At The Earth’s Core 1976 UK
Directed by Kevin Connor
Amicus DVD Region 2
Blimey. I remember seeing this movie at Butlin’s when I was a kid! The first, and as far as I know, only film based on the first of Edgar Rice Burrough’s seven Pellucidar novels (there was even a Tarzan At The Earth’s Core), At The Earth’s Core is in many ways a terrible movie. I loved it as a kid though and I still loved it when I watched it today... Why? Well for all the wrong reasons.
Let me tell you about this movie...
First of all it headlines Peter Cushing and Doug McClure (along with Troy Donahue, he’s one half of the composite Troy McClure character in The Simpsons... you may remember him from such films as...etc.) and the one truly great reason for watching this movie more than once... the ever so gorgeous and talented Caroline Munro! Yes, she’s fantastic!
Pete and Doug drill their giant mechanical drill machine into the earth’s crust and through to a strange underground world where you have bad rubber “Man In Suit” monsters that look less realistic than the teletubbies. I would have been embarrassed to put even one of these things up on screen. Ooh... and did I mention that the dinosaurs explode when you drop them or kill them for some strange reason. Maybe they have flammable liquids trapped in their bellies. The good guys mostly fight various reptilian creatures using back projection shots. Irritatingly, those back projection shots are really well done... which makes the fact that they’re just geezahs in terrible rubber suits even more frustrating.
Pete and Doug run away from monsters, get captured by other monsters, escape, fall in love with Caroline Munro who turns out to be a savage, tribal princess (well Doug does anyway) and then mobilise the tribe to attack the monsters and their giant, half pteradon, half man in suit boss monsters who turn out to be ruling this underground civilization by their powers of telepathy (yes that’s right, telepathic dinosaurs). Doug gets into a fight with a big dinosaur at the end to save Caroline Munroe, but luckily he is armed with a pointy stick and after he has hit the dinosaur several times... it luckily explodes! After the last dinosaur has exploded and the home of the monsters has also exploded... Pete and Doug have finally brought peace down under (literally down under) and then leave without taking the marvellous Caroline Munroe with them, who stays behind in the hopes that they will come back for her in a sequel of some kind. Alas... that was not to be.
So to summarise... this film has bad acting, big rubber monsters, young tribal ladies in various states of half undress perspiring hotly and one of them is Caroline Munro.
Reasons to watch this terrible film...
1. Well it has great lighting which is reminiscent of the late, great Mario Bava at times. Wonderful purples juxtaposed with great greens.
2. Young tribal ladies in various states of half undress perspiring hotly (see above).
3. Before becoming hypnotised by a telepathic dinosaur, Peter Cushing shouts out the truly epic line... “You can’t mesmerise me... I’m British!”
4. It’s got Caroline Munroe in it... that’s reason enough.
A truly terrible film which deserves a truly large following.