of the Big, Huge Turtle
by Michael Summers
For nearly two decades, I was obsessed with a late 70s made-for-TV movie about a giant turtle and a girl with glowing green eyes. If you asked me to tell you more, I wouldn't be able to. There was a big white house on a cliff by the sea, a childhood romance and a coral (I think) necklace. That's all I remember. And for years, the only one who could corroborate that I had indeed seen this movie was my sister.
Like most people who have claimed to see things, we were subjected to a healthy amount of disbelief. We were also treated like idiots.
"Have you ever seen this movie about a giant turtle and a girl with glowing green eyes?"
"Oh, yeah. That's Gamera."
We knew Gamera, and that wasn't Gamera. A sort of validation did not come until a few years ago, when a late night talk about obscure movies with a group of friends revealed a kindred soul.
"Have you ever seen this late 70s made-for-tv movie about this giant turtle. . ."
". . . and a GIRL WITH GLOWING GREEN EYES!"
We stared at each other in wonder
and relief, like the characters in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS who discover that
someone else shares this obsessive dream about Devil's Tower in Wyoming.
Unfortunately, this revelation didn't fill in any blanks. No title.
No plot details. Just a name. Jenny. Who Jenny was and whether or
not her eyes glowed was still a mystery. But we did agree that whoever
had directed the video for TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART in the mid-80s
was also haunted by this
It wasn't until late 1998 that I discovered the title: THE BERMUDA DEPTHS, aka IT CAME UP FROM UNDER THE DEPTHS. And the girl with glowing green eyes was indeed named Jennie, not Jenny. It was Bert who found the title for me. I described the movie, he did maybe 10 minutes of research, and there it was. A 1978 made-for-TV movie starring Burl Ives, Carl Weathers, and Connie Selleca.
I thought that then it would just be a matter of time before a copy of the flick was in my grubby hands. A quick check at all the usual places came up with nothing. THE BERMUDA DEPTHS, aka IT CAME UP FROM UNDER THE DEPTHS, wasn't available on video. I discovered that it had been aired at least twice, in August '79 and in August '80. I discovered it had been given a run on Polish television as late as Summer 1998. I discovered that it wasn't totally, utterly impossible to find an old used copy of the movie in French.
And on the Internet, where nothing is deemed too small and obscure to care about, I discovered a host of lost souls who were haunted by this movie about a giant turtle and a girl with glowing green eyes. People wondering if they were the only ones who had seen this movie. People willing to buy used copies probably taped on a Betamax. People wondering if the movie will ever be released to video again. . .
I doubt it will be. But I've made a vow. I will see THE BERMUDA DEPTHS again. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure it's terrible. In fact, if it turns out to be any good, I'll be surprised. But who knows? For people to remember that set of images for so long, and not much else about the movie they came from, is a pretty strong testament, especially for a made-for-TV-movie.