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TV Terror Guide: The Bermuda Depths (1978)


Known primarily for its holiday television specials outsourced to Japanese animation companies, Rankin/Bass Productions occasionally financed live-action features. Three of these were made as TV movies in conjunction with Tsuburaya Productions, known primarily for its Ultra series (which began with Utraman in 1966.) We've already discussed The Last Dinosaur (1976), and now it's time for the second: The Bermuda Depths (1978.) It remains to be seen if we'll all be here one day to discuss The Ivory Ape (1980) or The Sins of Dorian Gray (1983.)

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The Bermuda Depths isn't as silly as its predecessor. In fact, at times it broaches some pretty serious subject matter. Lest you think it ever gets too serious, don't fret… there's a giant turtle. It doesn't spin or fly like our friend, Gamera, but it causes Jaws-like disruptions for small ships in... the Bermuda Triangle. Of all the explanations for the strange phenomena that happened there in the 1970s, I never imagined a giant turtle would be one. (Do strange things still happen there? I haven't heard anything about it in many years.)

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Magnus Dens (Leigh McCloskey) returns to his seaside home after a stint in a mental institution following a mysterious childhood trauma. It's time to learn what really happened to his father when their home high atop a cliff collapsed upon them. When he encounters the lovely Jennie Haniver (the lovely Connie Selleca) emerging from a deep -sea swim, memories return of them playing on the beach when they were children and witnessing the birth of a large (not yet giant) turtle as it hatches from its egg.

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Old friend of the family, Eric No-last-name (Carl Weathers), welcomes Magnus with open arms, literally, and invites him to accompany him in his work for Dr. No-first-name Paulis (Burl Ives.) The high-level purpose of their research is fuzzy, but fro some reasons Paulis wants to prove that giant creatures live at the bottom of the ocean. The characters don't make a strict connection to these creatures and events in the Bermuda Triangle, but I think it's implied. When the ethics become murky, Paulis removes himself from the project, but Eric willingly, and Magnus reluctantly, persevere.

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It's easy for us to persevere through the movie. It offers a lovely score, some decent miniature work, and an interesting collection of concepts. The Bermuda Depths is barely a thriller at all. Unfortunately for me, it leans a little too heavily toward fantasy with the mermaid-like legend of Jennie Haniver. That’s just my personal taste in genre, though. Others may find it enjoyable escapist entertainment, even with its core of sadness and grief. And, yes… there’s a giant turtle.

The Bermuda Depths is not available in full on YouTube. However, please visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV to watch other great movies from this series.

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