Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Devil’s Triangle (1974) & The Bermuda Triangle (1979)



          The Bermuda Triangle, that mysterious section of the Atlantic Ocean into which a vast number of boats and planes have inexplicably disappeared, enjoyed pop-culture prominence in the ’70s, when all things paranormal were grist for the infotainment mill. For instance, two feature-length documentaries were made about the Triangle. The first of the documentaries was a terrible hack job called The Devil’s Triangle, which would have been unwatchable had the filmmakers not hired horror-cinema legend Vincent Price to narrate. Featuring dull interview clips, utilitarian stock footage, and silly artistic renderings that look like courtroom sketches, The Devil’s Triangle offers nothing more than bland descriptions of mysterious events. (And if the promise of a score by prog-rock titans King Crimson gets your blood pumping, lower your expectations because the music is unmemorable.) Price, who does not appear on camera, does his best to infuse the florid script with creepy-crawly energy, but by the zillionth time he ends a sentence with “in the Devil’s Triangle,” the novelty has eroded. Additionally, director/co-writer Richard Winer doesn’t even bother to propose possible explanations for the Triangle phenomenon, instead forcing Price to croak cryptic crap: “What is this wrath-flinging, horrifying curse that prevails in the Devil’s Triangle? An affliction so incredible that even the United States Coast Guard is reluctant to make an observation on the matter?”
          For entertainingly outrageous answers to such questions, one must shift attention to a later film, The Bermuda Triangle, which was unleashed by the titans of fact-deficient “documentaries,” Sunn Classic Pictures. Hosted by bearish-looking Brad Crandall, who lent his melodious speaking voice and professorial visage to several Sunn Classic joints, The Bermuda Triangle is a smorgasbord of pseudoscience. In between vignettes of Crandall speaking while he walks around locations related to the Triangle mystery, like a now-closed U.S. airbase in Fort Lauderdale, the picture features re-enactments of Triangle incidents that are staged like scenes from low-budget horror movies. Flyers freak out when the sky turns green around their planes; sailors reel when ghost ships appear from strange mists; seadogs crumble when inexplicable forces cause them to shift in and out of tangible reality.
          Nearly every sensational theory about the Triangle that’s ever been put forth is depicted with the same degree of ominousness. Abandoned WWII mines destroying ships! Giant waterspouts rising from the ocean to engulf aircraft! Undersea earthquakes causing massive tidal waves! Viewers are even treated to the theory that the Triangle is related to the mythical lost kingdom of Atlantis—apparently, ancient Atlanteans created a “magnetic force crystal that harnessed the awesome power of the stars,” but the crystal’s energy activated volcanoes that consumed Atlantis; now, centuries later, the crystal rests at the bottom of the ocean, blasting laser beams that explode passing vessels. But wait—we haven’t even gotten to the part about UFOs traveling through the triangle via transdimensional gateways! Boasting better production values than most Sunn Classic cheapies (even though the special effects are laughably bad), The Bermuda Triangle is highly enjoyable by dint of sheer ridiculousness.

The Devil’s Triangle: LAME
The Bermuda Triangle: GROOVY

1 comment:

Gerald Martin said...

I'm embarrassed to admit I paid to see The Devil's Triangle in the movie theatre. I did appreciate Price's narration at least.