Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Bermuda Depths

Some things from your childhood stay with you a long, long time.  For me, one of those things was a made for TV movie called "The Bermuda Depths."

Way back in January 27, 1978 there came a made for TV movie called "The Bermuda Depths".  It was only shown once on TV but it was one of those events in my childhood that I remember even to this day.  I remember watching this movie, sitting spellbound in front of the old console Zenith TV and I remember feeling really, really sad after the movie was over.

"The Bermuda Depths" was a once in a lifetime event and if you missed it as a kid, you missed it and everyone was telling you about it the next day at school.  This was back before VCRs, before DVRs, before the Internet so you couldn't go rent this movie, you couldn't get on a computer and look it up and three months after it aired you couldn't go to a store and buy a copy of it.  Once it played and once it was over it was basically gone forever ... you either saw it or you didn't.  Those who saw it remember it to this day, so my experience has told me.

Check out some of the actors ...

Carl Weathers.  

Connie Sellecca.  

Burl Ives!  

It was Connie Sellecca's first TV appearance and if you were an 8 year old like I was ... whooooo, mama!  

We all know Carl Weathers as "the brother from Rocky" and later as "Action Jackson" and he faced down The Predator in a jungle down in South America.  

"I'm on a boat."

Carl Weathers has always been a bad ass of an actor, at least in my humble opinion.  If anyone can rock the "I've got a Gilligan hat, a speedo and a scoped bazooka with a harpoon loaded in it and I'm about to kick kaiju turtle ass" look, it's my main man Carl Weathers.

Burl Ives?  

He was "Sam the Snowman" in the Rankin Bass "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" children's holiday specials that we grew up loving so much.

Rankin Bass ... The company that brought us the animated "Hobbit" cartoon?  Remember that other unforgettable childhood event?  "The Hobbit" came along late in the 1970's when Dungeons and Dragons was just starting to get cool but I digress ... 

Rankin Bass got with Tsuburaya Productions who was famous for doing the special effects for "Ultraman" (another show I used to get up at 6am every Saturday morning in the '70's and watch on Ted Turner's  SuperStation (WTCG later renamed WTBS).

"The Bermuda Depths" came on only once, as far as I know, and those of us who watched it would always remember it ... for years ... for decades ... afterwards.

Here's a synopsis from IMDB

"Traumatized, orphaned college dropout Magnus Dens returns to Bermuda to find the cause of his father's mysterious death years before. At the Bermuda Biological Station, he finds Eric and Dr. Paulis, friends and colleagues of his late father, and joins them on a quest for gigantic sea creatures. He also meets Jennie Haniver, a mysterious young woman who was once his only childhood friend. Dr. Paulis' housekeeper, an island local, warns Magnus that Jennie is dangerous. The beautiful but vain young woman had sold her soul with the Devil centuries before and lives forever young deep in the waters of the Devil's Triangle (a.k.a. Bermuda Triangle). Nobody heeds the folklore and the researchers trap the giant sea turtle, setting the stage for a deadly confrontation with both minions of the Devil."

Here's a nice amateur review of the movie from Cinema Apocalypse.

Basically "The Bermuda Depths" is a cheap horror / thriller, made for TV but like I said, those of us who, as kids, tuned in and watched it ... well, we never forgot it.  "The Bermuda Depths" isn't just a cheap horror / thriller ... it's a supernatural love story that will break your heart (it did mine when I was a child).  There are many things that I remember about this movie but what I think I remember the most is the theme music.  It had this really sad song called "Jenny" that played in the background and that song stuck in my mind for years afterwards.

Decades after I saw the movie on TV, I keep running into people who remember the movie but never remember the name.  It was like one of those childhood events where, if you weren't there you missed it and that was that.  It took me decades to track down the information on the movie (thank you, Internet) and I finally got a copy of the movie on DVD (TV quality) off Ebay about a decade ago.

What's been neat is how many people I run into that, when we discuss growing up in the 1970's that "the monster turtle movie on TV" always seems to come up in conversation.

If you get a chance to watch this give it some slack ... the FX are done by the same people who did "Ultraman" so the monster / miniature sequences are about on par with a 1970's Godzilla film ... other than that it's a pretty good romp and, like I said, if you were 8 years old when you saw this (like I was), it's something that will stay with you for a long time afterwards ... decades.