Tuesday, January 26, 2010

THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE (1979) (shown August, 1992)

Let's talk narrators - specifically, narrative voices. There have only been a handful of narrators whose voices one would instantly identify - you may not know their names, but you know them. The most recent (and recently passed away) was Don LaFontaine ... don't recognize the name? How about this - you're in a movie theater, waiting for the feature to come on, and the coming attraction trailers start - the narrator starts the trailer with "In a world ..." Oh, yeah, THAT guy! :)

Another familiar voice was Ernie Anderson, who was the voiceover guy for ABC during the 1970s and '80s, with his signature voice particularly effective during previews for THE LOVE BOAT (or, as Ernie would say ... "The Luvvvvvv Boat"). Back in the 1960s, he was known to kids all over (especially in Ohio) as "Ghoulardi", a late-night TV horror-movie host - we'll revisit Ernie in detail in a later blog entry, as pertains to Conjure Cinema and my life.

Which brings us to Brad Crandall. Before there was such a thing as reality TV, back in the hoary and forgotten 1970s, there was Sunn Classics Films. They would inundate the TV and radio airwaves with shock and awe ads for their theatrical "reality" documentaries: salacious titles like IN SEARCH OF NOAH'S ARK (a surprise hit that made the company and started the ball rolling), THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY, BEYOND AND BACK, and my personal favorite from 1979, THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE. They were all crazy beyond belief, with every lunatic theory you could think of (and many you couldn't) that normally you would dismiss without a second thought except for one thing: the fervid narrative tone of Brad Crandall.

Before this film, Brad was just a voice - authoritative, introspectional, and compelling. In BERMUDA, however, he also served as on-screen host. Brad is a BIG guy - he fills a suit like beans fill a burrito. Seeing him on-screen adds exponentially to the delight of this film - it's like he's DARING you to disagree with what he's saying. UFO's buzzing Christopher Columbus in 1492? Freak storms and tsunamis that drag ships to a watery grave? Atlantean Death Ray Crystals that are still blowing ships out of the water, thousands of years later? You wanna make something of it, bub??? I don't! If Brad said it was so, that was good enough for me ... at least for the hour and a half I was in the theatre! :)

Based on the best-selling book by Charles Berlitz, Sunn Classics backed Brad's words up with (for the time) astonishing visuals, and a surprisingly competent music score for a film of this type (by John Cameron). In 90 minutes, you got to see everything I mentioned above, plus a stunning recreation of The Philadelphia Experiment, and a universe of UFOs of every size, shape, and saucer-like variety!

My favorite moment in the film happens right at the beginning, in the aforementioned Christopher Columbus segment - Chris and his crew are being buzzed by those pesky aliens and are looking on in horror and shock ... all that is except for the "actor" (and believe me when I say I use the term loosely) who is trying (unsuccessfully) to keep the grin off his face! I guess all the money went to the special effects, so they couldn't afford a re-take on this ... take a look 1 minute, 30 seconds in to see for yourself.

How? Here's the best part: the ENTIRE FILM is online for your viewing pleasure, via YouTube! It's all right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRV__ST2Poc

So sit back, relax, and let yourself be abducted by the hypnotizing deep bass wonder that is Brad Crandall - believer, non-believer, it really doesn't matter ... it's still a great deal of nonsensical fun!

Next Time: The Goddess-like beauty of Ava Gardner springs magically to life in the enchanting musical ONE TOUCH OF VENUS - be there!

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