The Bermuda Triangle (1978)

The Bermuda Triangle is a 1978 Mexican horror movie. Maybe. The thing's in English and starring white people, but Wikipedia says it's Mexican, so suck it. It's directed by some guy and starring some people. Usually we'd tell you to watch the movie or not read on if you're worried about spoilers, but there's a couple things there. First, don't watch this movie. Second, the trailer tells you literally exactly as much about what goes on in this movie as the entire 2 hour film. So just watch that. Then check out our thoughts below. Have you inexplicably seen this movie before? Please, let us know by Twitter or in the comments . . . you maniac.

 
 

Jack: The Bermuda Triangle. Alright, look. This is going to be a weird one. Buckle up reader. We watched a piece of garbage from the late 70’s. Whoops. Review spoilers I guess.

Jake: So full disclosure . . . we wanted to review a horror flick from Mexico in celebration of this Cinco de Mayo and this 1978 piece of work from René Cardona Jr. seemed to fit the bill. Luckily enough for us, and potentially for you, dear reader, the whole film is available for free on Dailymotion if you would like to subject yourself to it. Unluckily, like Jack mentioned, it stunk.

Jack: This movie is really hard to review. I'm not actually sure where to start. The movie itself opens on an absolutely garbage-looking pirate ship. It then immediately cuts away from that to the main, and really only setting, a boat. You guessed it. A movie about the Bermuda Triangle is set on a boat.

Jake: Jack. They’re on a boat, motherfucker. Don’t you ever forget…Full disclosure, I’m having such a hard time describing what’s happening in the early stages (or any stage for that matter) of this thing that I’m resorting to The Lonely Island lyrics. That’s the real horror here. There’s some bullshit family of sorts - I have no idea how they are related to each other, especially at first - and there’s a crew. They are in the Bahamas, and they’re going somewhere for god knows what reason.

Jack: You’re only like 1 paragraph away from the first time you said “full disclosure,” so I think you were good without it. Yeah, it is completely impossible to tell what in the fuck is happening. Which is impressive, because the dialog in the movie is almost exclusively exposition. How I know so little about why things are happening when the only things the characters say are the literal things they are doing or planning on doing is beyond me.

Jake: That’s probably because of the sound in this movie. It’s impressively bad. The movie is dubbed. Poorly. Mind you, at least some of the characters were originally speaking English, but then they voiced that over with more English, and way off-time... It's bizarre and asynchronous, and it makes it surprisingly difficult to follow what is being discussed between the characters because it’s so goddamned distracting. Anyway, from what I was able to glean, the family is all out there in the ocean because the uncle is some wannabe Jacques Cousteau/Indiana Jones and they are looking for Atlantis or something.

Jack: Is that what they’re doing? Jesus. I remember them talking about Atlantis at one point, but this is simply not the right vessel to search for the lost city of wonders. I mean, come on people.

 
Everyone knows you need an enormous submarine and a rag-tag crew of misfits.

Everyone knows you need an enormous submarine and a rag-tag crew of misfits.

 

Jake: Out of bloody nowhere a doll is spotted floating in the water, so they haul it in. There’s some weird exposition by the uncle about how it looks very old and like no doll he’s seen before. Strange, because it looks exactly like lots of dolls everyone has certainly seen before. Does not inspire confidence in his ability to find Atlantis.

Jack: It does not inspire confidence in his ability to do literally anything. You’re right that the doll looks like most other dolls, but what you neglected to mention was that every time the camera cuts to the doll they play that ominous flute music from the Brady Bunch Movie.

 
 

Jack: And then it cuts away to some pilots doing pilot things. There's an unexplained narrator who tells no one in particular that the pilots are flying like 40 miles south and then coming back. Because reasons. The one thing I know for damn sure is that he sounds like the narrator from one of those WWII American propaganda “Support the War Effort!” tv spots. Again, reasons. Cut back to the boat.

Jake: Meanwhile, back on the boat, there’s nothing much happening. One of the crew members wants to bone the hell out of the family’s oldest daughter, and he has conversations about his womanizing escapades with the family’s youngest son, who is obsessed with becoming a sailor. Thing is, that little fucker seems to have him beat. He’s got pieces of ass on every island of the Bahamas. Not bad for a 7 year old. This sequence of character-building is almost utterly pointless, as it’s impossible to focus on any dialogue because it’s one of the following:

  1. Voiced-over too poorly to focus on

  2. Is too absurd to focus on

  3. Is being delivered by the black chef in what is one of the most racist fucking depictions of a human being ever

  4. All of the above

Jack: That character is absolutely insane. It's so racist. Like, Song of the South racist. Okay, so maybe not that bad, but not fucking good. Especially given that this is 1970 fucking 8.

Jake: Yeah. It’s not tasteful.

Jack: Anyway, boat things happen. It should be noted that I never had any idea what the fuck these characters’ names were at any point. And I still don't. Could have looked it up, but what is this, some sort of review, perhaps where we promised a comprehensive list in an alphabetical order?

 
* Editor's Note * Ah-hem.

* Editor's Note * Ah-hem.

 

Jake: It really, really doesn’t matter, man. At no point was I sucked in nearly enough to care. Save for the uncle. That drunk, delusional, champion bathtub swimming fuck was almost entertaining. Almost. Problem is, he was often on screen opposite the little girl and her doll. And oh man, her voiceover was the worst of the bunch. Her voice seemed to alternate between legitimate 6 year old girl and an old man with vocal chord damage.

Jack: At one point her accent began as outrageously midwestern, like straight outta Duluth, MN midwestern. As a side note, be on the lookout for my new hip hop album dropping soon “Straight Outta Duluth.” And then finally, mercifully, something happens. The little girl and her doll are attacked by a flock of cartoon lime-green parrots. You did not read that incorrectly. The birds look so bad. It's completely outrageous. I initially tried to chalk it up to the movie's age,  but shit, Alien came out the same . . . Hey Jake? Why didn't we watch Alien this week?

Jake: Because it’s not Mexican. That’s why. And Jack, you make a good point but I’ll raise you Jaws. That movie came out three years earlier than this. Three. It did the ocean thing tremendously. Hell, The Birds came out a solid decade and a half earlier and its birds still looked better. That one made you scared of going outside, this one made you want to suck on an exhaust pipe.

Jack: I thought I had sucked on an exhaust pipe until you confirmed for me that those birds did actually look like that. And fuck, I hadn’t even thought about this movie compared to Jaws. It saddens me to think these two things exist in the same universe. Not like the same narrative universe, because no, but the same actual universe in which we all exist. Fuck now I’m sad, where’s that exhaust pipe you mentioned? After the family runs to the girl's aid, we find that she's inexplicably unscathed. Somewhere around 347 birds attacked her right in the goddamned face, but she's fine. We then find out that it's actually not inexplicable, just really poorly explained. The alcoholic uncle finds some of the parrots dead, their heads straight Ozzy Osbourne’d.

PSA to birds everywhere: Stay the hell away from this guy. Bats too I think.

PSA to birds everywhere: Stay the hell away from this guy. Bats too I think.

Jake: Yeah, so naturally the family just moves past the throat-slit bird attack like it was nothing. That night, the older son (there are four kids, for the record) has a dream about planes crashing in the ocean. There’s a weird sequence where a pilot does a reverse cannon-ball out of the water. It’s worth mentioning that the characters, at least some of them, seem to understand they are in close proximity to the Bermuda Triangle, but that’s completely glossed over as well. Atlantis may be there because shit disappears there or something. Sure. He wakes up with a start and does another absolutely rational thing. Sneaks up behind the chef and scares the fuck out of him to ask for a glass of milk. Nothing helps with nightmares like milk . . . 

Jack: Oh yeah, I completely forgot about that part. What was the point of it? Oh right, the same as everything else. There was no point. But now that I remember it, I’d like to note that the chef poured himself a glass of milk too. From an open pitcher of milk in the fridge. On a boat. Fucking smart. Then more boat things happen. Seriously, this movie is like 2 hours long, and nothing happens for extended stretches of time. I am racking my brain trying to think of anything I remember from this chunk, and genuinely all I've got is “boat things.” But then we get some action! And by “some,” I mean the smallest amount of action you can have and still legally call it an “action” scene.

Jake: Well, sort of. What we get is a 5+ minute (I didn’t bother counting this time) diving sequence that looks like it’s out of some boring documentary people our age would have had to watch in science class. Fuck we’re old. Anyway, the only noteworthy piece from this bit was that these assholes went out and just harpooned the living shit out of some sharks. Killed ‘em. Right there on camera.

Jack: And there are no effects here at all. They literally filmed a diver straight murdering at least one very large and real shark, yet somehow managed to make it entirely unexciting. An actual shark attack. Not simulated. Boring. It's mind boggling. What’s even worse is that, like everything else in this movie, the scene was completely pointless. God damn this movie was bad. In any case, after the shark attack, we're back on the boat. Hooray.

 
 

Jake: I like how you call it a shark attack. Because while that may be what the movie was trying to get across, all I saw was the murder of sharks. They attacked sharks. So I guess it is a shark attack. Fuck me right?

Jack: Yes, fuck you always. Unsurprisingly, the racistly portrayed black guy is killed off next. They find him in a pool of blood with his throat slit and immediately conclude that he fell on a bottle and cut his throat. Sure. No one is concerned that the girl's evil doll is right next to him with blood all around it's mouth. First birds, and now black guys, I guess Ozzy Osbourne-ing is a lot like pringles: once you pop, you just can't stop.

Jake: I mean, I’ll at least give the film some credit here in that the doll’s whole bloody mouth demon thing was ever so slightly creepy, particularly with how was the film progressed, the doll started to get more life-like effects on its porcelain mug. The effects weren’t great but hey, a guy can reach.

ack: Props for some top-notch turd-polishing there. But you’re actually right. Later in the movie, when the camera would cut close to the doll, they used the face of a terrifying and real old lady. Creepy. But then they go diving again, because . . . perhaps they’re trying to escape how dull boat life is? It's so unclear. Whatever. This time there's no sharks to murder, but there are ruins to destroy. They dive down and find some columns, so I guess they find Atlantis maybe? But it doesn't matter because there’s a sea quake and everything collapses immediately. One of the columns falls on the teenaged daughter. This was actually pretty effective, because it looked real. And I assume it looked real because they literally just shoved some concrete pillars on top of a real diver and filmed it. Probably killed a few extra sharks while they were at it, just for good measure.

Jake: Yeah it was nuts. I’ve tried to find record of anyone being seriously injured or killed during the filming of this movie, and unfortunately I can’t. That would have at least developed a certain mythos . . . Anyway, at this point in the film, things start happening quickly enough. Daughters legs are destroyed as fuck. Got it. They need to go back to shore to save her. Understood. Storm whips up and washes away the parents. Ok.

Jack: Hold on. I have a lot to say about this scene. First, the hurricane looked predictably terrible. I think they just shook a painting and filmed it. Also the captain and first mate take an inflatable dinghy out to find the overboard people. In a fucking hurricane. They're out there yelling for the Marvins like they're Bob, fresh off the bus in New Hampshire.

 
 

Jake: Couldn’t expect anything different by this stage of the proceedings, so I’m going to go ahead and get us back on track right now. There’s no way in hell I’m letting this drag as much as the movie… Anyway, the boat suffers some damage in the storm and they need it repaired. Seems reasonable. Engine room guy scubas down to fix it and in a freak accident gets absolutely exploded by a propellor shooting a cascade of blood everywhere. Now we’re fuckin’ talking.

Jack: Yeah man, if all the deaths had been like that, the movie would at least have some camp-value. Instead . . . How in the fuck are we not through this review yet? Hot damn.

Jake: I just did a heroic job of jetting through the majority of the plot and that’s the supporting commentary I get? We need to bring Mark in.

* Editor’s Note: Keep me the hell out of this monstrosity. *

Jake: Jesus. Ok fine. It pretty much doesn’t even matter what happens next, but the remaining characters are left stranded because they can’t fix the boat. The oldest daughter is dying from her legs being crushed, so they send her off along with the crew member who wants to bang her, and the oldest son in the dinghy to try to get to Bimini. They fail, the girl dies and the other two appear to be approached by a giant squid/Cthulu monster from the depths. It looks like a bedsheet below the water. It’s not good.

ack: It certainly is not. And they say “Bimini” so many fucking times throughout this movie that I may never be able to hear that word without falling asleep again. I wanted to go back and count how many times they say it but I didn’t because . . . well you’ve read the blog, you know what we’re about.

Jake: Meanwhile back on the ship, the little girl is tromping around like a dead eyed little bastard, giving zero fucks about anything but her vampire doll. The uncle gets hammered and throws some pictures overboard. The captain finally has a distress call connect with Bimini but is informed their boat, the Black Whale 3, went missing 12 years prior. THEN the boat disappears. It makes no sense. But hey, at least the vessel had a cool name and the crew got badass shirts. It’s no tradeoff for being dead, but people in hell want ice water.

 
 

Jack: You know, I actually do really dig those shirts. And you know I’ve gotta give the screenwriters some props: the whole “well she’s been dead for 10 years!” thing is such an absurd and lazy trope, that I don’t know whether I’ve actually seen it in a non-joke capacity before. Ever. So that’s some balls at least. Lazy ones, but you know, still balls. Fuck man, I do not have the energy for another bit here, so let’s just rate this thing.


RATINGS (1-10):

For 1, think of how Spongebob would rate change: 

 
 

For 10, think of how a foamer would rate a heritage unit: 

 
 

STORY:

Jack: 3 - Look, this should probably be lower, but they went for stuff here. There are so many unfulfilled sub-plots in this movie that I am convinced the screenwriters completely forgot about what the main plot was. That’s evidenced by the main plot actually being “a boat that may never have existed disappears after 2 hours.”

Jake: 3 - They tried to do a ton of shit in this movie. Bermuda Triangle myth. Sea monsters myth. Atlantis. Twilight-zone style infinite loop. Evil dolls. Vampirism. What the hell? Too many cooks, amigo.

WORLD-BUILDING / IMMERSION:

Jack: 1 - This is so outrageously un-immersive. From the absurdly bad dub that I still don’t know why they did, to the exposition-heavy dialog, I was at zero points engrossed in this thing.

Jake: 2 - There is a small amount of the kitschiness/charming factor you give shitty movies of that era, but I really can’t give this particular movie credit for it. It’s more of a symptom of the time period it’s from. 

SCARE-FACTOR:

Jack: 1 - There is nothing even remotely frightening happening here. Not creepy, not atmospheric, not nothing. I don’t want to give it a literal 0, because I guess that dumb old lady’s face was mildly unsettling for 3 seconds.

Jake: 1 - Same reasoning. Same score.

EFFECTS (OR JUDICIOUS LACK THEREOF):

Jack: 3 - I want to give this lower. I want to give this a lot lower, but I can’t, and it’s for one simple reason. They fought a shark and filmed it. Say what you will about animal cruelty (and our editor had a lot to say about that), but there is no better way to portray a shark fight on film than filming a shark fight. QED.

Jake: 2 - Sound effects were the worst thing ever and deserve a 0. Visual effects weren’t the worst thing ever and I’d give it a 4. So let’s chop it down the middle and settle on a 2. The doll effects were decent.

OVERALL:

Jack: 3 - I did not like this movie. Not at all. With that said, I did enjoy the experience of watching it more than watching The Lazarus Effect. So it gets 1 point more.  

Jake:  2 - At no point in this movie’s rambling, incoherent proceedings was it even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who watched it is now dumber for having seen it. I award it 2 points, and may God have mercy on its soul.

**Happy Cinco de Mayo, kids. Don’t die of alcohol poisoning. - Your pals at A-Z Horror**