I first saw 1977 The People that Time Forgot at the local parish cinema. It was probably 1979, I had not yet seen the previous movie in the series and yes, I was thirteen and I was quite impressed by Dana Gillespie’s, ehm… presence.
So sue me.
The movie is the direct sequel of the 1974 film scripted by Moorcock and Cawthorn and based on the first of the three Caprona novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Moorcock & Cawthorn were no longer on board, but the movie still could rely on the production of John Dark, the direction of Kevin Connor, and on Doug McClure in a supporting role akin to the one played by Charlton Heston in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
And the comparison is not so out of place.
In both movies, a rescue mission is mounted to find out what happened to the characters in the first movie.
In both movies the mission is stranded just like its predecessor.
In both movies the hero meets a primitive woman that happens to be the girlfriend of the previous movie’s hero, and that will act as guide.
In both movies the heroes reunite and face a strange cult in an underground fortress, and the finale relies on widespread destruction.
The People that Time Forgot is not bad, and it features a great cast and some decent action scenes, but it is not that good either, and the pterodactyls (and the creatures effects in general) are still part of the problem.
It also suddenly veers into another Burroughs novel, and our heroes find themselves in The Mucker, and have to fight a horde of degenerate samurai.
The reasons might be traced to the fact that Amicus, the company producing the movie, was on its last legs at the time of filming, and it was necessary to wrap up the film and deliver it before the crash. In fact, the movie was released after Amicus had gone belly up – and this might explain why two years later it was already doing the rounds of the fleapits in suburbia.
But what the hell, it’s a fun romp. It’s inferior to its predecessor, and it often veers into sheer silliness – the bad guy Sabbala has two Frazetta posters in his throne room, as a bona fide to his badassery.
The Caprona series of novels comes to a close with Out of Time’s Abyss, and it was never filmed. There would be a strange coda, to the aborted Amicus attempt at creating a Burroughs Cinematic Universe, but we’ll talk about that at another time.
First we’ll have to take a look at the movie that actually killed the franchise – but that’s for another time too.