Death Ship (1980)

R | 91 mins | Horror | 16 April 1980

Director:

Alvin Rakoff

Cinematographer:

Rene Verzier

Editor:

Mike Campbell

Production Designer:

Chris Burke

Production Company:

Bloodstar Productions
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HISTORY

       A brief in the 7 Jun 1979 HR announced that principal photography on the $4.2 million film would start that week in Quebec City, Canada. According to a 4 Jul 1979 Var news item, interiors were filmed in Quebec City and the production moved in the vicinity of Mobile, AL, to shoot in the Gulf of Mexico. A 26 Jun 1979 HR news item stated that second unit filming and special effects were expected to shoot on the Gulf. The first unit was finishing filming in Quebec and would join the secondary crew by the week’s end. The 4 Jul 1979 Var reported that the production was expected to complete principal photography by 10 Jul 1979.
       According to the 28 Apr 1980 HR, the movie earned $701,114 after ten days of release in the Los Angeles area.

      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “We wish to thank for their cooperation: The Government of Canada; Transport Canada – Public Affairs; Coast Guard (Laurentian Region); Alabama State Film Commission; Quebec City.” End credits acknowledgments are followed by the written statement: “Made on location in Quebec City; Dauphin Island, Alabama; and the Gulf of ... More Less

       A brief in the 7 Jun 1979 HR announced that principal photography on the $4.2 million film would start that week in Quebec City, Canada. According to a 4 Jul 1979 Var news item, interiors were filmed in Quebec City and the production moved in the vicinity of Mobile, AL, to shoot in the Gulf of Mexico. A 26 Jun 1979 HR news item stated that second unit filming and special effects were expected to shoot on the Gulf. The first unit was finishing filming in Quebec and would join the secondary crew by the week’s end. The 4 Jul 1979 Var reported that the production was expected to complete principal photography by 10 Jul 1979.
       According to the 28 Apr 1980 HR, the movie earned $701,114 after ten days of release in the Los Angeles area.

      The following acknowledgments appear in the end credits: “We wish to thank for their cooperation: The Government of Canada; Transport Canada – Public Affairs; Coast Guard (Laurentian Region); Alabama State Film Commission; Quebec City.” End credits acknowledgments are followed by the written statement: “Made on location in Quebec City; Dauphin Island, Alabama; and the Gulf of Mexico.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1979
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 1980
p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
16 Apr 1980
Part VI, p. 4.
New York Times
25 Apr 1980
p. 9.
Variety
4 Jul 1979.
---
Variety
16 Apr 1980
p. 28.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Sandy Howard and Harold Greenberg Present
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Best boy
Key grip
Cam grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Ed asst
Ed asst
Ed asst
SET DECORATORS
Props master
Props buyer
Props buyer
SOUND
Sd des and post prod
Sd mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff asst
Sd eff asst
Post sync sd eff
Post sync sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Scr supv
Casting Canada
Casting Canada
Casting U.K.
Casting U.K.
U.S. unit mgr
U.S. loc mgr
U.S. prod asst
U.S. prod asst
Unit pub
Unit pub
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Adv on German memorabilia
Tech adv
Tech adv
STAND INS
Stunt coord
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 April 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 April 1980
New York opening: 25 April 1980
Production Date:
early June--10 July 1979 in Quebec City, Canada
Dauphin Island and Mobile, AL
Copyright Claimant:
Bloodstar Productions, Ltd. & Bloodstar Film (A B P), Ltd.
Copyright Date:
7 November 1980
Copyright Number:
PA86337
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Panaflex® camera and lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Captain Ashland gives last minute orders to his crewmembers before leaving to attend an on-board Mardi Gras-costume party with the passengers. After he leaves, crewmembers notice a mysterious vessel on the radar headed straight for the ship. The captain is warned about the approaching Nazi vessel and returns to the bridge. Despite changing the cruise ship’s course, and sounding an alarm, the luxury liner is sunk. Ship officer Trevor Marshall, his wife, Margaret, and their two children, Robin and Ben, float on a wooden raft with several other passengers. Suddenly, Capt. Ashland’s hand breaks through the water and the men pull him onto the raft. The Nazi ship appears and survivors row toward it. Nick, a cruise ship officer, climbs aboard, finds the ship deserted and helps the other passengers. Then, he and Trevor assist Capt. Ashland but a tremor catapults the men into the ocean. On deck, Lori saves the men by throwing a rope ladder. Suddenly, a pulley mysteriously grabs Jackie, the cruise ship’s master of ceremonies, by the ankle and dunks him in the ocean face first. Then, Jackie is hoisted in the air out of reach and plunged back into the ocean, where the current pulls him under. While Trevor, Margaret, and passengers, Sylvia Morgan and Lori, explore the deserted cabins filled with cobwebs, Capt. Ashland hears voices speaking German and slips back into unconsciousness. After the group finds a large stateroom with beds, they split up. Margaret and her children search for the galley, while Lori hunts for dry clothing. She discovers a stateroom with a record playing on an antique phonograph and turns off the music, but it plays again ... +


Captain Ashland gives last minute orders to his crewmembers before leaving to attend an on-board Mardi Gras-costume party with the passengers. After he leaves, crewmembers notice a mysterious vessel on the radar headed straight for the ship. The captain is warned about the approaching Nazi vessel and returns to the bridge. Despite changing the cruise ship’s course, and sounding an alarm, the luxury liner is sunk. Ship officer Trevor Marshall, his wife, Margaret, and their two children, Robin and Ben, float on a wooden raft with several other passengers. Suddenly, Capt. Ashland’s hand breaks through the water and the men pull him onto the raft. The Nazi ship appears and survivors row toward it. Nick, a cruise ship officer, climbs aboard, finds the ship deserted and helps the other passengers. Then, he and Trevor assist Capt. Ashland but a tremor catapults the men into the ocean. On deck, Lori saves the men by throwing a rope ladder. Suddenly, a pulley mysteriously grabs Jackie, the cruise ship’s master of ceremonies, by the ankle and dunks him in the ocean face first. Then, Jackie is hoisted in the air out of reach and plunged back into the ocean, where the current pulls him under. While Trevor, Margaret, and passengers, Sylvia Morgan and Lori, explore the deserted cabins filled with cobwebs, Capt. Ashland hears voices speaking German and slips back into unconsciousness. After the group finds a large stateroom with beds, they split up. Margaret and her children search for the galley, while Lori hunts for dry clothing. She discovers a stateroom with a record playing on an antique phonograph and turns off the music, but it plays again after she leaves. Trevor and Sylvia move the captain to a bed in the large stateroom. As Capt. Ashland rests, he hears more German voices and hallucinates about a German officer standing on the bridge. While Trevor and Nick visit the chart room, Capt. Ashland hears more German voices and tries to get up, but Sylvia insists he stay in bed. She finds and eats two peppermints from a candy jar in the cupboard. Soon, Trevor discovers the ship’s course is set in circles while most of the radio equipment is forty years old and useless. Somewhere on the ship, a projector plays a movie and the women and children passengers hear the soundtrack. They investigate, and find the machine turned off. In the engine room, Trevor and Nick cannot determine how the ship is powered because all the gauges read empty. Margaret turns on the movie projector and an amusing old black and white American movie musical plays. Ben returns to the stateroom and persuades Sylvia to watch the movie. On deck, Trevor and Nick find a lifeboat in which to escape. The lights are turned on after the projector breaks, and Sylvia’s features are grotesque. Robin and Lori become frightened and run away. Sylvia returns to the stateroom and kneels in front of the captain. He speaks German and strangles her while he hallucinates that she is a crewmember. Trevor finds her dead and covered with a blanket in the stateroom. Capt. Ashland explains a seizure caused her death and orders the passengers to gather for a burial at sea. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the ship’s two lifeboats are spontaneously released into the water. Sometime later, Capt. Ashland changes into a German naval uniform and summons Trevor to the bridge. The captain invites Trevor to take the wheel but it will not budge. Only Capt. Ashland can steer it and he is determined to sail the ship to eternity. He informs Trevor this is one ship that the young officer will never command, although he would have been promoted to captain on the cruise ship. Later, Trevor tells his wife that the ship has possessed Capt. Ashland. At bedtime, Lori takes a shower. Meanwhile, Robin escorts Ben to the bathroom and they become lost. As Lori showers, the water turns to blood, the door locks and Nick runs for help, while Lori cowers on the shower floor. Soon Nick recruits Trevor to help but when they return to the shower, Lori is gone and the blood in the shower has become water again. Capt. Ashland throws Lori’s limp body overboard as Nick and Trevor watch. Trevor and Nick chase Capt. Ashland, who leads them into a series of compartments. The first is filled with Nazi memorabilia. In the next, the men discover a tray filled with extracted gold teeth and a drawer packed with gold watches. They escape to another cabin filled with shackled cobweb-covered skeletons and hear the screams of the dead. Finally, they see the projector playing a newsreel featuring Adolph Hitler. The film continues to play as Trevor tries to destroy it. Nick panics and dives into an open tank of water on the ship’s deck. As Nick surfaces, Capt. Ashland traps him in a net and drowns him. Afterward, the captain announces that the ship needs blood to survive but Trevor stabs him with a table knife. Trevor escapes and discovers a meat locker with the corpses of American servicemen hanging from hooks. He grabs some of their lifejackets and a raft for his family. On deck, Trevor lowers the ship’s anchor. Capt. Ashland shoots at Trevor and his family with his rifle, insisting that no one leave. Margaret releases the raft into the sea and the children jump overboard. Capt. Ashland grabs Margaret and locks her in a cabin. She escapes, finds Trevor and they abandon ship. The captain destroys the ship’s navigational equipment when he is unable to alter course. The ship retaliates by grinding up the captain in its machinery. A search helicopter saves the Marshall family, and the ghost ship sails off into the night. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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