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The Incredible Petrified World (1957)

  Directed by: Jerry Warren
Written by: John W. Steiner
Starring: John Carradine, Robert Clarke, Phyllis Coates, Sheila Noonan, Allen Windsor
Links: The Incredible Petrified World on the IMDb, Buy on DVD
Genre: Sci-Fi

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Go octopus! Go shark!" - a review by timchuma

A mini documentary about the ocean introduces this movie with footage of a real shark and octopus fighting to the death. Many other things are revealed, including talk of a ‘phantom layer’ in the ocean that is made of squid.

When the lights come up we see that the narrator of the movie is hosting a soirée for the launch of his company's new diving bell. Talking with some other people at the party, he mentions a second expedition currently taking place in the Caribbean and we go over to them.

Covering the Caribbean expedition is foxy reporter Dale Marshall. She is quite the fiery one and throws her wedding ring over the side just before she goes into the diving bell. She joins three of the expedition leaders, students Paul, Craig and Lorrie.

Everything seems to be going well with the lowering of the diving bell, when suddenly — disaster! The diving bell breaks free and plummets to the ocean floor. I must say the expedition leader gives up fairly quickly though.

News of this disaster reaches the CEO of the company about to launch their diving bell and they decide to shelve their plans.

Back on the floor of the ocean, the crew has miraculously survived. Dale goes a bit nuts and Craig has to calm her down. After considering their situation, Paul is surprised to see light coming through the diving bell's window. This is unusual as there shouldn't be any light where they are. Thinking they have landed on a shelf, they decide to swim towards the light. On the surface the sonar guy from the expedition is astounded to see movement from the diving bell. The expedition leader once again rains on his parade and says they would have been crushed by the water pressure as soon as they exited the bell.

The crew of the bell meanwhile surfaces into a sub-sea cavern that is very conveniently lit by phosphorescent rocks. As the air is breathable they decide to look for a way to the surface. Exploring this strange new world (with stock footage of a goanna thrown in) they even find food and, to their surprise, another resident of the caverns. He has been living in the massive caverns for 14 years as the result of a shipwreck. He also explains that the reason there is a plentiful supply of air is due to a massive volcano (conveniently off-screen during the movie) .

Back on the surface, their former expedition leader meets with the CEO of the ocean exploration company to ask to borrow their diving bell (it is the same design as his). He says he has found out what went wrong and just wants to retrieve the wrecked bell from the previous expedition.

Settling into their new life, tempers begin to fray between Dale and Lorrie. That's not their only worry as the shipwrecked man starts eyeing the women menacingly…

While it took a while to get going, I liked the way this movie turned out and it was a great way to start off the 50 Sci-Fi movie box set that I recently bought. Even though it looks primitive now, this movie is the spiritual ancestor of other undersea tales such as The Abyss (1989).

Hopefully the other 49 movies are as good as this. Trash! Trash! Trash!

timchuma gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 23 Dec 2004

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