Tuesday, August 16, 2016


A spaceship in trouble crash lands in an ocean on a planet very much like Earth. The crew manages to swim to shore with some supplies before the ship sinks, and they discover a seemingly hospitable environment. But when Cindy tries to go swim back to the ship, she is eaten by a sea creature (as JAWS-like music plays). The remaining eight crew members hike inland to find a place to set up camp until they are rescued—which may or may not be a realistic hope as they have no way to communicate with their home base. Among the eight are: Lee, the nominal but indecisive leader; Chuck, the hunky navigator who spends almost the entire movie shirtless; Jim, the bearded lumberjackish fellow who becomes a more reliable decision-maker; and Derna, a sexy secretary. There are personal tensions, but given the title, what we really want to see are the dinosaurs. When they eventually arrive, after much tedious conversation and lots of walking and rock climbing, they are sort of worth the wait. And sort of not, depending on your tolerance for bad acting and terrible dialogue.

This movie is of a much later vintage than I usually include on this blog, but it seems part and parcel of the rash of low-budget 60s and early 70s sci-fi movies I've been watching this summer. It's very low-budget, and what money there was went to the special effects (including some nice Harryhausen-like stop-motion effects) by some men who later worked on better movies such as GREMLINS 2 and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. I especially liked the little pet-sized dinosaurs, though all the effects are of higher quality than the surrounding movie. There is a great death scene involving one especially unlikable character getting speared in the chest by the horn of a Centrosaurus. Lucky for me, the undistinguished acting and bad screenplay were made tolerable by the cheesy costumes (men in jumpsuits open to the navel), porn mustaches sported by a couple of the guys (see Mike at right), and the bared chest of Chuck Pennington (as Chuck, pictured above killing one of the petlike dinos). Generally, it felt like the cast and crew were just out for a week of hiking in the hills around Los Angeles in sporty 70s duds and decided to shoot an unfinished script that the director just happened to have in his pocket. Weirdly, the whole thing has a 70s porn movie vibe to it, even though nothing remotely sexy happens—unless you count Chuck's chest, which I guess I do. I was even pleasantly distracted by Michael Thayer (as Mike) and James Whitworth (as Jim). Even Derna was played by a woman named Derna! (Whitworth went on to gain notoriety as the cannibal dad in the original THE HILLS HAVE EYES.) [Streaming]

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