The loss of a submarine and other ships in the Arctic near the North Pole causes much international concern. It is decided to send the atomic submarine Tigershark on a mission to find out what is causing the disasters.
The crew of the Tigershark, which includes the sub’s captain Dan Wendover (Dick Foran) and Lieutenant commander Richard Holloway (Arthur Franz), plus scientist Dr. Carl Neilson (Brett Halsey), eventually discover a UFO lurking beneath the sea… controlled by its extraterrestrial, one-eyed occupant!
This low budget flick, directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet, has stilted narration, obvious use of stock footage, plus some of the most unrealistic, tiny submarine models ever committed to film… and yet… I really like how the movie suddenly becomes darker and more atmospheric once the crew get into the undersea saucer.
In this more impressive latter section of the film we see characters getting their skin melted by light beams and another guy dying when he’s caught in a closing saucer door. The interior of the craft is impressionistic, with lots of totally black backgrounds (due to budget constraints, I’m sure), which adds to the darker tone of these scenes. The ‘Electro-Sonic’ score is also a plus.
THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE boasts a very cool-looking alien: it is a large, cyclopean, tentacled, telepathic Lovecraftian creature!
Scriptwriter Orville H. Hampton (who also wrote THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE and JACK THE GIANT KILLER) and Irving Block & Jack Rabin (who worked on the story) came up with one particularly cool idea: which is that the saucer is organic and able to seal-up the hole made by the atomic sub ramming into it.
It is a shame, then, that the makers just didn’t have enough money to properly convey this aspect of the story.
At the end of the movie the saucer breaks through the sea ice… and you can see the stick that the saucer model is attached to! But who cares? The film’s central plot (atomic sub hunting down undersea saucer in the Arctic) is pretty damn good.
The movie has a marvellous, action-packed poster too!
Finally, here’s an illustration of the alien by Jamie Chase…