Friday, August 5, 2011

Coming Attractions: AT THE EARTH'S CORE (1976) Theatrical Trailer

At The Earth's Core was another of the John Dark/Kevin Connor 70s adventure films based on and/or inspired by the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs. As with the others - The Land That Time Forgot, The People That Time Forgot - the film starred stalwart Doug McClure. In this case, though, he was joined by the stunning Caroline Munro (Starcrash's Stella Star, herself) and the always awesome Peter Cushing (Star Wars' Garnd Moff Tarkin) in a loose adaptation of the Burroughs classic, which I watched again last night on DVD.

Set in a savage, Stone Age jungle within the hollow Earth, the film version of At The Earth's Core eschewed the dinosaurs and primitive mammals of the novel in favor of utterly fantastic monsters portrayed by men in rubber suits and animatronic 'bots. Truth be told, I actually dig these goofy monsters, and am kinda glad the filmmakers went that way with the beasties. The two best things about the movie, though, are Caroline Munro as Dia the Beautiful ("Dian" in the book) - and the realization of the heroes' subterranean "Iron Mole" vehicle, which has a gorgeous, Victorian aesthetic to its design and features. The third best aspect of the film is Cushing's delightfully scatterbrained portrayal of Professor Abner Perry. 

I'll write more about this film one of these days, because corny as the Dark/Connor films were, they were among the more high-profile genre movies of the era. I remember really wanting to see them whenever they played at local theaters and drive-ins, and am still annoyed that I never got to see Warlords of Atlantis... and still haven't.


  1. I loved all of these dinosaur flicks and Doug McClure was the go-to guy to star in these fun little films (rest in peace Doug, we miss ya!). I absolutely loved the iron mole design and for years I would doodle that machine on my school notebooks (and the Polar Borer from The Last Dinosaur).

    They did have Warlords of Atlantis on YouTube, but naturally it was pulled for copyright issues. However, you can still see the trailer.

  2. That brings back memories. I wasn't able to afford seeing it at the theater and had to wait for it to be shown on TV. The mind controlling "gods" and Munro were the parts that impressed me at the time. Being older and seeing it as an adult, I have to agree with your assessment of the best things of the film.

    At least my younger and older selves agreed on Caroline Munro!

  3. Earths Core is great fun. Saw all of these movies at packed Saturday afternoon matinee's when I was a kid. You can't go wrong when your main villains are a bunch of hypnotising psychotic parrots. Definitely recommend Warlords of Atlantis. The first appearance of the Atlantis soldiers is fantastic and is one of my all time favourite retro memories. Atlantis is another classic of it's type.

  4. Don't feel bad about Warlords--I haven't seen it, either.

    I know I've seen both Land and People, but I get some things mixed up (having only seen them once each). I vividly recall the scene where the naked native women somehow deposit their eggs into the warm pool, and still don't know how my local tv station was able to broadcast that on a weekend afternoon (nor how that same station got away with showing the scene from the Logan's Run film where Jessica strips in front of the camera...). I also vividly recall the skull-walls of the bad guys in People who captured Doug McClure and the rather terrifying/creepy masks they wore. Brrr! Effective back then, for certain!

    I haven't seen Core, but I have seen pix of the Iron Mole, and that is a great steampunk design, years before steampunk was coined. Caroline Munro was awesome in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. She was a great choice to be a Space Babe (I checked your archives...)

    Gordon Long

  5. I saw Warlords of Atlantis at my middle school back in 1984. To reward us for good test scores, the entire 8th grade was shown the movie in the school gym (along with Gus, the Disney movie about a mule that kicks field goals!). I don't remember too much about it except that I wasn't very impressed at the time. I've never had the chance to see it again, but I would probably enjoy its retro charm considerably more now than I did then.

  6. I have not see Warlords either, but watch the other three every once in a while. At the Earth's core is crazy at times with the cheap, but wil visuals and the loud noises. However it is very entertaining and the steady pace works. Plus the Cush gives an inspired performance as usual.