August 29, 2012

Satan's Triangle (1975)

"The female survivor of a shipwreck and two Coast Guard helicopter pilots sent to rescue her find themselves trapped in a mysterious part of the ocean known as Satan's Triangle."

I often gets asked which horror films have truly frightened me so I thought I'd better start providing you all with some answers. Although the majority of the really scary ones only worked when I was a child, there are some such as "Satan's Triangle" which not only bring back those memories but are still as terrifying today as they ever were.

In case you haven't ever seen "Satan's Triangle", since it's not available on VHS or DVD, I have embedded the full movie from YouTube above so now you have no excuse. There are several versions floating around, but I chose this one because it still contains ABC's "The Movie of the Week" introduction which I never knew about. I'm English so I saw "Satan's Triangle" on ITV. I don't remember what year that was, but it was certainly a lot later than when it was first shown in America.

I don't think it's possible to recall the shock I had from seeing Doug McClure, the star of such action movies as "Terror in the Sky" (1971) and "The Land That Time Forgot" (also from 1975), in something like this. All references to "The Simpsons" parody aside, he really was in just about everything at the time, but I think this was his first "horror" rather than "horrible" movie. Of course, as a child, I thought he was a great actor and loved his movies so when "Satan's Triangle" changed from a Coastguard rescue mission into something a lot darker, it really caught me unawares.

As for Kim Novak, I vaguely knew that she was supposed to be famous, but I had never seen her in anything else, and, lamentably, I still haven't watched any of her other films. It almost goes without saying that she was absolutely gorgeous in her prime (if you don't look too closely at her teeth) and she's still a very good reason for watching "Satan's Triangle" even if you aren't into horror. Her relationship with Doug McClure in this movie was a little bit forced since he had the looks and charisma of a boiled potato, but such were the '70s TV movies where even the homely guys got the hot chicks as long as they could do something reassuringly heroic, and, of course, there was a big twist anyway which I'm not going to spoil for you.

While the bulk of "Satan's Triangle" was all about Eva (Kim Novak) recounting the events of the storm which came out of nowhere and killed all the ship's crew, and highlighting what an easy lay she was, the creepiness came from a combination of the claustrophobic setting and Alejandro Rey playing a shipwrecked Catholic priest.

With a very short running time of only 67 minutes, the big scares may have only occurred in the final 5 minutes, but there wasn't too long to wait for them. After Doug McClure's character, Haig, had done his best to logically dismiss anything which seemed remotely supernatural, the shocking ending was even more powerful and has stayed in my mind ever since.

I've skimmed over the details so that you can all enjoy this movie for yourself, but you can probably tell that "Satan's Triangle" was something quite special considering it was made for TV. It certainly deserves a lot more discussion than my brief review so, after you've watched it again, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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