The Bermuda Depths (1978)

Oh man, when Rankin/Bass and Tsuburaya Productions do a movie together, they do it weird. And none of their collaborations are quite as strange as this one, a movie that features a ghost girl, childhood trauma and, of course, a kaiju turtle.

It was written by William Overgard, who created the comic strips Steve Roper and Mike Nomad and Rudy, as well as writing scripts for several of these collaborative films like The Last Dinosaur, The Ivory Ape and Bushido Blade. He also wrote episodes of ThunderCats and Silver Hawks. And he worked with Arthur Rankin Jr.* on this story, too.

It’s directed by Tsugunobu “Tom” Kotani, who was behind all of these strange American/Japanese films. And by strange, I mean this one is the most out there.

Magnus Dens (Leigh McCloskey, who was in Inferno and now paints art based on occult, alchemical, and esoteric themes) is asleep on an island when he is awoken by Jennie (Connie Sellecca) who claims to know him. He’s been dreaming of his childhood and she may be the girl he remembers from it, the love of his life who watched a turtle hatch on the beach with him and craved J+M into its shell before she rode that giant turtle into the sea and disappeared forever. This happened n the very same night that a monster emerged from the cave beneath his house and killed his father!

Our hero also has a job working alongside another childhood friend, Eric (Carl Weathers), for marine biologist Dr. Paulis (Burl Ives!). Paulis informs him that Jennie doesn’t exist and is the name of a legend in which a beautiful but vain woman was saved from a storm by a mysterious god and given eternal life at the cost of never again being able to live on land.

Between a harpoon shooting bazooka known as Horror, women with green glowing eyes, the mid-movie appearance of a giant turtle wiping out most of the cast and a total downer ending, this movie really was made for me. I can’t even imagine what people thought of it when it ran on ABC on January 27, 1978.

*Rankin loved Bermuda so much that he moved there after making this.

You can download this from the Internet Archive.

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