Plot: Magnus (Leigh McCloskey) has a strong connection to Bermuda, the place where he grew up and has vivid memories of his time there. The death of his father has haunted him his entire life, so he returns to Bermuda in search of answers, about his father and other concerns. As soon as he is back, he runs into several old friends, including a couple of his father’s colleagues. Dr. Paulis (Burl Ives) is still doing research about the mysteries of the depths, while Eric (Carl Weathers) is obsessed with what kind of strange sea life is out there. Eric is driven to find and capture live specimens, regardless of the dangers involved, which drives a wedge at times between he and Dr. Paulis. At the same time, Magnus runs into Jennie (Connie Sellecca), who was a childhood friend of his, now a beautiful woman. But this is no ordinary romance, as Jennie is an old sea legend, the subject of a tale about a woman who traded her soul for eternal youth, appearing only to doomed souls. Soon, Magnus, Eric, and Dr. Paulis find themselves pulled into a real sea quandary, as some kind of massive, perhaps mythical creature is popping up in the area, but what could it be?
Entertainment Value: A Rankin & Bass produced, made for television movie, The Bermuda Depths has camp, a colorful cast, fun miniature effects, and a giant sea creature. The narrative here is mostly straight forward, but it balances genres well and has some unexpected elements. This one mixes man vs. nature, monster movies, and a tragic, ghostly romance, but never feels disjointed or incoherent. I do think the movie is on the campy side, but that’s a plus in my book. I appreciated that the movie tried to fit in as much sea lore as it did, especially given that it takes place in the Bermuda Triangle, of all places. So some might dislike the giant turtle or otherworldly romance, but it makes sense, as the locale is an eerie, magical place. And in the end, this is a sci/fi, fantasy kind of movie, so it seems silly to object to those elements. The cast here is fun, with Leigh McCloskey in a jumpy role, Carl Weathers in a fun performance, and Connie Sellecca in a subtle, memorable effort. In the end, I really enjoyed The Bermuda Depths, but I can see why some might not like the wilder elements or the slightly slow pace. But for me, the eerie, mystical atmosphere worked wonders and I was hooked from the start, so I give this one a strong recommendation.
No nakedness. I mean, Carl Weathers is almost naked the entire movie, adorned in only a bucket hat and some speedos, but that doesn’t count. I appreciated how his wardrobe embraced the sea life, however. A touch of blood, but it is a quick shot and really, not enough to score on the scale. This is fantasy more than horror, so you won’t miss the bloodshed or violence. The movie does boast some fun special effects however, such as some cool miniatures and low fi visual touches, such as glowing eyes. I love the boat in the miniature scenes, as it is so detailed and ornate, a real work of art, even if it never passes for the genuine article. I would take these kind of miniatures over CGI any day of the week. The beast from the depths looks cool as well, in an old school monster movie kind of way, which I think is fun. The writing here is passable, but does delve into overly dramatic moments, especially when McCloskey is involved. But the campier moments just add to the fun, in my opinion. McCloskey’s sudden tone shifts, Weathers’ amped up persona, and the general dramatics involved in the script add some fun times, even if not many big, memorable lines come across. I especially liked the exchanges between Weathers and Burl Ives, as they had interesting chemistry, I think. On the craziness side, there is a strong fantasy vibe in The Bermuda Depths, so it veers into some odd, colorful waters, not to mention the overly dramatic dialogue. The finale is a wild ride and to be sure, this isn’t your typical made for television movie.
Overall Insanity: 4/10