Welcome to Behind the Screams! In this article, we will be taking a look at the true stories that inspired some of our favorite horror films. Each month, we will dive into the stories behind these films and see that, sometimes, the truth is far more horrifying than fiction.
“It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
one would think the deep had white hair.
Nothing on earth is its equal—
a creature without fear.”
The oceans have terrified us since our ancient ancestors disembarked from their spaceships and looked at the waves crashing before them. I, the bravest and manliest of all men, have visited the beaches of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans dozens of times in my life, and could only walk about ankle-deep into the water.
Never mind the sharks, and the box jellyfishes, and the seahorses that we already know are down there. They are easy enough to avoid. If you see a shark, punch it in its dumb nose. If you see a box jellyfish, don’t punch it. If you see a seahorse, say your prayers and think of your family one last time before the cold hands of death take you away.
It’s the beasts we don’t know are down there that makes the oceans so terrifying. Everyone knows the stats: 1) 70% of our planet’s surface is water, 2) 97% of all water on Earth is held in the oceans, and 3) Only 5% of these oceans have been explored. They are so scary, even the scientists and militaries with gigantic submarines don’t want anything to do with them.
From the point of view of a conspiracy/cryptid/supernatural/Backstreet Boys lover like myself, it seems like they are purposefully avoiding the deep oceans. Is it because there’s nothing of value beneath those waves? Or, is it because they already know what’s down there and god help us if it is ever disturbed?
Underwater, directed by William Eubanks, is a heart attack of a film that features some of the coolest creature design since Moder in David Bruckner’s The Ritual (2017). In it, we find ourselves on a drilling rig in the deepest and darkest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. The facility is hammered by a huge earthquake, leaving the surviving crew without a way to escape. Mechanical Engineer Norah Price (Kristen Stewart), Captain W. Lucien (Vincent Cassel), and four others decide that their only way to survive is to don pressurized suits and walk a mile across the floor of the world to reach another station.
As you might expect, things go terribly wrong. A combination of damaged suits and vicious monsters take the group down to three. When the reach the Roebuck station, they encounter a gaggle of sleeping creatures. After a confrontation, the three realize that these humanoid monsters are merely babies attached to a gigantic behemoth. Price gets the other two into the only remaining escape pods and stands to face the beast alone.
“It’s the beasts we don’t know are down there that makes the oceans so terrifying.”
This movie is 100% Certified My Shit and I absolutely loved it. The creatures that the shattered crew encounter are a special combination of rigid, gelatinous, toothy, and magnificent. Were these beautiful monsters simply products of the filmmakers’ imaginations, or is there something behind them that is based off reality? Let’s take a look at a few of the pieces of evidence that there are monsters below, and that Underwater is closer to fact than fiction.
Before we get started, though, let’s just get this out of the way: The filmmakers are quoted as saying that the massive god-like creature we see at the end of Underwater is actually Cthulhu, one of the Great Old Ones created by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920s. Since this article is looking at the real-life evidence of underwater monsters, we’re going to skip right by the fictional creations of a very terrible person.
While watching this thrilling film, I was reminded of something called the “Bloop”. I can hear you all asking, “Tyler, what is a Bloop?”, and I’m glad you asked. This would be an extremely short article if you didn’t. The Bloop was actually a sound, first discovered by the N.O.A.A. (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) back in 1997. It was a minute-long, ultra-low frequency, high amplitude underwater sound detected by the organization’s hydrophones in the Pacific Ocean.
The interesting thing about the Bloop is that, when they triangulated its source location, they found that it originated over 3,000 miles away off of the Western coast of South Africa. In an interview for New Scientist, the N.O.A.A.’s Christopher Fox stated that the Bloop did not sound man-made, and it didn’t resemble any known geological event. He said that it sounded like a living being, but that it was “far more powerful than the calls made by any animal on Earth”.
Almost fifteen years after the Bloop’s discovery, the N.O.A.A. announced that it was something called a “non-tectonic cryoseism”. This is a fancy way of saying that it was a… wait… am I reading this right? It was an “Ice Quake”? That sounds like one of those bad eco-horror films that stars Jaleel White or Debbie Gibson that Syfy pumps out every other week.
This explanation seems like a reach to me. I’m not going to sit here and tell scientists that they don’t know what they’re talking about, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. Instead of a chunk of ice somehow being 23,000 feet tall and gouging the bottom of the ocean for exactly one minute, why couldn’t it be an unidentified species? Why couldn’t it be a creature who has been released from its icy prison due to the melting polar caps, stretching its jaws before it begins to feed?
Wait… that’s the plot of Megashark Versus Giant Octopus… maybe Syfy is on to something, after all.
Back in the year 1180 AD, the Vikings of Norway and Iceland reported sightings of a foul and ancient beast. They said that it had long tentacles like an octopus or a squid (animals that the Norse peoples were very familiar with). These appendages would rest upon the top of the water, looming so large that they looked like a ring of islands. When the creature breached the waves, it would throw ships hundreds of feet into the air, and whirlpools would erupt when it submerged, sucking in and crushing any fishermen unlucky enough to be nearby.
Scientists and religious scholars have scoffed at these stories for centuries, discounting them as the ramblings of a primitive and superstitious people. As a direct descendant of Ingemar Guttormsson Svinhufvud, Jarl of the Två Hjorthorn (Two Horns), I call FOUL, sir.
You see, the Norse people weren’t all about pillaging and burning. They were also explorers. Leif Erikson, the son of the mighty Erik the Red, sailed west of Greenland and found himself in a place he called Vinland, which is now known as the Canadian province of Newfoundland. This was around the year 1000 AD, meaning that the Vikings landed in North America almost 500 years before Columbus. In other words, they knew the water and if they say they saw a Kraken, I’m inclined to believe them.
“It’s completely plausible […] that a 300-foot-tall monster could remain hidden in the 320 Million cubic miles of water that make up our oceans.”
We’ve all seen Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans (2010). The thought that a beast like that could exist in our oceans without being noticed seems ridiculous, right? I’m sorry, but nope. You’re wrong. It’s completely plausible, in my mind, that a 300-foot-tall monster could remain hidden in the 320 Million cubic miles of water that make up our oceans.
Especially since our scientists and government leaders heard the Bloop, learned that it came from the Behemoth, and have kept us from exploring the deep ever since. Maybe Underwater was just a fun horror movie. Maybe. Or maybe it was something more. A warning, maybe, that it’s time to stop destroying our oceans through pollutions and drilling. Maybe the filmmakers know what’s actually down there, and they are begging us to stop before we release the Behemoth.
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