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Bloodtide, AKA Demon Island, AKA James Earl Jones Needed a New Water Heater, is pretty much The Creature From the Black Lagoon Greek Holiday. An American tourist, played by Martin “Sweep the Leg” Kove of Karate Kid fame, goes looking for his lost sister in the Greek isles. What’s the worst that could happen?
The film actually starts all the way back in ancient Greece, when Larry King was just learning to shave, and the folks on the island are in the middle of a virgin sacrifice. And no, they ain’t tossing her to Gene Simmons, but rather some kinda critter in the water.
Fast-forward to the always-whacky 1980s, and Kove, with bikini-clad wife in tow, is island hoping around Greece looking for his estranged sister, who musta not gone to my high school, because she is a virgin. Kove finds a Greek island where throwing cats is a type of greeting and Cousin Balki is nowhere to be found. Jose Ferrer (the Emperor in Dune) runs the show, and he subjects Kove and his wife to the island’s clumsiest waiter, in hopes of scaring them off.
But Kove will not be turned away by any waiter, no matter how clumsy (as long as he ain’t trained by Mr. Miyagi, I s’pose). Kove finds his sister, who splits her days between hanging with island’s nuns and a very drunk James Earl Jones—and at this point in the film, one wishes they were as drunk as JEJ. It would only improve things. But JEJ, being a talented actor, is not content to just sit around and drink, nah, he quotes Shakespeare. A lot. Character depth: he has it.
Why is JEJ on the island? It ain’t the cat throwing or Jose Ferrer’s mustache keeping him there. Treasure. He has found a sealed door in an underwater cave. Because, nothing bad could be behind a bricked up door in a secret, underwater cave on a secluded island.
After JEJ’s Shakespeare filled demolition, an eerie mist flows out of the cave. No big deal, right? Wrong. Something nasty was hidden in that cave, and it wasn’t the Little Mermaid. What hath Darth Vader wrought?
Speaking of mermaids, we’re treated to a “beach day” scene with blondes in bikinis. Thank you for the distraction, Movie. The high point of this scene involves melons, no, not the kind in the ladies’ bikini tops—watermelons. JEJ demonstrates the correct way to prepare said melon: “You don’t cut watermelon with a knife!” he says, before punching the doomed melon open like it was an Ewok’s head.
While all this melon punching is going on, Kove’s sister begins to lose it. She has been working on restoring an old church painting of a guy fighting a monster, and keeps finding older versions under each layer. The first new layer is a guy fighting some kind of fish monster, but the next layer, shows an anatomically correct fish man attacking a woman—and let’s just say he is “standing tall” in the painting.
Forty-two minutes into the movie, give or take, we get our first kill and it is very Jaws-like. We also see our monster—which looks like a sea horse man. And it ain’t the last kill either. The bodies start piling up all over the island, and only the sacrifice of a virgin can quell the beast’s hunger. Kove won’t stand for such a thing, and neither will JEJ. But, the most terrifying part of the film is yet to come: Kove and his sister—his SISTER—share a rather passionate, touchy-feely kiss. This marks yet another JEJ film where the relationship ‘tween a brother and sister is a bit, to use the Facebook jargon, “Complicated.”
The first 40+ minutes of the film are rough, but JEJ’s over-the-top, drunken Shakespeare scenes are amusing (as is the watermelon punching scene). The monster is pretty creepy, even though you don’t see it too much, and the use of a real Greek island makes for a great location.
But the real gem here is the beach aerobic scene with one of the leading ladies. A drinking game could improve this film: take a drink whenever JEJ quotes Shakespeare, and forsooth, you’ll be in the same mindset as his character forthwith.
Check out the trailer for “Bloodtide”