I've been meaning to write something up on this wonderful documentary series for a while but it's taken myself and the family a couple of weeks to watch all thirteen episodes of this legendary Australian cult television show. Filmed in 1973 by sub aquatic explorers Ron and Val Taylor, the series finely balances factual documentary with dramatic oceanographic adventure, capturing an innocence and sense of playful wonder rarely seen on cinematic screen nowadays. It's compulsive viewing, a strange combination of aquatic sensuality, sublime cinematography, factual science, drama and of course the charming relationship of husband and wife team Ron and Val. As a youngster I remember my teenage brain being submerged by similiar documentaries, endless Film Board Of Canada documentaries on the deep sea with strange electronic scores, rainy Sunday afternoons transfixed by the underwater acrobatics of Frenchman Jacques Cousteau or watching from behind the sofa the subaqueous celluloid terror of Bruno Vailati's 'Jaws' cash-in films. Exotic televisual treats such as these, often but not always fueled by the success of 'Jaws', offered a form of escapism from the daily grim realities of growing up in the industrial belt of Scotland. These were other worlds, uncanny, hauntingly beautiful and sometimes fearful. 'Inner Space' is a delight to watch from start to finish and beautifully illustrates the extraordinary hypnotic power of underwater filmmaking. Episode 9,in particular, is a terrifying edge of the seat masterpiece of monstrous mondo exploitative film making. Steven Spielberg was apparently so impressed with this particular episode that he consequently changed his script to allow inclusion in the film 'Jaws'. 'Inner Space' is a cinematic wonder, charting strange, undiscovered waters and perhaps the only film I know of which features a charming aquadelic jazz soundtrack, man eating sharks and a William Shatner narration. An unclassifiable gem. Seek out.
Inner Space is out now on DVD on Votary Records.