Anyone that has watched the History Channel has heard about the horrible automobile-Auschwitzs, vans that apparently drove around gassing Jews around the clock while strolling the block. These portable Death-Camps are just one of the many tales told after the second World War that make young children cry and the dreaded perpetrators want to die. But what if there was a Death-Camp sailing the mysterious seas today? What about an Evil Nazi ship that makes the Titanic look like the lush luxury ship that it was? In the 1980 movie Death Ship the horrors of the Hollywood concocted Evil-Supernatural-Nazi-Mythos enters the uncharted territories of a truly dead sea. Maybe Herr Goebbels should have taken some propaganda lessons from the masters of Hollywood for The Eternal Jew and Jew Süss are far too tame in comparison to the dreaded Death Ship!
Actor George Kennedy has come a long way since his performance as the goofy and loveable redneck Dragline in Cool Hand Luke. In Death Ship, an older Kennedy plays a deranged ship Captain named Ashland (a possible allusion to Auschwitz!?!) who becomes possessed by the ghostly SS (both kinds) spirit of a German Kriegsmarine ship. While making the killings happen as the captain, the refugee passengers of the Toten-Ship attempt to escape with their lives intact. Little do these passengers realize the powerful spirit of National Socialism has consumed Ashland’s ogre size body. While on the ship, the passengers are shocked with horror to see aesthetically pleasing red rooms with Swastikas and a micro-movie theater projecting unstoppable Nazi archive footage. SSpooky SStuff!
One of the “best” and most standout scenes in Death Ship is when the Holocaust victims are found on the ship. The skeletons of victims are scattered around and there is even a box found with the gold teeth of rich Jews!!!! The filmmakers must have taken a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., because their commitment to historical accuracy is impeccable. I couldn’t forget a scene involving a woman with a fat ass (check screenshot) taking a warm and bloody shower. The allusions to the Holocaust were with me throughout the scene. Without a doubt, Death Ship is pure Hollywood-GOLD in its unintentional commitment to being mildly humorous!
“Those who survive the ghost ship are better off dead!” is the zany and wonderfully wild tagline to the movie poster of Death Ship. I just wonder if the producers of Death Ship feel the same way about the survivors of the real Holocaust. Like the 1977 film Shock Waves before it, Death Ship is a film where the SS Ship of the Sea meets the SS of Heinrich Himmler’s genocidal glee. Unfortunately, aside from Captain Ashland, no awesome Nazi uniforms are present in Death Ship which is a must in any film dealing with the SS. All in All, Death Ship is another passable pile of cinema feces, but still preferable to Swindler’s List.