Ok, get out the chips and jalapenos, the cheese has arrived and there are gallons of it. This is a good example of how undiscriminating I was as a film consumer, when the weather was hot, I was bored and the theater was air conditioned. At the Earth’s Core brought me in because of the name Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the fact that it was sort of science fiction based. Even at the time I knew what crap this was, but that did not mean that I did not enjoy it. There were in fact two other movies from the same producer and stars, that came out in the mid-seventies. I think they are both on this list so you may be reading about them later. I remembered the People that Time Forgot much better than I remembered this (I guess that would be ironic).
This movie has a couple of things going for it that might make it worth your time. First, there is a Victorian setting for the scientists making this journey, and the production design emphasizes that era. I’m a sucker for that early “Steam Punk” type of design. I loved the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and the digging machine in this movie is an echo of that design. The costumes of our two heroes are simple but say everything about the fussy professor and the dim but rich and stalwart muscleman that is our lead. A suit like the one Doug McClure wears in this movie would be at home in 1880 England or 1960’s or 70’s San Francisco.
A second reason to see the movie is the lovely Caroline Munro, a Penthouse Pet that broke thru to B movie stardom in the 1970’s. She did several of these cheapo films and had a nice following among male film goers. She is best remembered for a nice part she had in the James Bond film, “the Spy Who Loved Me”. I did not have any posters or pictures up on my walls but I have a recollection that she had a nice selling poster like Linda Carter and Farrah Fawcett. That was the last I remember of her although I’m sure she had a fine career that I was just not aware of.
The movie has exploding bird people, giant turtle like dinosaurs, ape like creatures with misshapen skulls, primitive tribal people that don’t speak (until after a confrontation scene that would be rendered unnecessary if someone simply said hello and answered) and then they do speak , English (if a bit Tarzanese). The production of the special effects is so cheap that the wires are visible on flying creatures, and the sets are repeated endlessly as our protaganists move through tunnels and jungle that all look the same for a reason.
I can’t recall the circumstances of my seeing the movie, I doubt that Dee and I were together, we had just started dating seriously and this would not be a film to impress a date with; although she did make me take her to see Mahogany. The movie is a relic that was creaky when it came out, 34 years later, it has not improved. Still, a lazy evening at a Drive in would be just about right. I can’t believe I missed that opportunity with the hot girl I was dating. I’m sure I would remember even less of the movie then.