Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Land Unknown (1957)

Poster for The Land Unknown (1957)The Land Unknown (1957) by #VirgilWVogel

w/#JockMahoney #ShirleyPatterson

Three men and a woman crash-land in a deep crater in Antarctica, where they find a prehistoric world.

“Lost and Terrorized in Prehistoric Time.”

#SciFi #Horror #Fantasy
#Dinosaurs
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn

I always loved movies about lost worlds and dinosaurs, but The Land Unknown (1957) is not a movie I remember seeing when I was  young. King Kong (1933) I remember, and I watched it whenever it was on TV. Later on I added King Kong (1976) to the regular watch list as well. It’s possible I saw The Land Unknown at some point, but if I did it didn’t make a lasting impression.

Honestly, The Land Unknown is not quite in the same class as King Kong, but it’s still a nostalgic and fun watch for those who grew up with these kind of movies. 

What blew my mind when watching it – or rather, when reading about it afterwards – is discovering that the lead actress, Shirley Patterson, was born in my home town of Winnipeg. This makes her a #MadeInManitobaMonday actress, I suppose.

Patterson, who’s credited as Shawn Smith in this movie (and most of everything else she made after 1950) started out in North of the Rockies (1942). She appeared in over 50 movies and TV shows, but never really became a big star. Aside from The Land Unknown, she also had a big part in It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958). These appear to be her final two movies, so perhaps she was on her way to becoming a leading lady of Science Fiction. Alas, she was in a serious skiing accident in 1958 which left her unable to work for a couple of years, and she wound up retiring. Who knows what might have happened if it hadn’t been for that unfortunate incident at California’s Big Bear mountain resort?

The Land Unknown (1957) is #NotQuiteClassicCinema that would have been just as at home on a Sunday afternoon as on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn. But if you’re an old school dinosaur fan,  it’s likely to put a smile on your face no matter when you choose to watch it.

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Creatures the World Forgot (1971)

Poster for Creatures the World Forgot (1971)Creatures the World Forgot (1971) by #DonChaffey
w/ #JulieEge #TonyBonner #RobinJohn

See prehistoric love rites! See primitive chieftains duel in naked fury! See the young lovers sacrificed! See staked girl menaced by giant python! See…Creatures the World Forgot.”

They don’t make them like this anymore … not in a million years!”

#HammerHorror #Adventure #Horror #SciFi
#NotQuiteClassicCinema
#FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Creatures the World Forgot (1971) is a movie that I’d never seen before last Friday. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I suppose I had visions of One Million Years B.C. (1966) crossed with King Kong, or some other giant monster movie. It does have the word Creatures in the title, after all. Sadly, I think the creatures in this movie are simply primitive human beings. 

I suppose what Creatures the World Forgot really reminded me of was Quest for Fire (1981). Released ten years before that one, Creatures the World Forgot is a sort of precursor to it, I suppose; an early ancestor, perhaps. But it is by far the weaker of the two movies. 

When I was young, Quest for Fire was a real water fountain movie around my school. A lot of the older kids were talking about, saying it was amazing. This made me want to see it, of course, but it was restricted – no one under 18 allowed. Everyone I knew who was talking about it was under 13, so I’m not sure how they saw it (snuck in, I suppose). Some of the same people saw Scanners (1981) as well, so they were apparently accomplished sneaker-inners, or habitual liars. 

The other thing that happened around then was that Iron Maiden released a song called “Quest for Fire” – and I’m pretty sure the DJ on the radio said “If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll recognize this…” and then dropped the needle on what I thought was a pretty awesome piece of heavy metal. I taped it off the radio as soon as I could, and listened to it over and over again. I bought the record and listened to it even more. I loved that song (and that whole album) and it made me really want to see Quest for Fire badly!

I eventually saw it, on Pay TV, I think. You were able to steal it in those days if you really knew what you were doing. Maybe I rented it on Beta, I can’t remember. In any case, it was a pretty cool movie that lived up to its reputation. One of the reasons it was such a notorious movie among 11 to13-year-old boys was that it featured some pretty graphic nudity and sex. There was action and violence, too. But I think the sex made it particularly exciting in that same way as a stolen copy of Playboy or that other water fountain movie of my youth, Porky’s (1981).

It should be noted, for those who are too young to remember or even fathom this, there was no internet back then. You could not access endless amounts of hard core pornography with a simple google search. In fact, you couldn’t even rent it or buy it in my hometown. Not in the early 1980s. It was considered obscene, and was therefore illegal. The first real Adult Video Stores didn’t appear until the 1990s, and they had a few problems staying open. In the 1980s “Adult” sections of video stores, you could rent movies like Angel of H.E.A.T. (1983) and Black Emmanualle 2 (1976), which were basically R-rated movies – not porn. But we, as teenagers, could not even rent those movies – unless someone’s older brother did it for us, but that’s another story…

Quest for Fire was great! And I watched it a few times over the years. I should mention that it currently rates a 7.3 on the IMDb, and 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. So it’s both a sleazy good time and a classy piece of art-house cinema.

Creatures the World Forgot is no Quest for Fire. It rates a 4.4 on the IMDb and doesn’t even register on Rotten Tomatoes. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but from my point of view, it’s nowhere near as good a movie as Quest for Fire

That’s not to say that Creatures the World Forgot is a complete waste of time. It has some entertainment value, and a few moments of laugh-out-loud campiness. Someone commented that it’s hard to follow, and I would have to agree with that. The story jumps forward months and years at a time. And keep in mind that there is no real dialogue to help you understand what is going on – just prehistoric grunting.

The skilled director of Quest for Fire makes this work. He manages to tell a coherent and compelling story. I don’t want to insult Don Chaffey’s directing skills. I’m sure he was a talented guy. In fact, he did a lot of television, including some classic shows like The Prisoner (1967-68), The Avengers (1961-69) and Charlie’s Angels (1976-81) – so the man deserves some respect.  But Creatures the World Forgot is clearly not his best work. 

Creatures the World Forgot (1971) is a Hammer Film, and it might be my least favourite one so far. They are usually a reliable source of high quality, highly entertaining movies. Creatures the World Forgot is just okay. It’s #NotQuiteClassicCinema that perhaps has earned it’s non-reputation. Still, it’s an acceptable time waster, and might serve as an interesting curtain raiser for Quest for Fire – at least for those who are curious enough to want to compare them. I may watch it again on some desperate #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn – but it won’t be my first choice of Hammer films, or prehistoric exploitation pictures…