In the early 1960's, as a U.S. Navy ship cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the... See full summary »
In the early 1960's, as a U.S. Navy ship cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the ocean floor, maybe there since World War II. A very nervous crew member (Mike Kellin) on the ship served aboard that sub - and he was its sole survivor. Written by
The hull number for the sunken submarine, 714, was not actually used by the Navy until the construction began on the USS NORFOLK SSN714 in August of 1979. In the episode, it was mentioned that the submarine was built in 1941. Those built in 1941 had "21x" hull numbers. See more »
The ship's hull number in the opening, exterior shot is DD-944, in the next scene it is DD-946. See more »
Incident one hundred miles off the coast of Guadalcanal. Time: the present. The United States naval destroyer on what has been a most uneventful cruise. In a moment, they're going to send a man down thirty fathoms and check on a noisemaker - someone or something tapping on metal. You may or may not read the results in a naval report, because Captain Beecham and his crew have just set a course that will lead this ship and everyone on it - into The Twilight Zone.
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"The Thirty-Fathom Grave" is an atmospherically rich tale in which mysterious pounding noises from a sunken submarine are detected by a passing US naval vessel. As it turns out, onboard the naval ship is the lone surviving member of the crew of that sub. Plagued by creepy visions of his dead comrades sopping wet and beckoning him to join them, one cannot help but feel for the tormented character in this very well shot episode that ends with an effectively eerie revelation.
So why does it ultimately fail?
Quite frankly, because there just isn't enough story here to sustain the episode's momentum over the course of an hour. After starting off with a promising first act, the pace quickly begins to bog down to the point where the character of a young naval diver has to fill air time by making descent after monotonous descent to check out the wrecked sub. One other problem is the question of why the ghostly crew are so determined that their comrade should re-join them at the bottom of the ocean? Afterall, he didn't cause their deaths, and since the ending pretty clearly indicates that the phantoms are not just hallucinations, it becomes even harder to understand why they would be so determined to drive this guy to take his own life.
Had it been told at the usual "Twilight Zone" episode length of 30 minutes, this could well have been one the best such tales of the entire series, perhaps attaining the same standout status as did other classic episodes like "The Invaders" and "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet." Unfortunately, "Thirty-Fathom Grave" just drifts along before ultimately sinking due to it's own bloated length.
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