An unconventional mermaid movie to say the least, this is about as far from Ariel as you can get. It’s a horror film starring a mermaid as well as being a gothic psychological thriller period piece. Carla Gugino plays Lily, a beautiful sideshow performer who specializes in being a mermaid, with Rufus Sewell as Angus, the carnival barker. Lily’s act attracts the attention of an old sea captain who happens to have a real live mermaid in a tank at home (who doesn’t?). Angus, floored by encountering the genuine article, immediately sees dollar signs and makes off with the mermaid, and he and Lily board a ship bound for America. Then, in the best traditions of B-movies, things start to go horribly wrong. Gifford sums it up beautifully when he confronts Angus. “You told me, ‘Let’s take a mermaid to America, get rich and famous.’ Not ‘Let’s steal the Queen of the What’s-It, what turns into a monster and eats people.’ I think I would’ve remembered the difference!” IMDB.com lists this as “Mermaid Chronicles: Part 1” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0274659/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1) which implies there will be a part 2, but alas, it never got made. This is not great cinema but it does have a creepy hypnotic quality to it as it subverts all the sweet mermaids from fairy tale canon, turning them into creatures of nightmare. – BETHANY
Carla Gugino’s Lily playing a sideshow “mermaid”.
The old sea captain, owner of the mermaid.
Rufus Sewell’s Angus and the real mermaid. Cha-Ching!
Various shots from the movie
Photos courtesy of Cinemax