VILLAGE OF THE GUILT
The rowboat Hummeren has three drunken fishermen in it. They are unaware a brief clip from IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA has been planted nearby. A giant octopus arm rises from beneath the waves. Next we see the giant octopus from the movie VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and we see what they viewed through the viewport windows but without the viewport this time--the waves of water pushing against the window (that here in THE VILLAGE OF THE GUILT was absent) gave it away this time. Then the octopus tentacle--which is out of scale with the very giant octopus arm from IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA---attacks the rowboat. It kills two of the men and destroys the boat. Despite the preponderance of ill matched effects, the atmosphere with the fog and the accordion playing was very good.
The Seaview theme song is played and driven home is the feel of the sea in this season...a good atmosphere. Aboard, the crew listen to a news report (usual for the movie, the first and second seasons) about giant sea monster that have been seen in Tana, Norway. Crane asks, "Sea monsters? Even if I saw one, I wouldn't believe it." Now, in hindsight, that comment has some real ring of truth about it. Crane saw several in season one and season two, yet in season three (where he was worn down somewhat by the time DOOMSDAY ISLAND rolled around...and I do mean rolled around), he was still incredulous as to the arrival of aliens, amphibians, and alien amphibians! He seemed to acclimate himself to THE FOSSIL MEN's existence quite quickly. Nelson explains that sea monsters do exist but they are six inches long and found only at extreme ocean depths. Chip says, "Oh, well then..." Nelson stops him, "Don't dismiss it. There are depths we've never reached..who's to say what's going on down there. Don't close your mind to the improbable just because it is improbable." Nelson smiles and goes. Crane tells Chip, "That should take care of you." Chip says, "Not me--I'm a firm believer in sea monsters." Another news report sounds like the voice of Irwin Allen himself. Nelson listening, claims the monster description by a survivor, sounds like a cephalopod--an octopus which Crane claims is small and shy. They set a 3 minute course for Tana. O'Brien comes down from the conning tower with a brown leather jacket on. Chip orders him to dive. Crane watches the ship dive--stock dive sequence. They move to 90 feet. The control room layout is very different from what it would be and also looks different from ELEVEN DAYS TO ZERO. The computer is on the right side; the table comes first, then the periscope, the map. The music is very positive and uplifting. Crane, later, views fishermen on the beach and mountains in the background. Chip takes Seaview up to the surface. The fishermen see it. The outdoor sets in this episode and several others in season one are really outdoors. They also lavish upon the series quite an expensive look...better than the look and feel of some feature films...and make these episodes like mini-movies. The outdoor area also looks as if it was used in a few FUGITIVE episodes (definitely one during the fourth season to represent Mexico). Seaview launches a motorized raft to shore. Nelson and Crane meet Meris and two other men of the news service. The villagers are superstitious and believe Seaview is bad luck being in their fjord. At a quaint but elaborate home (an excellent set), a blond woman, Sigrid Mattson, tends to Rorvik (named Malmac in some sources or perhaps this is his first or last name?), the survivor of the first attack by the monster. As she answers the door, someone sneaks into the window of the bedroom of the survivor and smothers him with a pillow. Dying, Rorvik pulls off a button of the killer's jacket. We also see suction cup marks on the victim's face...made by the monster and they look very silly. Nelson meets attending Dr. Anderson and the nurse Sigrid. Anderson has enjoyed Nelson's articles. They go to see Rorvik and the suction cups are also on his back...looking just as silly there. Sigrid finds the button of the killer and keeps it. The man is dead.
As Nelson and Crane enter a pub (another great set), the music and laughing stops. Lee comments, "Friendly, aren't they?" The two talk to the nurse Sigrid who echoes what the newsmen told them: the villagers consider a sub in the fjord to be an ill omen. The woman claims she is a school teacher who helps Dr. Anderson out when she can. Anderson, she claims, left with the reporters, but told her the man died from his injuries in an "accident", not from a sea monster. She tells them they would never find the rowboat remains since the fjord is two miles deep in some places. Nelson wants to look, "I'm a stubborn man." When they leave the pub, Lee says that the girl was just as anxious to get rid of them as the rest of them were. Seaview launches the mini-sub, then is on the bottom, waiting for the mini-sub report. The mini sub won't find anything in a fjord this large. A man with a sailor hat on, is seen aboard Seaview. Nelson smokes (gawk!!) in the nose (out of which we see the waves churning). Seaview is about to leave the area but sonar picks up odd sounds. Curley Jones comes to the nose, Nelson calling him a "human sonar" who can pick up any sounds. Curley cannot place it as the control room men pipe it to the nose loudspeakers. He claims it is a new one on him and that it may sound like whales but isn't. Nelson laughs, "First sea monsters, now whales, the next thing you know..." A shaking ship and Curley interrupt him, "Holy cow!" Outside the nose are giant catfish! Seaview gentler this time, shakes but then surfaces as the three discuss who catfish can get that big. A boy whose name may be Halmar and whose age may be 12, 13, or even 14, is in a rowboat and is helped up by the men to the deck of Seaview. Nelson wants to make the little blond Norwegian to feel at home but then gets an idea and asks crewman Garten to translate for him. The boy tells them the monster attacks came from a different fjord--Ludia Fjord. The villagers steered them to the wrong place on purpose! The boy's father calls him and he has to leave. Nelson and Chip watch as Crane and other divers dive and swim out past the windows. They find parts of the rowboat and a part of an animal of some kind. This is an extensive water sequence and very nice. In the Missile Room, Crane returns with the section from the monster, which Nelson says is a small part, "A very, very small part." Using binoculars someone is watching Seaview surface. The tentacle part Crane found was hacked off it by one of the men--drunks Lars Mattson says. Lars claims if it weren't for that boy...Seaview would be gone. Anderson and the woman Sigrid want less trouble than Lars--they want no more deaths by the monster. The fishermen who died had ignored Lars's warnings. All the villagers know of Lars's experiments...they all share in the guilt of the deaths. Lars's experiments to create enough of a food supply to feed the world. Sigrid and Anderson want him to destroy the creature which he will do, he claims, after his research is over. Anderson threatens to go to the police--he is Sigrid's uncle. Lars convinces him not to go.
We see a very rare shot of Seaview on the surface but our point of view is from underneath her! Nelson finds a fantastic discovery...there is a trace of enlarging chemical pituitary convatrophin--used to grow cells. He is at the nose table. A Dr. Thompson from Washington DC calls: there is an Oscar Dalgren who subscribes to science journals. Nelson thinks it is a scientist from the Royal Science Academy, a man who vanished years earlier. He and his aide Lars Mattson, wanted to feed the world at a small cost. Nelson and Lee return to the bar and question the bar tender about Dalgren but the bar tender won't reveal anything. Crane and Nelson are using big mugs to drink. When the pair leave the bar, Nelson comments to Lee, "That ought to start things moving pretty fast." As they move through the barren mountains and forestry, Nelson tells Crane, "You know, Lee, a man could disappear forever in a place like this." Lee says, "I've got an urge to get back to the Seaview and jump into a tall hot drink." As Crane checks his shoe; a man, above, drops a boulder near Nelson. They run but the man shoots at them with a rifle. Lee, behind some rocks, tells Nelson, "You sure flushed a lot of action with that questioning back at the pub!" Crane circles around as Nelson distracts the shooter. Lee jumps the man. Crane is in full uniform and even has his hat on, as does Nelson. Crane punches the man down. Nelson questions the man. A stranger hired him. He is a crack shot--he was only scaring them, not ordered to kill them. The man runs off and Nelson tells Crane, "Let him go, Lee." Lars in his undersea pen for the octopus giant, feeds it a shark, releasing the shark from a side pen. Lars enjoys feeding his "child" as he tells aide Otto Hassler. The aide tells him this is dangerous business. Lars tells him they must keep Anderson and Nelson apart. Sigrid arrives but turns away from Lars. She is cold, has no feeling, and reveals the button she found. She knows Lars killed Rorvik. He shuts the door. For a few brief scenes, their talk is filmed from the other side of a fish tank...a brilliant way to film it. She will try to understand. After she leaves, Otto comes in. If Dalgren ever finds out about Rorvik...
Seaview picks up a diver who plants what may be a bomb on the lower hull. It may have a magnetic timing device. Seaview is called to battle stations. Ski and Nelson go out in diving suits. A note on the tube: Curley has to turn a valve to open the hatch and let the water into it. This returns to the antiquated machinery argument--why would such a modern sub have a diving tube like this. Nelson and Ski get the device off the hull. For some reason, the hull of Seaview is very odd looking and covered in moss (or barnacles?). Despite this, the underwater sequences are very good...it really looks like another world. Nelson goes after the diver while Ski brings the device onto Seaview. It's not a bomb. Curley asks why someone would put this on Seaview. Crane figures, "It's a trap, Curley, if it is--the Admiral's swimming right into it." Crane calls for all available divers (this is not followed through in the rest of the act). Nelson goes up to the pit and takes off all his loose gear. He opens the door hatch and Otto is pointing a gun at him; Lars tells Otto to put the gun away. Lars says, he, the student, has outstripped the master, Anderson--who is Dalgren (this point--is not in some drafts of the story). It is easy to see just how short Richard Basehart is in this episode as he faces Lars and Otto but this doesn't detract from his performance or the story. Nelson calls Lars quite the psychiatrist. Lars has cross bred calm fish with fighting fish. In months, marine life growths and other forms of life will his to make as he desires. It is Lars's name that matters to Lars, Nelson notices---not the saving of lives. Nelson wants him to give Dalgren his credit. Lars turns more obsessed than ever, wanting Nelson to be a part of his creations. Nelson is told by him that he will pit his creation against Nelson's creation--the Seaview. Nelson says he is gambling with the lives of over 100 men. Seaview dives (I thought it already was underwater?). Sigrid and Anderson arrive at the lab. Anderson apologizes to Nelson. Lars wants to let out the monster. Anderson tells Nelson that Lars killed the survivor---Sigrid told her uncle. As Lars goes below, ordering Otto to follow with the other three, Anderson wonders why. When Nelson explains to him they will not let any of them out, Anderson attacks Otto, giving Nelson the chance to divert the gun and get it away from Otto. As they fight (in a well choreographed fight) Sigrid moves to the hatch where she sees Lars below, at the valve to let the creature free. She warns him not to but he doesn't listen. She shoots into him but as he falls, he opens the lever. He falls into the pit and the beast devours him. Then it heads for Seaview. Anderson points out the short wave radio to Nelson, who tries to call Seaview. On the sub, there is no real warning as the octopus sneaks up from underneath it. It covers the nose and shakes the whole ship. Lee and Curly see its tentacles from the viewports in the nose. Water falls in on them. Nelson finally gets through and tells them to bring the reactors up to full power and shoot a charge through the hull. Lee warns Nelson that could blow them sky high. Nelson says, "Trust me, Lee, it'll work!" It does and the monster dies, falling to the bottom. Nelson orders them to surface and put a boat ashore for him. Lee asks, "Is everything all right on that end?" Nelson smiles as Anderson aka Dalgren, comforts a crying Sigrid, "It will be. It will be." Seaview is on the surface soon enough.
REVIEW: Many times in syndication, this episode was aired second, which makes sense. Irwin Allen directed this and it shows--it is fast paced, moving, and has some interesting character stuff that shows the man's passion and vision. At first glance, it may be too talky but this only enhances the action. The exterior attack on the Seaview by the octopus was from the movie as was the shots of the viewport enhanced in front of Crane and Curley. This episode and others in this season--CITY BENEATH THE SEA, CRADLE OF THE DEEP, THE CREATURE I, THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN, THE INVADERS, MUTINY, SECRET OF THE LOCH, and THE AMPHIBIANS---all seem like a 1950s science fiction film. This is not a negative criticism--I like these movies--it is just an observation. In addition to that feel, this episode has Richard Carlson who starred in some of the best of that 1950 genre: THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE. To add to the effect of an old time monster movie the equipment sometimes used on Seaview looks like the submarines of the 50s and maybe even the 40s, the gear and the music sometimes mirrors FLASH GORDON of the 40s and 50s. The music used is a bit like music for the 50s music--IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (which evokes from this episode for more reasons than one) and others; also KING KONG like music adds to the conundrum effect of old and new together. There are also scenes on the beach which seem to be in almost every 1950s science fiction movie, news reporters and reports, sightings of monsters, etc. There is also a mystery tone to the first act and a half dealing with the murder of the victim, giving it a link to PERRY MASON or any of the other mysteries that graced early TV. The murky water sequences look good and remind one of the early sea dramas like SEA HUNT. None of this detracts from VILLAGE at all or in any way.