Sunday Matinee: At The Earth’s Core

After The Land That Time Forgot’s success, Amicus Studios re-teamed director Kevin Connor with actor Doug McClure for an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Victorian-set novel At the Earth’s Core. To class things up a bit, Peter Cushing was added to the cast as the scientist Dr. Abner Perry. In At The Earth’s Core, Perry, along with David Innes (McClure) test the Iron Mole — a giant drilling machine capable of digging to the centre of the Earth. Little do they suspect they’re about to discover the mysterious underground realm Pellucidar and its strange, often hostile inhabitants.

Innes and Perry end up in an underground labyrinth where they discover prehistoric creatures, cavemen and the Mahar — freaky, telepathic flying lizards who use the cave people as slaves.

Naturally, one of the primitives is the very sexy Caroline Munro whom Innes falls for because who wouldn’t. Soon, they’re fighting the Mahar to free the people and escape back to the surface.

As in The Land That Time Forgot, Amicus continued using puppets but they also used costumed actors to play the film’s creatures. The results are pretty cheesy, but at this point these movies were pretty much just goofy fun anyway. Like their rival studio, the much-bigger Hammer, Amicus was close to going out of business and in fact would only make one more movie after this one — a sequel to The Land That Time Forgot.

After all the horror movies both studios released in the 1960s and ’70s, both studios would ultimately go out quietly with films that weren’t horror movies — Hammer with The Lady Vanishes in 1979 and Amicus with The People That Time Forgot in 1977.

At least we’ll always have the floppy, rubber memories.

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