Creatures The World Forgot — a review

Dude, that's some pretty sick styling. Is this a Remington, or a Smith & Wesson?

Dude, that’s some pretty sick styling. Is this a Remington, or a Smith & Wesson?

For the longest time, I had mistakenly thought that Creatures The World Forgot was part of the cinematic saga known as The Land That Time Forgot and its sequel, The People That Time Forgot. Both of these films were released in 1975 and 1977, and starred Doug McClure. They were based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the creator of Tarzan and John Carter: Warlord of Mars) and dealt with a World War One era German submarine coming across a lost world of dinosaurs. I had never seen Creatures, and it wasn’t until very recently that I had discovered that not only didn’t it have anything to do with the Time Forgot films, but that Creatures was released earlier than them, in 1971.

When I finally received my made on demand copy of Creatures The World Forgot (apparently the studio didn’t think this film had enough fans to sell it in their regular DVD catalog) I saw that there were no closed captions for the hearing impaired. This has been a problem with many of the MOD discs; they don’t have CC. But once I started watching Creatures, I saw that I didn’t need the CC, because it’s a movie that takes place back in prehistoric times where everybody speaks ’caveman’. Director Don Chaffey wisely relies on telling his story visually, and it works very nicely. There’s not as much grunting as you would expect from the actors, seeing how they express themselves through hand gestures, with the most prominently used one being the pointing gesture, which equates to: ’look at that!’.

I'm glad I've been accepted into the tribe. Now could you please tell me what the hell is this that I'm wearing?

I’m glad I’ve been accepted into the tribe. Now could you please tell me what the hell is this that I’m wearing?

Creatures is the third film in the caveman saga produced by Hammer Films that started with One Million Years B.C. Also directed by Chaffey, B.C. starred Raquel Welch, still fresh from being squeezed by antibodies in Fantastic Voyage. Next up is When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970), the second in the unofficial caveman trilogy produced by Hammer, with Creatures being the third and final film. Creatures ditched the dinosaurs, which were produced by Ray Harryhausen and Jim Danforth in BC and Dinosaurs, respectively. Instead of dinos we are treated to the story of a power struggle over a tribe between two brothers (Tony Bonner and Robert John), with a beautiful and scantily clad (is there any other kind of cave girl?) Julie Ege caught in the middle.

Hey, does this make me the very first damsel in distress? That's gotta count for something, right?

Hey, does this make me the very first damsel in distress? That’s gotta count for something, right?

All in all, Creatures The World Forgot is a lesser entry in this caveman genre, but it was still enjoyable to watch. The widescreen print used for the DVD was clear and clean, with bright colors reflecting the stunning natural landscapes used here (as well as the natural landscapes of Miss Ege). Written and produced by Michael Carreras, the film does keep falling flat on its face in some scenes, like the customary fight to the death between two characters (which always conveniently takes place on sandy soil to lessen injury to the half naked actors); the goofy use of dummies in some shots, and they obviously look like dummies; and the hysterically funny looking “bear” that’s just a guy in a really bad costume. This just makes the movie enjoyable on a cheesy level, and I’m glad I sought it out. –SF

Destination Inner Space — a review

They don't make them like they used this case, for good reason.

They don’t make them like they used to…in this case, for good reason.

It’s the story of an underwater habitat that struggles with the discovery of alien life under the sea…alien life that may wipe out all human life on the surface of the planet! If you guessed this was James Cameron’s The Abyss, you were wrong; it’s a cheapie science fiction film that was released 23 years earlier that featured the nephew of the Creature From The Black Lagoon.

At least the monster looked like the Creech’s nephew, a more ticked off menace with a constant sneer on his face. In Destination Inner Space, the Navy sends Commander Wayne (Scott Brady) to an underwater research facility when they start getting buzzed by a USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) under the ocean. The USO turns out to be a spaceship that unleashes a sea monster with very colorful fins and a strong disposition to tear people apart. Hijinks ensue.

I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille. Mr. Demille? Oh, I forgot, I ate him already....

I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille. Mr. Demille? Oh, I forgot, I ate him already….

While the movie is silly in many parts–including having the tired old ‘military vs. scientist’ trope and the raging sexism of the 1960s (“you can’t go with us; you’re just a mere woman!”). It’s actually a lot of fun for fans of cheesy flicks, with a score by Paul Dunlap, who also did the music for Angry Red Planet. The monster costume is well done–while it’s not in the same class as the Creech’s outfit, it amply serves its purpose for this low-budget flick, being bulky enough to hide the wearer’s air tank in the underwater scenes.

The cast of Destination Inner Space have kept busy. Fans of Jonny Quest will be interested to hear that actor Mike Road, who plays Maddox, the Diver With a Deep Dark Past, also voiced Race Bannon, Dr. Quest’s bodyguard on that formidable 1960s cartoon. Wende Wagner, who plays Sandra Welles here, also played Lenore “Casey” Case, Britt Reid’s secretary in The Green Hornet, another ’60s TV show that became legendary over time. Gary Merill, who plays Dr. LaSatier, was also in the Ray Harryhausen version of The Mysterious Island.

Hey, let's bring this weird thing we found back to the habitat. What harm could it do?

Hey, let’s bring this weird thing we found back to the habitat. What harm could it do?

I had never even heard of this movie until I saw it for the first time the other night on Amazon. But it was actually a company called Cheezy Flicks that first put this film out on DVD (and where Amazon got their print from). It looks like a worn 16 millimeter print, complete with bits of dust getting trapped in the projector lens (which is something I haven’t seen in years!). I have to say that in spite of its stilted, cheesy nature, I really enjoyed watching this one. It’s a fun flick that bad film fans–as well as those who are eight years old at heart–will passionately love. –SF

Starflight One — a review

Adrift in space doesn't have the same ring as Lost In Space.

Adrift in space doesn’t have the same ring as Lost In Space.

Today I sat back and watched Starflight One, which is a goofy 1983 TV-movie that is also known as Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land. Although it was made in the early 1980s, Starflight feels more like one of the great disaster movies of the 1970s, specifically the Airport films. Considering that Starflight’s director, Jerry Jameson–a sturdy craftsman with numerous TV and film credits to his name–also directed Airport ‘77 (the one with the sinking 747), it’s not surprising that Starflight feels more like an Airport film than anything else–but thanks mainly to its great, straight-faced cheesiness, Starflight is just as enjoyable as an unintentional comedy as the Airport films.

Listen, Fish, I'm gonna be a little late to the precinct. Yeah, I gotta help land a space plane....

Listen, Fish, I’m gonna be a little late to the precinct. Yeah, I gotta help land a space plane….

Starflight One is forced to fly into a higher flight path in order to avoid drifting space debris–which is strange, because we’ve been constantly reminded that it’s not a spaceship, so what’s it doing flying at spaceship height? Damage from the debris causes Starflight to conk out in high orbit, leaving the passengers and crew weightless. The sight of Linden and Lauren Hutton, along with the rest of the cast, trying to look as if they’re struggling in zero-g when they’re obviously just walking around, waving their arms, is one of the funniest moments in the film (take note that Hutton’s long hair, or her clothing, isn’t even floating).

Don't be nervous, my darling. Just pretend we're moving through a giant colon.

Don’t be nervous, my darling. Just pretend we’re moving through a giant colon.

With its complete ignorance of science, Starflight One is already a ’so bad it’s good’ flick of the highest order. But what makes it really appealing for children of the ’70s and ’80s is the cast, which includes screen legend Ray Milland, playing yet another rich old codger role (which was what he mainly played late in his career) as the corporate owner of the Starflight–he’s got the same imperious manner he showed in the Battlestar Galactica pilot. Another veteran of the original Battlestar series, Herbert Jefferson Jr.–who played Boomer–plays the pilot of a space shuttle trying to rescue the Starflight. And none other than Robert Englund–yes, Freddy Kruger himself, from A Nightmare on Elm Street–plays a small part here as a TV cameraman.

As Bela Lugosi would say, "Pull zee string...pull zee string!"

As Bela Lugosi would say, “Pull zee string…pull zee string!”

Featuring music by the great Lalo Schifrin (Mission Impossible) and visual effects by John Dykstra (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica), this is a must see for fans of ‘70s and ‘80s SF films. When I was a kid back in the late ‘70s, I enjoyed discovering the old Flash Gordon serials, which aired on my local PBS station in the wake of the wild success of Star Wars. I enjoyed them for their sheer silliness factor, due to the fact that they were completely clueless as to what outer space was really like. Starflight One is just as much fun in that same way now. It won’t hold up to scientific scrutiny (or even basic logic), but that’s what makes it all the more enjoyable to watch. –SF