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Wednesday July 18th 2018

The Abyss | 1989

Close encounters of the submarine kind when an oil rig crew aboard the Deepcore submersible drilling platform in the ‘Caribbean’ investigates something very strange under the sea.

The nightmarish production (which star Ed Harris refused to talk about) fared poorly on initial release, but was finally rewarded with a successful second life on DVD which at last makes sense of the plot by restoring the vital tsunami climax.

James Cameron’s locations reflect the hard, industrial feel of his movies – Aliens used a power station, T2 disused steel mills, and Titanic – well, a big boat. The Abyss’s underwater scenes were filmed in an uncompleted nuclear power station.

The Duke Power Company’s Cherokee Power Station never went on line and was subsequently abandoned only to be snapped up by movie entrepreneur Earl Owensby – owner of the Owensby Studios in North Carolina.

He rented the facility out to The Abyss’s production company, who built the film’s ‘Deepcore’ sets inside the two gigantic concrete tanks. When filled, they became, at 7.5 million gallons and 2.6 million gallons, two of the largest freshwater containers in the world. You can see them just outside Gaffney, 45 miles east of Greenville on Route 29, South Carolina.