This weekend I decided I needed to get a fix of terrible movies before the move, and figured a Dinosaur/Center of the Earth theme would do just the trick. Now I've been in a Center of the Earth zone for about a month, and the ultimate of such stories in my opinion are Edgar Rice Burroughs At the Earth's Core novels.
I've been aware of a terrible B movie version of the book for years (it was in a childhood book) but I'd never gone to the trouble to track it down till this weekend. Oh man was it worth getting! With its terrible yet earnest acting, sets, and special effects this is the sort of movie I aspire to make LOL
Your first sample of the action and effects. It doesn't get much more B then this baby! Despite this the movie's one impressive feature you get a glimpse of in this clip is the blue screen effects. They are actually very clever and well executed, and I tip my hat to the compositor. If only the creature designs were better. I think crippling this was the insistence on the man in rubber suit method of animating the critters. There are two cool creatures despite this.
As for the people well it's kinda inspired. Winner of worst acting of ALL time has to be Doug Mclure (one of the two actors who inspired Troy Mclure on Simpsons) who Dino Buffs will recognize from The Land that Time Forgot and The People that Time Forgot (also Edgar Rice Burroughs stories and also both films by the same director). Mclure's performance is so heart filled yet terrible I want to cast him in one of Prehistoric Insanity's films. Though I guess I'd get cut for him he's much better at acting then me ;P
Peter Cushings though not Mclure bad (he wasn't the one with a Simpson spoof after all) gives one of those awesome talented terrible performances that makes the movie a treat. Cushings delivers a unbelievably quirky and sarcastic performance as a sandwich of the absent minded professors who is remarkable deductive, and also over the top British (best line of the movie "You can't hypnotize me, I'm British!")
The female lead Caroline Munro though no Raquel Welch definitely helped the movie in parts. Especially due to her being with Mclure most of the time the Cushings isn't as to off set the terrible acting with either comedy or cavewomen uh sophistication.
My last quick point on casting this is also a very one of a kind Dinosaur movie. It is the only one I have seen that has Blaxploitation! Seriously there is a whole tribe of Pellculidarians who are black dudes with huge Afros! It is not to be missed!
Speaking of not to be missed, watch this clip! Best part of the movie hands down. Now it loses a slight amount of it's context as you don't see how this comes out of left field. A minute before this Mclure and Cushings have JUST started a rebellion, discovered the bad guys weakness, escaped through a crazy tunnel cave network, and are just standing there when suddenly female love interest is brought back into the movie from being kidnapped.
This lizard is among my favorite movie monsters of ALL time now... I think he should totally fight Godzilla! and blow up when he loses too LOL Oh and I forgot to mention Peter Cushing didn't have that bow or the arrows moments before this clip. Years before Mcguiver could even crawl!
So here's the trailer. It shows you 90% of the movies elements, and you probably will gather the rough story. What is kinda funny is that it follows the book relatively okay, and of course begs the question of why I like this silly pulp drivel, and to be fair I'll be the first to admit that Burroughs books aren't well written persay. He just has such great imagination in his worlds and universes a quality I'd like to say I share. Though like him I'm not so good on the delivery.
Which is where this movie though awesome for B ness also fails. It gets the poor Burroughs story right, but MISSES on all his cool little details.
The center of the earth just has a red sky, and is said to be a cave illuminated by lava. In the book it was a spherical globe where there was no horizon just the land curving up into atmospheric haze, and shining down on it the core of the earth a miniature star. Sure not scientific, but really imaginative.
The key villains the Mahar, a race of intelligent pterosaur with mental powers though plot wise the same as the novels lack all the subtles. They just stand around looking like guys in well rubber suits (though the camera work for most of it tries to conceal them as much as possible). Gone are their societal nuances. Missing is their true secret of being a purely female species that years ago came up with genetic engineering to eliminate males (Burroughs by the way wrote these books in the 1920's).
Why do I ramble about these details no one else cares about. Well it is simple isn't it. I'm pulling my Peter Jackson right here. If I ever make it even slightly big I'm so doing a GOOD Pellucidar movie!