Bermude: la fossa maledetta [Cave of the Sharks] (1978)

(aka, Bermuda: the Cursed Pit)

(Spoilers ahead!)

When I sat down to write this, I had to stop and check to see if there was a movie out there called “Bermuda Sharks“.

Nope.  I would have sworn I’d seen that one advertised somewhere.  Maybe the DVD rack at the video story, maybe in my Amazon recommendations, maybe from Wild Eye Cinema

A movie mixing sharks and the Bermuda Triangle?

It isn’t exactly what I’d call an obvious combination, but then I don’t make grade Z direct to video movies.  But you know it’s a combination the direct to video market would just love.

But I guess The Polonia Brothers Shark Encounters of the Third Kind does come close.

However, as Cave of the Sharks was made back in 1978, it obviously wasn’t a Grade Z SOV (shot on video) movie.  Oh, no, there is only one thing it could be:


Now by 1978, the shark craze launched by Jaws (1975) was just picking up speed, and there had already been a number of Bermuda Triangle films (starting, curiously, in 1975).  So I guess all it took was someone who could smell the blood in the water and strike.

Andres had been missing for months when he was found, drifting in the sea.  He has no idea where he’s been, or how he could have survived for months on the open sea.

Meanwhile, a plane carrying a mysterious box loses control over the Bermuda Triangle.  The sinister Mr. Jackson (American character actor Arthur Kennedy) hires Andres and his partners to find the wreck and salvage the box.

During their dive they find that the area is full of sharks who appear to be sleeping — which sharks never do because they have to stay in constant motion to keep moving water over their gills (this is a bit of a myth as sharks will “sleep” in underwater caves with a strong enough current to keep them breathing.  But I’m not sure when this was discovered).

Unfortunately, Jackson is the dumb sort of gangster, the kind who doesn’t actually wait to get the box in his hands before trying to kill them.  Andres survives, but his partner Enrique vanishes in a strange vortex that sucks him through a hole.

Now Andres survives, but is hospitalized.  Meanwhile, Jackson is after the box (which he doesn’t realize is lost somewhere on the bottom) while Andres feels strangely drawn back to the place where his friend vanished…

Now there’s a bit of talk about a mysterious civilization and glimpses of a rather small pyramid model with a few other bits of underwater city around it that look equally unimpressive.  It’s suggested that the sharks are…hypnotized to act as guards or something like that.

Although it’s a lot harder to explain why they’d spend so much time just sleeping when people are exploring the area.

And, of course, that the people vanishing are being used somehow by this lost civilization.

The film has a few good moments, particularly the totally weird scene early on when all the passengers aboard a boat all jump in the sea for no reason, with a lot of shots of a creepy doll sinking in the sea.  The underwater photography is surprisingly good, particularly when you consider how bad all the models look (were talking Columbia serial bad, possibly worse!) and they even manage to create some impressive shark attacks — particularly during the brutal climax.

The downside is that it never really makes much sense.

Nor do we ever get to that lost city.  Although you do have to give them credit for killing off a major character at the end.

But it really isn’t enough to recommend this one.  It just isn’t batty enough, and it never pays off on most of its hints.  We don’t expect a detailed explanation from a film like this.  But it is nice if they at least let us in on a few secrets.

Frankly, Tonino Ricci seems to have been a fairly pedestrian sort of Italian director, and the only films of his I have seen — the unexciting Rambo copy, Rush, and the dull and talky zombie infection film, Panic [Bakterion] — were both lacking something vital.

And that certainly was the case here.

No matter how promising a Bermuda Triangle/mysterious lost civilization/killer shark film might sound…


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