Prehistoric Women (1967)

PrehistoricWomenPosterPrehistoric Women starts off promisingly enough. And by that I mean the suitably lurid poster art depicts a jungle queen perched on a saber-toothed tiger’s head while an evil tiki god looked on behind her. (Of course no saber-toothed tiger appeared in the film, but the jungle queen repeatedly shimmied for your amusement.)

The movie itself begins in Africa (after a credit sequence showcasing a lot of African wildlife, everything switches to a sound stage where you had left over sets from One Million Years B.C. laying around) with a British guide named David leading an old guy on a safari to hunt leopards.

After the old guy botches the hunt and merely wounds the leopard, David gets mad and sends the guy back to camp while he goes after the wounded animal because he doesn’t like to see the animals in his jungle abused. Shot full of lead until they’re dead? Acceptable. Simply winged by amateur? Morally reprehensible.

Despite being warned by some of his native pals that he’s entering forbidden territory where all the locals worship the white rhino and even though he sees a tree marked with the dreaded sign of the white rhino (it’s just a carving of a rhino, not a big white rhino dump or anything), he blunders on ahead, right into the white rhino obsessed tribe!

His torture is immediate and brutal as these guys start to dance around in their white rhino masks (characterized by enormous phallic-shaped noses) all the while singing one of their hit songs (probably about how they’ll meet some lady friend on the down low and let her ride their white rhino).

David is told by the tribal leader that there is no defense for defiling their land and that the penalty is death. The leader also babbles about how his tribe is enslaved to the white rhino god, but I imagine that David was pretty much concentrating on the whole death sentence aspect of things and wasn’t really in his right mind. How else to explain the fact that while everyone is about to stab him to death that he reaches out and touches the horn of the white rhino statue which instantly freezes everyone around him and simultaneously opens a portal to another time?

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Actually, there isn’t any other way to explain it because it doesn’t make any sense. Along with an overabundance of dancing and laughably unconvincing cast, this is one of the movie’s big problems since none of the nonsense that occurs ever amounts to anything beyond a bunch of people milling around in caveman outfits in between dance numbers.

Just what sort of world did David find himself in after groping the white rhino horn? It’s a world unlike any other, except for the sound stage that he just left, only with a few different brightly colored plants. There’s also a prehistoric woman being chased by other prehistoric women and she bites David when he tries to help her.

Both David and the woman are captured by the evil prehistoric women and taken back to their village. There we are subjected to cruelties undreamt of since the last time we had to watch a bunch of people dancing around. This time though, it’s a bunch of blonde chicks instead of African natives. And their moves are even more annoyingly dull than what we had previously seen.

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For those that lack even rudimentary powers of observation, it is pointed out that all the blonde girls are enslaved by the dark haired girls. The men are likewise enslaved and are all held in a prison where they are forced to do metal working.

Additionally, all the males are outfitted with these terrible looking fake beards and wigs, which lead me to believe that whomever was in charge of that sort of thing had a conversation with the director that included the phrase “you won’t believe how cheap all this was!”

The dark haired gal in charge is one of these ruthless barbarian queens who doesn’t mind if her slaves have to eat off the floor and who takes bubble baths. Personally, I don’t see why wanting to pamper yourself every now and again and maintain baby soft skin is such a crime, but I think it stretched credibility a bit that you would have a prehistoric woman so concerned with her personal hygiene.

Barbarian Queen has her eye on David and with his wussy demeanor, what Amazon-ish woman wouldn’t want to put him in a scissors hold?

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But the blonde girl that bit him also likes him and David likes her. To really add to the drama, Blondie conceives a scheme to free her people. Her plan is for David to pretend that he likes Barbarian Queen and slip into her bubble bath and then do something that helps the blondies get free.

I don’t think David’s girlfriend thought it through beyond the whole “my boyfriend is going undercover as hooker” aspect and you can bet that even though Dave whined about doing it, he eventually sucked it up and agreed.

Things go slightly awry once the plan is put into action, mass stupidity ensues and David finally ends up back in the present day after an embarrassingly fake appearance by the white rhino himself!

One of Hammer Films‘ worst efforts which was a bit of a surprise because even with some of Hammer’s lesser films, there’s some aspect that shows a little care went into things, whether it be set design, the acting, or a story that at least made sense.

There is nothing here to redeem this movie though and the fault has to lie with writer/director Michael Carreras. It’s a dumb story that feels like an unfinished jumble of ideas and cliches.

Carreras gets no help from his leading man either. Michael Latimer in the role of David is singularly underwhelming with his unenthusiastic and wimpy portrayal of a guy fighting to survive in a hostile world. He was completely miscast here. He wasn’t a brawny he-man, he wasn’t a rakish rogue, he just looked like an uptight nerd. It all left me feeling like I sat on a white rhino horn.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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