Thursday, July 16, 2009

Retro View: At The Earth's Core

Yesterday I posted my thoughts on the upcoming John Carter of Mars movie and comparing it past films derived from ERB novels. Well today I thought I would post my opinions about one of those.

Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing) a British scientiest has invented the Iron Mole, a drilling device with plans of burrowing through the earth. Assisting him and footing the bill is David Innes (Doug McClure) a former student. After a brief photo op David and Perry descend into the earth only to discover Pellucider, a civilization consisting of humans, dinosaur like creatures and
the Mahars, ginat pterodactyl like creatures with mind control abilites and their henchmen, the Sagoths. Along the way our heroic pair fight to liberate the humans, engage in conflict with giants and David finds Dia (Caroline Munro) a hottie princess.

I have to admit it's been a long time since I've read the novel so my memories of it are a bit hazy. But I don't remember it being this goofy. Directed by Kevin Conner, this was the second of three films that Amicus Productions would make from Burroughs' novels. Amicus was originally formed as competition for Hammer Films, the company behind the Christopher Lee Dracula films but by the mid-70s with the change towards more modern horror films, Amicus decided instead to go sci-fi. What we get is a late arriving entry in the caveman genre that One Million Years BC with Raquel Welch started a few years earlier.

But sadly Ray Harryhausen wasn't called on do the effects, so we get men in dino costumes that would make Godzilla hang his head in shame, the Mahars who look like escapees from the old Land of the Lost TV series and the Planet of the Apes lookalike Sagoths. In addition the acting ranges from McClure's leading man schtick, which I admit he does well even though he looks like he days away from a midlife crisis to Munro, who is stunning to look at but has little do to until the end. In fact probably the best performance comes from old pro Cushing who seems to be parodying his old Frankenstein role as the doddering old scientiest. Maybe if the Sleestacks had shown up it would have been better. Still for its type its miles away better than the recent Will Ferrell disaster. Rating: **1/2 out of 4.

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