Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
Starring: Basil Rathbone, Faith Domergue and some other people.
ZZzzzzzzzzz........ZZZzzzzzzzz......ZZZZzzzzzzz......Zzzzz...aumph....cough...cough...HUH? Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be watching Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet.
My Droogies, let it be said now, that next time I choose a movie for a Rogue Roundtable I will definitely check it out first before opening my big yap. Because one doesn't watch this movie, one endures it. I've lost count of how many attempts I made to finish it. Its slow, like Molasses in Winter slow and even the "exciting" parts are just plain boring.
Roger Corman was the executive producer (listed as uncredited in the IMDb entry) for this...uh...movie. That's why it was chosen for Infernal Judgment in the Rogue's Roger Corman Roundtable. Now I can't remember every single thing I've ever wrote or said in the Infernal Archives, but I'm fairly certain that I've said some pretty harsh things about Mr. Corman in the past. But I'll admit something, droogs....I like Corman. He's churned out some crap to be sure, but he's also put out some entertaining cheesy flicks. And if I were to be really honest, few film makers have done as much for the Inferno and other sites of its like. Corman is probably unmatched in his ability to reuse footage from other movies in his flicks. Hell, he even recycled an entire script from Bloodfist 4 to make Moving Target! And both movies starred Don "The Dragon" Wilson. That takes balls, By Odin's Beard, because Corman must have known that fans of the Dragon's movies would see both flicks and its impossible to not notice that they're essentially the same movie! So here's to you Mr. Corman. You're quickly becoming the Patron Saint of the Inferno.
Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet was slapped together from footage from a Russian science fiction movie and additional footage starring the late Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue. Unfortunately none of the additional footage is interesting or helps the plodding story along very much. To be honest I'm amazed that the movie was even released. I'd love to see the committee in action that green lit this. how in the name of all that is Infernal could they have even thought that anyone would think this was a good idea? Think about it like this...you probably have the ingredients and means to create a Peanut butter and Tuna fish sandwich with horseradish but in you heart of hearts you know that no one is going to want to eat it. So why make the durned thing in the first place?
The basis of the movie is this....Earth has sent three exploratory ships to planet Venus. The ships are commanded by Prof. Hartmann (Basil Rathbone) from Lunar base 7. Yeah, this is one of those old movies where we have a whole butt load of bases on the moon. well, one of the ships gets creamed by a meteor but to be honest, it doesn't have any effect on the viewer or for that matter, the mission. The crew of one of the other ships decides that despite the loss of one ship, they should land on Venus without official consent from Hartmann. Who seconds later in a piece of inserted footage gives his consent. (Hey, don't ask me why this is unfolding this way....I didn't write the script.) Well, they do with the aid of Robot John. John is a big ugly looking robot, too. You know how seen in today's light the B-9 Robot from Lost in space looks ungainly and clunky? (Though he still looks kind of cool) Well, John looks even clunkier. He must be since the crew crashes on Venus and now they need to be rescued by the other ship. The crash isn't seen, so I'm guessing that there's a lot missing from the original dialogue or footage, possibly both. Anyway, all of the boys leave to find their stranded friends leaving Marcia, the sole female crewmember, in orbit. Considering that Marcia and Hartmann are both just plugged into the original flick that's a good decision. After all, there's no way they could interact with the Russian cast since they weren't around when the movie was first filmed. Oh, I might add, that no nationalities are really given. Could this be because the movie is a Russian flick and this fusion of film was intended for US audiences....during the Cold War years?
Don't get your hopes up for any action though. The movie then goes into slow-mo. To be honest it took me a lot of repeating viewing to be able to tell which crew from which ship I was watching. The first crew is trying to survive while the rescuers look for them. Meanwhile Hartmann and Marcia are inserted in parts for some meaningless dialogue. Yes, there's a man eating plant, a few lizard men and a flying lizard monster, but Good lord, its too little, too late. This movie will bore the pants off of you. Its not like a 2001 boredom either. You know, when you're watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and you get bored and your mind wanders? Then you feel like a dope because its actually a good movie? (or so its been beaten into our heads that it is...I haven't watched the whole thing yet without passing out and I own it on DVD) Well, this movie is just plain boring. The only way to enjoy it is to torture it Inferno Style and crack jokes. That doesn't make it any less grueling, however. An hour into it for the fourth time and I was begging for it to end before I fell asleep again.
I can't think of anything else to say that could be positive for this movie. I can tell you what you won't be when watching it.
You won't be impressed by the dialogue. In fact, you'll probably cry.
You won't be excited. Remember the man eating plant I mentioned? Dude, enjoy it, because its the most exciting part of the movie. And it carries the tension of watching a He-Man cartoon and wondering if He-Man will beat Skeletor yet again.
You won't EVER WANT TO SEE FAITH DOMERGUE AGAIN. I capitalized that because her part was grating. If I were a woman I'd be extra insulted. I just hope she was well paid for her poopy little part.
You won't think the dinosaurs are cool. They're fake, we all know that. But they look fake. and they don't do anything remotely threatening. Well, maybe the paper mache pterodactyl was a little threatening. Aw, no it wasn't. Who am I kidding?
You won't care at the end when the astronauts escape Venus without meeting the humanoids that live there.
You WON'T EVER want to watch this movie again. I sure as hell don't and I (*sigh*) own my own copy of it.
I'm really sorry I picked this for the Corman roundtable, because I really wanted a movie I could sink my teeth into for it. But this movie turned out to be as tasty as Hoo-Hash that's been left in the sun for two weeks. Still I will concede that Corman has Brass Balls. Producing this flick would test the mettle of many demons in the Inferno.
Best Lines: “The spot of red could be Hades.” -One of the crew said this while looking through a scope on the landing to Venus. Don't ask me which astronaut said that, or what the heck he meant by Hades. I know what it meant to me...this movie came straight from Hades!
Are you kidding me?
1.) I hope...nay, I PRAY that the original Russian version of this movie is better than this one. If it ain't, no wonder we won the Cold War. Basil Rathbone is wasted in a small part that makes me think of poor ol' Bela Lugosi appearing in crappy Ed Wood films while dreaming of the better days behind him. And what the heck is up with Faith Domergue? I've never heard of her before this movie, but her part is really bad, just talking into a mic for her small scenes. And Cheezanrice*, this woman looks like the Gestalt being created from a merging of Lily Munster and Morticia Adams!
2.) What the?.....Man, fire that chick!!! After landing on Venus to rescue their comrades, Commander Lockhart contacts Marcia, who is still in orbit and tells her that basically the information she gave them on the other crew's whereabouts is incomplete. Marcia chuckles into the mic and says "I'm sorry, I was so glad you made a safe landing I forgot to tell you." Forgot to tell them? Are you freaking kidding me? How can you forget to tell them the location of the men you're trying to rescue? And how could Lockhart have not realized at once that he didn't have proper coordinates? Funk dat! Give a few Eagle Scouts this mission. At least they can read a damned map!
3.) When the man sized dinosaurs attack it will bring up memories of Sid and Marty Krofft shows more than any kind of excitement or fear. I've seen more realistic monsters on Sigmund and The Sea Monsters.
4.) Dang it! The astronauts see a live brontosaurus. Yes, a brontosaurus. I'm not a dinosaur expert but I thought Bronto's lived in marshy swampy places and were vegetarians. This Bronto is sitting in a rocky area and God knows what its eating there among the stones. Anyway, they want a blood sample from it. For what, I don't know. So one of them goes to get one from its tail with the warning to stay out of its line of vision. Now a bronto is a big big big creature (Honeycomb BIG! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!), I can buy that. and it probably had a brain smaller than a peach pit. Maybe it wouldn't notice a person jamming a needle into its ass end. But this is a science fiction movie for Heaven's sake! Guess what happens? NOTHING! They get the blood sample and that's it! Why bother with the bronto in the first place!? People don't watch movies called Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet to see big ass brontos doing nothing! You stupid, stupid, stupid Movie!
5.) Robot John is instructed to carry two of the astronauts across a lake of molten lava and halfway across he says his self preservation mechanism orders him to abandon the extra weight. This from the same robot that pulled down a big ass redwood tree. Who the hell builds a robot that's programmed to sacrifice its creators to save itself anyway? Haven't any of these nincompoops ever read Asimov? If I remember correctly Asimov's first rule of robotics was "A robot cannot allow through action or inaction harm to come to any human being". (that's a paraphrase, correct me if I'm wrong)
Nudity and Sex: none
I'm too lazy to research this, but the opening narration tells us that man hopes to find life on Venus because it has conditions similar to Earth. Wait a freaking second!? Venus? This movie was made in 1967 according to the IMDb. Now even if the Russian version was filmed earlier how long has it been since we figured out that Venus is nothing like earth like conditions. I'm going from an old memory of grade school science, but isn't the temperature on Venus the same as molten lead? Isn't the atmosphere made up of dangerous elements? Hell, I'm not an astronaut, I don't know what its made of but I know that Venus isn't exactly the place to plan your next vacation!
Its kind of hard to believe that these are intrepid astronauts exploring the surface of Venus when the monsters look ridiculous and the heroes fight back with 45's!! Yeah, I know special effects are expensive, but for the love of Mike, a guy in space suit firing like he's Elliot Ness just doesn't cut it!
When André thinks that he heard a voice in the distance, Commander Lockhart tells Hans that perhaps other men from space are on Venus exploring. He says refers to the milky way as "the small galaxy we're in". Small? What's his idea of big then? Listen up, my droogies, because TV shows and movies may have given you the impression that interstellar space isn't all that big. Just to give you an idea the Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun. 93 million! would you call 93 million bucks a small amount of cash? I think not. And that's just the distance from our planet to its sun. Its something like 4 light years to the next nearest star! and you know there's a lot of stars in this galaxy! How can this man call our galaxy small when he's on an expedition to investigate the closest planet to us and its an ordeal just doing that? Lockhart, you boob. Rhode Island is small. Texas is big. The Galaxy is unimaginably large!
Marcia is torn in her decision to land the command ship to try and help her friends. We hear her thoughts and she says she can't land until she completes the next orbit and can switch on the "propeller". Um, propeller? On a spaceship? Hmmmm...given this movie that's not too out of place. Bet she has to wind the rubber band, too.
The Final Judgment: If you're gonna rent this botch-job, be warned. Ye must be of sterner stuff than most mortals. Its really only gonna be interesting for those of us that actually get a kick out of watching bad movies. If you don't count yourself in that number, stay away! You'll probably get hurt. Badly. The demons were going to give it the old tombstone and boot it into the lowest level of the Inferno but they relented...due to the Corman factor. This movie receives a single devil head.
*Cheezanrice is an expression used instead "Jesus Christ!".