The Bermuda Triangle (1978)
In The Bermuda Triangle, Mexploitation royalty Réne Cardona Jr. (Guyana: Crime of the Century) is able to do what so many documentaries, works of fiction and real-life scientists have not: Pinpoint the reason for all the ships and aircraft that have vanished inexplicably from the Atlantic Ocean region roughly half-million square miles. The answer is so damned Purloined Letter-level obvious, I’m amazed no one thought of it earlier: a creepy, possessed doll. Of course!
The waterlogged plaything is plucked from the salty Caribbean by a crew member of the Black Whale III, aboard which is a vacationing family headed by salty ol’ Edward (legendary director John Huston in one of his many baffling late-career paycheck acting gigs à la Tentacles and The Visitor). Edward gives it to his youngest moppet, Diana (Gretha, a unimonikered newcomer who evidently succumbed to the Triangle herself after this), thus setting off a swath of unusual happenings that irk the fam and ship’s captain (frequent Cardona star Hugo Stiglitz, The Night of a Thousand Cats) far more than fog and storms.
Up first? Diana’s request to the chef (Jorge Zamora, Romancing the Stone) that her doll craves a bite of raw meat. Later brings an attack by green birds, waves a-sizzlin’ with Alka-Seltzer tablets, SOS signals from a ghost ship, reverse-footage nightmares and, while hunting and harpooning sharks for sport, a seaquake that knocks over the only stone pillars on the ocean floor, trapping Edward’s older, of-age daughter (Italian sex symbol Gloria Guida, How to Seduce Your Teacher) and claiming her lovely gams to the point of amputation being needed.
To make matters worse, Diana also starts yammering about how everyone is going to die, and in what order. She confidently “predicts” Simon will be first to meet his maker — no stretch since he is the film’s lone black character — and asks, “What color will Simon be when he dies: purple or white?”
As if you needed telling, The Bermuda Triangle is two hours of primo pepper jack cheese: dubbed voices, slapdash editing, a story that fails (forgets?) to follow threads to their ends. The movie just kinda sorta ends, with an onscreen crawl of the Triangle’s supposed transportation victims, culminating with the ominous warning: “WHO WILL BE THE NEXT?” Well, no one, Mr. Cardona, considering planes and boats are a “what,” not a “who.” Highly recommended, the schizophrenic flick is best enjoyed the way Edward’s alcoholic brother-in-law does throughout: with J&B on endless loop. —Rod Lott