvia
Victoria Burgoyne .... Lori
Jennifer McKinney .... Robin Marshall
Danny Higmham .... Ben
Saul Rubinek .... Jackie

Release Date: Theatrical: March 7, 1980



A cruise ship operated by Captain Ashland (George Kennedy) spots a ship is heading towards them and tries to send them a distress signal but the unknown ship crashes into the cruise ship causing it to sink with most of the people killed.
The survivors which were Ashland as well as some of the employees discover an abandoned army freighter as they climb aboard it yet a couple end up being killed by some so called accidental deaths.
Everyone is slowly realising that the ship has a life of it's own and that one of the people named Trevor Marshall (Richard Crenna) is experiencing some strange changes in Ashland.
Ashland is possessed by a German Nazi that worked for Hitler and makes no escape for the rest that stay on it and slowly kills everyone on board.


Interesting low budget shots on the freighter and how worn it looks along the ocean for the opening sequences of the film which does look genuinely spooky while watching all of this.
Then we spot a cruise ship and people looking happy while on board at a dangling lounge with cheesy disco type of music playing in the background along with corny discussions between Ashland and some children as well as their parents after eating with nice reactions towards one another.
Also nice spooky moments with people driving the cruise ship and spotting the freighter and trying to avoid it as well as them discussing that it seems to continues to charge at them which leaves a good chill down your spine as well as panicking moments on Ashland and the others trying to prevent this from happening which is of course disturbing to watch for a luxorious cruise ending in a deadly situation. Things look horrifying with the water on the ocean breaking into the ship. Seems to work in well.
We spot a moment with the survivors on a raft as well as spotting a hand of Ashland bursting out of the water which was supposed to make you jump but seems to miss by a longshot.
A nice shot on the freighter as well as people calling to it but yet their echoey voices calling out seems to be a bit off and seemed like it was overly dubbed not sounding as if they were out in sea calling. Hoiwever interesting cheesy moments with windows opening on the ship by themselves and closing which is a true attention grabber.
Alot of suspenseful shots on the people trying to climb on the ship and spotting deadly incidents happening on the freighter to prevent them from getting on which looked perfectly creepy.
A real nice camera shot on a crane of the ship grabbing onto one of the people that came on board and dropping him into the water and then the anchor lifting with this ship leaving which gives you a real fearful feeling on this guy being sucked down which worked in well.
Perfect shots on everyone going inside the ship with deadly looking cobwebs making the scenery looking totally unpleasant as well as one of them telling the others as if the ship has a mind of it's own which was a perfect write in for a horror flick.
Also we spot one of the kids filling up a cup of ugly looking water about to drink it but their Mom telling him not to drink it till it's heated up. Defientely a gross out feel anyhow imagining he was going to drink it.
Perfect shots on Ashland gaining conciousness and spotting hallucinations as well as creeping looking ghoulish corpses in the hallucinations which makes you psych out totally.
Perfect creepy scene with one of the people Sylvia turns her head and her face looks deformed like a zombie and the kids running away as well as her trying to run in the halls of the ship trying to find some help which leaves a nice low budget creepy horror fashion here.
Perfect moment with Ashland wearing a captain uniform and getting creepy explaining the ship towards Trevor Marshall as well as his plans which is spookily wirtten and leaving a chill down your spine while we watch on what goes on here.
However there is a scene that was often remembered with Lori taking a shower and then it turns to blood in which this scene takes way too long while we spot other moments happening with all of this happening to her while she's trapped in the shower. I was thinking to myself get to the point already!!!
Perfect moment with the two kids Robin and Ben wandering through the ship which is creepy in it's own words and trying to find a washroom which was nicely put into the story.
Cheest situation with Ashland throwing Lori off the ship as if he was using a sacrifice. It was supposed to look effective but seemed a wee bit corny.
Great creepy moments when Trevor and Nick try to look for clues on the ship and finds some skeletal corpses and nice close up shots on this as the setting looked perfect as well as discovering a room on Hitler which unravels a mystery on this abandoned freighter.
Yet there is a shocking moment with someone landing in a net of a watery pit of the ship and spotting skeletal corpses which leaves a psychological touch to everything imagining if you can't escape from it all.
Also a real disturbing a gruesome moment when both Trevor and Margaret open up a freezing unit as to what they spot in there which is not pleasant and not for everyone's tastes either.
Nice suspenseful shots on the ship knocking off the rescue boats as well as cheesy moments on Ashland firing his rifle towards both Trevor and Margaret adding some mediocre action.
Perfect disturbing and deadly moments that involves Ashland inside the motor of the freighter which isn't pleasant as to what happens here to this poor fellow whom we remembered in the beginning of the film as a heroic captain of a cruise ship now turned evil and possessed.
I remember when I was little my parents were watching TV and this was on later on at prime time hours and could only stay up to watch half of it as I found the movie interesting then was upset I had to go to bed. Watching it now it looks so low budget with not alot of effort happening in the film. The film was incredibly depressing, evil and a very weird tale which isn't for everyone's tastes especially if they are feeling down. They tried to make it original but the story is terribly trashy and almost like a ripoff of the Shining or from a Stephen King type of story in general to top it all off. Better off next time.

Oscar winning actor George Kennedy (Ashland) lived to play the captain of a cruise ship as he was way too good for this movie itself. His performance is worth watching. Shows a nice type of serious but nice guy role on the cruise ship hanging out with a family at the dancing area and getting into this a great deal. Plus made his role believeable when he gets good and stern when trying to ewarn the freighter while the ship is about to crash into his boat and brings his anxious attitude to a great pace as well as perfect aggressions too. Plus shows a good moment acting out of it as well as acting psyched. Adds a perfect versatality by acting cold with his firm and sharp behavior and icy words. Added perfect obnoxious aggressions near the end of his performance too while firing his gun, getting insane when being demanding while trying to turn a wheel of a ship or hollering in pain just rolling in with the punches. I had to tell ya I found this to be his best performance ever.
Richard Crenna
(Trevor Marshall) was another fine actor who played his assistant and a strong minded one too. Seemed to come across as someone whom is wise and strong minded which he does this terrifically. Also shows good worrysome and concerned attitude when things start to turn nasty. He really knew on how to get to the point with stuff as well as adding alot of adrenaline when trying to warn others by getting off the ship. Plus does a great job nearly losing his mind too while spotting a film projector on Hilter and his marching band of NAZI's. Also shows great energy while trying to rescue his family and getting into this terrically.
Nick Mancuso
(Nick) showed great intense energy in the film as his part as a customer from the cruise ship. Shows okay energy while acting sexually active and knowing on how to energise himself within this. Also knew his craft by freaking out and bawling out someone when he spots something terrifying. Also was great gasping and acting intense while being trapped in a net. Knew on how to make these moments believeable too.
Sally Ann Howes
(Margaret Marshall) played a good and caring person in the film and pulls it off well. Does well with her calm type of motherly behavior along with getting into the mode perfectly by whatever she does. She also does a nice job when getting scared for when the terror strikes her too. She was a great character actress and had the right looks for this role. She stood out the most in her part of the film and can be fondly remembered.
Kate Reid (Sylvia
) was fairly mediocre in her part of the film but seemed to know on how to act upset as well as alerted into what is happening on the frieghter which draws your attention while watching her. Seemed to have a right elderly type of attitude as well as doing a great job while her face is mangled and getting into the mode by freaking out adding great energy.
Victoria Burgoyne
(Lori) seemed a bit over the top at times as her looks did more of the talking. When we hear her speak it sounds like her voice was overdubbed as we know alot of that is badly acted. She was very annoying when she was screaming and freaking out when blood was pouring from a shower which would make anyone to tell her to shut up.
Jennifer McKinney (Robin Marshall) brought her little girl charm well onto the screenj in which she shows a good bright type of attitude as well as showing her maturity. She seemed to know on how to relate to this part pretty nicely as well as having a good seriousness into her part of the story too.
Danny Higmham (Ben) seemed to do okay as well as the younger sibling whom seemed to act well by being needy as well as mischievieous along with acting a bit spoiled. Definetely brought it all in as one of those typical little kids whom wants more than he's getting. Also does a nice job acting scared about stuff as well as trying to figure on how to not make himself scared. He worked hard in his role.

Victoria Burgoyne is fully naked in a shower room with blood splattering on her and she spins around.

There are some corpses lying around.

We have some cheesy classical suspenseful music and synthesizer playing by composer Ivor Slaney. Sometimes it effective and sometimes it isn't. There's interesting shaky effects here and there as well as heartbeats too sounding perfectly deep which fits in nicely. Also the odd ghostly synthesizer and hissings too as this works in neatly. Nice trombone music and drum poundings making it sound adventureous. Some other dark music helped the story too. At times the classical music seems a bit dated though.

[on collision course with the titular ship]
Ashland: Signal him to alter course.
Seaman No. 1: I already have, sir.
Ashland: Well, signal him again, damnit.

Sylvia: This old ship.... Seems to have a life of it's own

Ben: Don't touch her Mom, she's poisonous!

Trevor Marshall): Where do you plan to sail her?
Ashland: Into eternity, Marshall. Eternity.

(In a flashback sequence) Ashland: This ship needs blood Marshall!

Ashland (While loading his rifle) No one leaves my ship Marshall! (Still loading his rifle) No one!