Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966)

Women of the Prehistoric Planet

Written and Directed by Arthur C. Pierce

Tagline: “It’s the battle of the sexes as savage planet women attack female space invaders!”

Run Time: 90 min

Other titles: “Prehistoric Planet Women”


As I was doing a little research for this film, I began to get a little exited when I saw that it was directed by Arthur Pierce. In 1966, Pierce directed 3 of the only 4 movies he ever did: "The Las Vegas Hillbillies", "The Navy VS. The Night Monsters", and our feature presentation, "Women of the Prehistoric Planet." (His only other directorial effort being "Mutiny in Outer Space" in 1965.) Quickly calculating that on average he took 4 months to complete each, um, project, I could only buckle myself in and prepare for a voyage into bad-movie grand central station.

My excitement grew when I saw one of the stars of this film is veteran B-movie actor John Agar. With 65 films to his credit, including such B-movie classics as "The Brain from Planet Arous" (1957), "Attack of the Puppet People" (1958), and "Zontar the Thing from Venus" (1966). (Made the same year as "Women of the Prehistoric Planet", strike while the iron is hot I suppose…), John could only bring more food to this schlock buffet that I was about to feast upon.

Co-starring with Agar is another veteran actor, Wendell Corey. With previous roles in such respectable films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s "Rear Window" (1954), Corey began taking roles in sci-fi films, winding up in the role of Admiral King in this movie. After this film he went on to star in such dubious efforts as "Picture Mommy Dead" and "Cyborg 2987" both filmed in 1966 along with this film. Corey went on to end his career starring in "The Astro-Zombies" (1969) before passing away later that year.

It’s interesting to remember that this movie was filmed during the days of Civil Rights. The story tries to convey the message of racial tolerance by having one of the main plot lines be the human’s intolerance of the Centarians. (I guess that’s "species" tolerance, but you get the point). Although a nobel gesture, the message is not only delivered, but it is bashed over the viewer’s head, over and over again, making the whole issue become quite tiresome after a short while (We get it already! We get it! We feel sorry for the Centarians! Now get on with the story!)

Just to warn you, the title of this moving is essentially a lie. There is only one woman on the planet: and she isn’t even prehistoric! It’s quite shocking when you realize the lengths they went in order to dupe people into coming to see this crap, but hey, it fooled me!

So let’s dig in…

Our feature film opens with credits overlaid on a galaxy, but not our galaxy of course. A soundtrack featuring blaring horns (and not much else) clues us in that this is going to be an exciting film. Our expectations for something exiting to happen are soon fulfilled when we see a really cool (not!) spaceship floating through space.

Inside the ship, Admiral King (Wendell Corey) introspectively stares out the front view port, mumbling a log entry to one of the crew. It really seems like Wendell is drunk while filming this movie: he slurs all the time and it makes it hard to hear what he’s saying…but I’ll try. Actually it doesn’t really matter, he just exposits that they are on their way home from the planet Centaraus, followed by two other ships, each at 3 month intervals behind them. Yes, life is good.

Impressively, the crew mentions time-dilation effects due to velocities close to the speed of light. (Well, Dr. Farrell calls it "…near optic speeds…", but I’ll still give them credit.) It is explained that although they have traveled only a year, 6 years had passed back home. I found this to be one of the few movies that has ever discussed this very real phenomenon which accompanies any type of near light-speed travel. However, all hopes of a decent movie are quickly dashed as the story continues.

Women of the Prehistoric Planet

Admiral King making a log entry: "Hmmrphh..aguumaa..marggen…zAPPattzzn!

The crew suddenly receives a distress signal from one of the other ships, namely Cosmos 3. The navigator, Commander Scott, plots the position of the ship in distress. They find that the ship is near a new star called "Solaris" which is "a dangerous area to go off course" due to all the gas clouds (Damn gas clouds!) . The Communications room reports that they have lost contact with Cosmos 3, forcing Admiral King into making a decision.

Women of the Prehistoric Planet

The Comm Room Babes: Lt. Karen Lemont and Ensign Stevens.

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetAdmiral King slurs the order to "reduce speed…one eight" to Sergeant Allen, the assistant navigator. (What the hell does that mean? ‘One eight’ what?). Allen complies, relaying the order down to the engine room where Lt. Bradley and the Chief Engineer (helpfully referred to simply as "Chief" throughout the film) begin furiously pushing buttons and turning dials at the oh-so-cool-command-console, thus safely reducing their speed by 1-8. (See Classic Lines.)

In all seriousness, the way Wendell Corey delivers his lines truly reminds me of a drunk person trying to remember what to say. He speaks haltingly, as if trying to remember his lines. Once he remembers his lines, he slurs them when he delivers them. I’m pretty convinced that he didn’t even remember the correct lines because the ones he uses sometimes make no sense whatsoever. I’m not exaggerating here. It’s really hard to believe that they actually didn’t shoot these scenes again, but looking at the budget for the film and the time constraints they had, I can only assume that they just decided to keep the takes and plow onward.

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Commander Scott and Doctor Farrell

Back in the control room, Admiral King has left the floor (when did he leave?) and Scott takes this opportunity to voice his concerns about the decision to turn around. (I’m not sure when that decision was made…the only order I heard was to slow the ship by 1 8.) Dr. Farrell tells Scott that Admiral King is doing the right thing, since the crippled ship is carrying both a crew of 20 people and a valuable load of "gravitite". (And you know how expensive ‘gravitite’ is!). Scott corrects him by saying there are actually 12 people on the ship and that the rest are "Centarians". Scott furthermore makes it clear that he doesn’t trust Centarians, since they are little more than barbarians. As Scott is saying all this, a Centarian, Linda, happens to walk on the deck (You can tell a Centarian by the way they look suspiciously like Asians; they also like to wear pink jumper suits.) Linda hears what he says, and understandably hurt by his remarks, silently turns and leaves the control room. (It is unclear what she is doing on the ship, let alone wandering around up to the control room, but anyway…)

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetFarrell defends the Centarians by noting that they too once had a great civilization and with the human’s help they could rebuild it some day. Scott scoffs at the idea and they continue by having a strange argument over who knows Admiral King best. I don’t know why. Who cares.

Down in the communications room (Ok, there is Admiral King. Sneaky little devil…he went down there between scenes) they are still trying to pick up signals from Cosmos 3. Linda is also there, watching the efforts to contact the ship. Contact is not established, and Linda begins to despair. Admiral King reassures her that they are probably all right, and goes back to the control room.

We shift scenes to Cosmos 3’s communications room. This wouldn’t be the same set used for Cosmos 1’s communication’s room would it? No, because there is a little sign stuck on the control panel informing us that this is in fact a different ship:

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetWe suspect that trouble is afoot when we see Cosmos 3’s Comm Babe tied up to her chair and ‘gagged’ so she can’t respond to the calls from Cosmos 1. Up on the control deck, we see two Centarians holding the ship’s crew captive with some sort of ray guns. (You see! Commander Scott was right! You can’t trust a Centarian!) The ship’s captain tries to convince the Centarian leader, Jang, that the ship is out of control and the crew must be freed or else they will all be killed. His efforts to regain the ship are rewarded by a karate chop to the neck, and Jang commands another crew member to turn the ship around and take them back to Centaraus.

I have to wonder a little bit here. Why do the Centarians have to force the captain to return them? If they were taken aboard the ship involuntarily, then why are they free to roam about the ship at will (we just saw Linda nonchalantly stroll into Cosmos 3’s control room earlier)? If they weren’t forced to come on the ship, and they came on willingly, then why are they so desperate to get back?

The camera starts shaking, I mean the ship starts shaking as Cosmos 3 is locked into a "magnetic field" of one of the planets orbiting Solaris. The captain regains consciousness and vainly tries to stop their plunge towards the planet. However, not even the "de-accelarators" work (aren’t those just called "brakes"?) and Captain Ross reiterates that unless he is given back control of the ship, they will all crash and die. Jang feels it better to crash than to serve as a slave for the humans. Ross takes offense to that, saying that Centarians have never been treated as slaves by his people…(Umm, aren’t there more pressing matters to discuss, like getting the brakes, I mean ‘de-accelarators’ to work?).

One of Jang’s men has a change of heart and thinks that maybe it would be in his best interest not to crash into the planet and attacks Jang. In the scuffle that follows, Captain Ross and his crew regain control of the ship just enough to avoid a fatal crash, but they still end up landing pretty hard. (This crash landing sequence is realized by some pretty cheap special effects, you know the kind, the ‘space-ship-on-a-wire-flying-over-a-fake-forest’ type.)

It’s also funny to note that the space ship is shown flying right in front of some mountains yet the stock footage they chose (to add a sense of, er, reality to the scene) is of a flat forest!) Anyway, the crash land in some sort of body of water which looks just like somebody dropping a model ship into, well, a cheap movie set. I mean, this is some really cheap special effects.

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Huh? The incredible disappearing mountains!

Billions of miles away, on Cosmos 1, Admiral King and the others try to figure out what happened to Cosmos 3. King notes that it could have pretty much been anything…"Magnetic Fields. Cosmic Clouds [?]. Any number of things." Nobody ever said space travel was going to be easy! While King thoughtfully mulls over the situation, Commander Scott confirms that Cosmos 3 has indeed crash landed on one of the planets. King calls down to the Comm room and asks if there’s been any further contact with Cosmos 3. Regretfully, Karen reports that the only contact she has had is with the ship’s homing signal.

After King hangs up the intercom, Linda suddenly appears in the comm room (and I do mean suddenly. Nice editing!). Through some helpful exposition we learn that Cosmos 3 is the first ship King has ever lost (sooo…how many ships can you lose and still keep an Admiral’s rank?) The comm room crew continues to discuss whether or not the ship will turn back (didn’t we already learn that it was? What’s going on here?) when Bradley just happens to walk by and decides to pop in and flirt with the ladies (See Classic Dialog) (What 60’s sci-fi flick would be complete without a little chauvinism!)

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Lt. Bradley: Activator of the gravitators!

As Karen playfully attempts to be rid of the hound-dog engineer, he complains that he’s being treated like "a common Centarian". This of course pisses off Linda (and I can’t blame her. Once again, what is the relationship between these 2, er, species? They treat them like second-class citizen’s but they never make clear what the heck they are doing on the ship in the first place). Bradley apologizes and makes an embarrassed exit from the room, much to the crew’s (and my) relief.

Karen tries to reassure Linda that everything will be fine once they get back home, heck, she’ll even forget all about Centarians once she sees all the "young cadets" at the space academy. It turns out that Admiral King has taken the Centarians from the "space colonies" in order to be integrated into human society (gee…all 20 of them). Just as the scene gets really boring, they receive a message from Space Command. Karen takes the message and dutifully runs up to the flight deck to give it to men so they can make a decision (Good girl, Karen! Just give the message to the guys then go back downstairs to the comm room and talk about boys with the others girls.)

King finds that his request to turn around has been denied since Space Command feels that there probably wouldn’t be any survivors anyway. Deciding to ignore their orders, he turns the ship around. (Slurring his lines as usual: The line "Take us to Solaris" comes out more like "Take us to Shholarishh"!) Scott objects but King tells him that the people on that ship are still his responsibility and gives Scott a direct order to turn the ship. Scott complies and tells the assistant navigator, Sergeant Allen, to initiate a "horizontal maneuver" (Is there really a ‘horizontal’ direction in outer space?)

Down in the maneuvering room, Bradley is talking on the phone(!) when the order comes to change course. (He hangs up the phone by saying "…I’ll talk to you later, sugar!" Who the hell is he talking to?) His role as ship’s hound-dog reestablished, Harvey turns on the "horizontal activators". The new course, "1-7-5 degrees on horizontal plane" is programmed into the computer by flipping 4 switches (!), and the ship is on its way back to Solaris.

Scott calculates that they will have to fly full speed for 3 months before reaching Solaris, (oh boy! Won’t that be fun!) and Scott gives the command "Activate maneuver". (I think he probably meant "execute maneuver", but who knows…). We fade from the scene by seeing Farrell giving a concerned Linda a reassuring hug. (Good grief! Linda is everywhere!)

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetAt the crash site, the survivors from Cosmos 3 are making their way into the jungles, looking for a place to set up camp. (I personally would have stayed with the ship, but who am I?) I can’t really make out who survived the crash, let’s see…there’s the Comm Babe, Sally, a Centarian girl, some dude with a bandaged head, and another guy carrying him around.

They find a nice spot to camp for the night and fall exhausted to the ground. Centarian Girl (CG) goes to take a look at Sally’s wounded arm, but Sally angrily turns away because she hates Centarians and doesn’t want CG anywhere near her. (OK, I just found out the Centarian Girl is named Zenda, and that she is Jang’s sister). The guy who was carrying the wounded guy, I’ll have to call him Leader for now, tells Zenda that he doesn’t trust Centarians either, and Zenda walks sadly away.

Leader walks over to Sally and gives her a pain pill. Ok, I’m on a roll! We just found out his name is Chuck. Only one more to guy, Wounded Guy, but I bet he gets eaten by a monster soon, so I’m not too concerned about his name. Sally is mad at Chuck because he dumped her for another girl (?!) What? She is also a bit bummed because she thinks that Command Center (didn’t they just call it "Space Command?") won’t allow Admiral King to turn back and help them (and she is correct). She overacts a little more before putting her head down on a hunk of moss and going to sleep.

Chuck goes over to Zenda to try and patch things up, and to exposit some more information for us. He tells Zenda that she had better get some rest since they are going to try and walk to the foothills where they will be safer (cue actors to look off into the ‘distance’). Zenda believes that they could happily live on this planet even if Admiral King doesn’t come to help them, but only if they could "just trust each other". Zenda then walks off leaving Chuck to mull over this moral dilemma

Ok, now it’s nighttime and everybody is asleep around a campfire, except for Zenda who stares thoughtfully at the flames. (Didn’t Chuck tell you to get some sleep, woman!) She hears a noise in the darkness and wakes up Chuck just in time to be jumped by, gasp! Jang! Chuck gets his gun knocked out of his hands and he and Jang have a silly fist fight, while Zenda and Sally stand around making ‘worried’ faces. After watching the two men punch, batter, and choke each other for awhile, Zenda gets the bright idea of actually picking the gun up off the ground. She picks it up, aims at Jang (using that stereotypically ‘girly aim’ by holding it with both hands in front of her chest), and shoots her treacherous brother. (Man! And just when he was totally kicking Chuck’s ass) Understandably upset after shooting her own brother, Zenda drops the gun and falls into Chuck’s waiting arms, where he gives her a big, 1960’s manly hug.

Back on Cosmos 1, the ship is approaching the planet’s surface. They reach a stabile orbit 50 miles above the surface (accompanied by a very boring count-down sequence as they approach orbit altitude). Admiral King tells Dr. Farrell to join him on the observation deck (so that’s what that room is called, I thought it was the control room. My bad!). Farrell finishes up whatever it was he was doing before heading up (this task included Linda and her brother Jung, looking at X-ray plates…what a helpful species they are!) Jung has calculated that while they have been traveling for 3 months at relativistic speeds (or should I say, near "optic speed"), 18 years have passed on the planet due to relativity! Not too bad for a barbarian! Farrell condescendingly says, "You surprise me Jung! You’re advancing rapidly" (Gee, thanks, oh Superior White Human Man!)

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetBack up on the observation deck (Linda is there too of course!), the crew stares out the view port towards the planet. Karen wonders if the planet has ever been explored, to which Admiral King replies that it hasn’t, at least not according to the "galactic records". (Available at the galactic library, I suppose) While the men discuss the conditions on the planet, Karen and Linda stand to the side and give worried looks to each other (Good girls! Stay out of the way and let the men do the real work!). King slurs and struggles through his lines, really, it’s painful to watch sometimes. Despite the planet being a "botanous paradise" (Does he maybe mean a ‘botanical paradise’? I couldn’t even find ‘botanous’ in the dictionary, but never mind that…), they determine that the planet could sustain human life. Mmmmkay.

King points out the landing site where he wants the ship put down and the landing maneuver begins. With some not-so-funny banter from Bradley down in the maneuvering room, the ship successfully lands without incident. (Oh please! Let something exciting happen already!)

On the planet’s surface we suddenly see 5 of the crew members from Cosmos 1 roaming about the planet’s surface (Nice editing!) After a long day’s hiking, the men need to take a break. Dr. Farrell tells them to take one "oxygenine" table (or something). Let’s take a look at who is tagging along here: Dr. Farrell, Lt. Bradley, Chief, Navigator Scott, and, last but not least, Sergeant Allen…hmmm…I wonder who’s going to get killed first?

Allen asks Farrell what "old Jung" meant when he said that 18 years had passed on the planet while they were traveling here. (I wonder how he heard that since Jung said it when only Farrell and Linda were in the room. Ahhh, who knows.) Farrell takes this opportunity to exposit some more information for those of you who are interested in all this. (I do find relativity very interesting, however, the explanation put forth in the film "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" should not be taken as a serious reference source for Einstein’s theories of general and special relativity.)

Ok, I think it’s about time to see some monsters. Yup! They hear something creeping through the woods towards them. Oh lord. The horror! An iguana, I mean horrible dinosaur, approaches the men (This stunningly cheap scene is realized by using the tried and true ‘cut-to-stock-footage-of-a-lizard’ special effects trick!) Bradley pulls out his pistol and fires at the lizard which promptly disappears in a puff of smoke and sparks (!!), then reappears in the next scene completely on fire (you can see that a plastic model was used because it’s melting as the scene was shot! Oh! How I love these movies!)

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After this, um, horrifying attack, the crew decides to make a radio report to the ship. They set up a "beamer" (?)(make your BMW jokes yourself) and call to Cosmos 1 where Admiral King is waiting. Scott warns them not to leave the ship, because it’s simply too dangerous. Contacting the ship also gives Scott the opportunity to inform us that they are half-way to the crash site of Cosmos 3. The beamer successfully erected (whatever), the men continue on their way.

I really don’t understand why these men were picked for this mission, I mean, Bradley complains about being "volunteered" for this expedition to the crash site, so I can only assume that he was ordered to go. In addition to the chief engineer is the ship’s navigator, ship’s doctor, assistant engineer, and assistant navigator. They have essentially sent out the most important crew members on a life-threatening mission. Why not send out Ensign Jack and Ensign Joe? I remember that the crew in Star Trek often did the same thing: Find an unexplored planet and send the Captain, First Officer and Ship’s Doctor down to explore. It just makes no sense. Ok, wait a minute, this is "Women of the Prehistoric Planet", so never mind.

Back on Cosmos 1, Jung comes into the control room (er, observation deck, whatever) and tells King that Linda has left the ship to "breathe the fresh air…feel the warm sun…." King decides that he will go out and find her (!!), but is wisely talked out of this madness by Karen. He instead picks two crew members, Harris and Wilson, and tells them to go out and find Linda and that they better take a "laser rifle" with them just in case.

Women of the Prehistoric Planet

Harris and Wilson: Dinosaur bait!

After the dinosaur bait boys suit up and leave the ship, Admiral King gets a far off look in his face (even more than usual), and says he would never forgive himself if anything were to happen to Linda. He even notes that Linda is just like her mother, "Tender. Curious. Filled with childlike dreams of other worlds." Head hung low, he trudges from the observation deck leaving Karen and Jung alone. King’s departure gives Karen and Jung a chance to exposit some juicy tidbits for us. Karen wonders how King knows so much about Linda’s mother to which Jung slyly replies that when King was on the planet Centaur, he made (and I quote) "…many expedition into desert in those years." (Centarians have a funny habit of speaking in Chinese pigden English.) At this point the awake viewer should have figured out that Admiral King is Linda’s father. (Yuch!)

Meanwhile, Wilson and Harris are trudging through the jungle looking for Linda. We see Linda picking up her shoes from a rock but she doesn’t see a snake crawling down the side of the rock, nor does she see the wire tied to the snake! A stage hand pull’s the wire, launching the snake at Linda who screams on cue. At least it was a rubber snake, with completely different markings and colors than the snake shown crawling towards her before the attack. Wilson and Harris hear her cries and rush to help her. Linda however, was so terrified that she has fainted, but not before helpfully falling and rolling into a pool of water (full of floating boulders that bounce around when she falls into the water). Just as the snake is about to get her, we see somebody shoot it with a crossbow, pinning it to a tree (but not before the snake can change from a boa to a cobra!)

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Hmmm, I wonder if the person that shot the snake was one of the survivors from Cosmos 3? Gee, wouldn’t that be cool? Wouldn’t it? Well, whoever it is, he runs over, fishes her out of the water, and carries her away. Harris and Wilson rush over but just miss all the excitement. They do however find her boot, some footprints, and the snake stuck to the tree. For some unknown reason they decide to go back and report all this to the Admiral. (Why in the world they didn’t just follow the footprints!?)

While all this snake killing is taking place, Scott and the others are still stomping through the jungle looking for the Cosmos 3 crash site. They take another pause, which allows the corn-ball Bradley a chance to tell a some stupid jokes and stories (and really ham it up). (Oh please! Let’s get on with it!!!!) The idiotic comedy relief completed, the group moves on. (We needed comedy relief from the snake scene?)

A little IMDB research shows that the actor who plays Lt. Bradley, Paul Gilbert, had several appearances in "Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In" TV show in the 60’s and 70’s. This fact doesn’t surprise me because he sure loves to ham it up in this film whenever he gets a chance. (He also played the role of "Drunk" in a 1964 episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" called "My Mother Can Beat Up My Father"…so go figure.)

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetWe cut to the Centarian that rescued Linda, decked out in a fur cave-man suit, standing in front of his cave with a manly caveman pose. Inside is the still unconscious Linda (Man, she must really be scared of snakes!), laying naked under a leopard skin (!!) blanket. On a rock beside her is a little monkey doing little monkey things. (Oh no…I have a feeling it’s going to be doing cutsey monkey things all too soon.) Linda wakes up and the Centarian man tells her his name is Tang. Linda, realizing that they are both Centarian (well, duh! You both look Asian, don’t you?!), asks Tang how he got to the planet. He responds that this is his home planet, causing Linda to put the pieces together and realize that he must be a descendant from one of the survivors of Cosmos 3. Linda wants to meet his parents, to which he coldly replies that he will take her to them.

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetTang takes her deeper into the cave to a large room complete with a huge totem pole (!!). (Wow! That leopard skin dress really fits Linda pretty well! You spent a lot of time making dresses on those long, lonely, nights, eh, Tang?) Deeper in the room, Tang shows Linda his mother and father, who are frozen in blocks of ice (!). (The ice seems kind of strange since the entire area is full of palm trees…) Linda recognizes Tang’s father as Lt. Anderson from Cosmos 3! Linda asks Tang to help her find her way back to the ship so she can inform Admiral King, to which Tang happily agrees and off they go.

While this mini-drama plays out, Scott and the others have come across a bubbling pool of water, complete with a toppled log that serves as a bridge to the other side. (Good grief!) I also can’t help but notice that edge of the pool is only 2 feet to the left of them, so they could just walk around the damn thing! Scott takes a rope and tip-toes over the log bridge, tying the rope off on a convenient wobbly tree-trunk prop on the other side. Everybody makes it across except for Sergeant Allen. He of course slips, burns his foot in the boiling water, screams a bit, pulls his foot up, totters back and forth, and finally falls in.

Chief freaks out after seeing this horrible sight and needs to be slapped by Scott before he can regain his composure. (A slap which we can easily see miss his face from this camera angle…man, it’s not even close to his face…but anyway.)

The expedition party finally spots the wreckage of Cosmos 3 and Farrell and Scott go inside to investigate. They enter the ship via the smashed observation port and begin looking around, seeing plants, spider webs, and, gasp! a skeleton on the floor! Farrell goes out to fetch Bradley and Chief while Scott investigates some more and finds the ship’s log book on the floor.

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetI guess some time has passed because we now cut to a scene where Bradley is telling Farrell that all the members of the dead crew are accounted for. Bradley also notes that it’s odd how some of the hatches look like they were forced open, sort of like "someone else has searched through the ship". Ohhh! Spooky! Amazingly, Scott has gotten the flight recorder to work (backup batteries, dontcha know) and finds out that there were in fact 5 survivors! He pushes the "Exposit" button and we listen to a voice making the last log entry. We find out that their numbers had dwindled down to 3, and that he doesn’t expect anybody to survive much longer. Somehow Scott figures out that the survivors lasted 74 days. Whatever. The fact that they lasted 74 days is mentioned several times during the movie, leading the viewer to believe that this is significant. Don’t worry: It’s not.

Suddenly Chief starts screaming and comes staggering out of an adjoining corridor with a totally bogus giant spider on his back (of the species Giantus Rubberous Spiderous) . (Oh dear! And do I mean bogus!) He falls to the floor and Scott tells everyone to stand still because it’s a tarantula (gasp!) and nobody should make any quick moves! Scott takes a laser gun and positions himself behind a chair for a better shot. The spider, *ahem*, "sees him" and makes to jump. Well, you can see the wires pull up this ridiculous rubber spider which, like the iguana earlier, explodes in a huge cloud of smoke when it gets shot. I can’t over emphasize how corny this spider was. You can see it wobble and change directions in mid-air, for God’s sake!

With the spider dead, the others rush over to aid the Chief, but he is dead. Somehow Farrell ascertains that "he died more from shock than the poison" (?). Yup. That wraps up that scene. Scott, Bradley, and Farrell pull the tape out of the flight recorder and leave the ship. So long, Chief!

Back in Tang’s cavern, Tang has taken out his mother’s clothes from a cardboard box (!) and is showing them to Linda. While Linda changes out of the slinky leopard skin dress into something more comfortable, she starts quizzing Tang about the planet. Tang informs her that there are in fact others on the planet, "Savages that hate and kill! They do no want Tang to live in their country!" (Ooooo!) Linda comes out from the changing room (changing crevice?) now wearing one of Tang’s mother’s dresses. Soft, sickening violin music clues us in that romance is a bloom.

For some reason, out of the blue, Linda asks Tang who it was that undressed her when she was brought (unconscious) to the cavern. Tang confesses that he did, so Linda slaps him (!), and Tang slaps her back (!!). She falls to the ground, where he apologizes and they kiss. (Finally, now can we move on and see some more goofy monsters…please?)

Meanwhile, back on Cosmos 1, Admiral King listens to the ship’s log that Scott has brought back from Cosmos 3 (Wow! They got back pretty quick!) From listening to the tape, King believes that there may still be survivors, and not too far from their ship. (How the heck he figured this out, is not explained.) Based on Harris and Wilson’s report regarding the snake that was shot by an arrow, King is hoping that Linda is alive and maybe held captive by primitives. He decides to go out in the morning and find out, even if he has to go out by himself. Dismissing Scott and Farrell, he retires for the evening.

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetIn the crew’s quarters, I guess, Ensign Stevens puts on some music and starts dancing around by herself. Oh God! I knew it! In comes Bradley and starts dancing behind her, grabbing her and kissing her while she struggles to push him away. (They didn’t have sexual harassment laws back then, did they?) Karen walks in and chews them out for goofing around, at which time we find out that Bradley and Stevens have the hots for each other (Yuch!). Thankfully, this plot thread is never pursued.

In comes Admiral King, storming around and yelling at everybody. He wants to know why his field equipment isn’t ready, and starts yelling for Commander Scott and slurring "Why isn’t the shhurch party ready to leave?" Well, it turns out the rest of the crew have conspired to send out Scott, Farrell, and Harris by themselves in order to keep the Admiral in the ship and out of the danger. They use the old trick: "Well…those were your orders sir!"…"They were?"…"Yes sir!"…"Well, um…ok." (And this guy is an Admiral?)

Out in the jungle, Scott and the others are taking a break after looking around the water fall where Linda was first carried off by Tang. Finding no clues, they decide to head up to the cliffs to look around some more. Before they leave, Scott shows the others the arrow that was used to kill the snake. He deduces that it came from a Centarian crossbow and it is made of metal from the Cosmos 3 ship (don’t ask, let’s just get through with this). Well, Sherlock figures out that a Centarian must have survived the original crash 18 years ago. Scott also mistakenly believes that this arrow must belong to the Centarian that killed Ross during the mutiny on Cosmos 3. (Thus, of course, setting up the foundation for a confrontation when they eventually meet Tang.)

Meanwhile, Tang and Linda are frolicking around the jungle, picking flowers, and having a good old time. Soft, romantic music fills the air, as we watch them eat fruit, hold hands, and so on. Now the music changes to "funny" music as a chimp, another of Tang’s "pets", joins them and teaches Linda how to eat a banana. Ha ha ha ha! Well as the minutes tick away, they eat more fruit, lay around in the moss, and Tang even pulls out a flute and plays a song while the monkey dances. (Since Tang is shown wearing only a leather smock, I don’t want to know where he was keeping the flute!)

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetWomen of the Prehistoric Planet

Dance, monkey! I said DANCE!

Ok, ok, they start kissing while the monkey watches and itches itself (I’m not kidding). After they kiss, Linda says she wants to return to the ship because King and the others will be worried about her. Tang gets a little jealous, but Linda says not to be worried she still loves him (oh brother), then they fall in the water and start splashing around.

This is a really, long, boring scene.

Ok, now they kiss in the water. I GET IT ALREADY! THEY LOVE EACH OTHER!

Finally, Tang takes her up to a cliff and points out where the Cosmos 1 is sitting. Linda wants Tang to return with her to the ship, but he doesn’t want to, preferring to stay in the cave and this veritable ‘garden of Eden’ (ooops! Hope I didn’t give anything away there!) Suddenly come the savages, which look pretty much like Tang, except with beards and not so finely tailored bearskin clothes.

The cavemen half-heartedly throw some spears and chase Linda around while Tang does some kicks and punches. Pretty standard stuff here. Scott, Farrell, and Wilson hear Linda’s 1960’s-women-in-distress screams and come running. They take aim with their laser guns and pretty much blow the cavemen away. They also mistake Tang as one of the savages and shoot him too. Linda freaks out and has to be sedated. Tang runs off, with an arm wound, and Linda is carried back to the ship.

The next scene shows Farrell and King, back on the ship, discussing the whereabouts of Tang. They have sent Scott, Bradley, and Jung out to find him (Why? Would he be so important that they would send out the ships’s lead navigator and ship’s engineer to track down what they consider to be a savage? Why bother at all? Why not just send Wilson, Harris, or one of the other ‘expendables’?)

Women of the Prehistoric PlanetThe ship rumbles around a bit and Admiral King declares that a volcano is going to erupt soon. (Admiral King, volcanologist!) Scott and the others are called back to the ship while stock footage shows a volcano erupting. King declares that they are to take off immediately while Linda shouts that she hates them all for what they did to Tang. As they are preparing for take-off, Linda runs out of the ship, frantically followed by Admiral King and Scott, while the camera shakes and shudders and ‘eruption’ noises are played on the sound track.

After losing sight of Linda, King loses hope and sadly admits to Scott that Linda is his daughter. We cut to some stock footage of flowing lava and more scenes of volcanoes erupting. We then cut back to see Scott carrying away an unconscious (!) Admiral King. The ship takes off as the volcano stops erupting (funny how they can just start and stop like that). Linda, left alone on the planet’s surface, desperately calls out for Tang, eventually giving up hope and sitting sadly by the pool of water where she was first rescued. Just then Tang sees her and jumps down for a joyful reunion, filled with more kissing and hugging.

As the ship lifts off from the surface, Farrell spots Linda on some sort of view scope and announces that Linda and Tang are alive and well on the planet’s surface. King decides not to go back, rather, he decides to let Linda live on the planet with Tang, where she is happy. Tang and Linda watch from a cliff top as the ship returns to outer space.

With one final log entry to make, Admiral King proclaims that this little blue planet will from hence forth be called….are you ready….are you sure….

Planet Earth.

The End.

Dennis Grisbeck (Mar 2005)

Afterthoughts

Let’s take a second to look at the tagline again:
It’s the battle of the sexes as savage planet women attack female space invaders!

This tagline is so utterly misleading it really angers me. First of all, what savage planet women? Second of all what battle of the sexes? Third, what the hell are they thinking here? I know that taglines are meant to draw the audience into the theater, but to outright lie?

The special effects in this movie were hilariously hokey and cheap. I think I have to cautiously recommend this movie just to see the hopping giant spider.

The romance between Linda and Tang was pretty boring to watch. How many minutes can somebody watch two people frolic around a cheap, and I mean cheap, movie set. And what’s the deal with Tang dressing up Linda in one of his dead mother’s skimpy dresses? I think that dude has some real issues to deal with! (And where the heck does he keep that flute?!)

So the human race doesn’t descend from Adam and Eve, but from "Tang and Linda"? It just doesn’t sound right…"In the beginning, God created Tang!"

It is never made clear what exactly the relationship between the humans and the Centarians is. Ok, I know the movie isn’t called "Women of the Prehistoric Planet: A Contemporary Introspective Study of Human – Centarian Relationships", but hey, how about giving us just a clue. Some humans hate them, most distrust them, and all of them seem to treat them as second-class citizens. Why?

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6 comments to Women of the Prehistoric Planet (1966)

  • Tim Young

    I saw this film when it was first released on a double bill with “Navy vs the Night Monsters”. You don’t have to look too carefully to notice that both films used the same exterior sets. Cheesy film lover’s delights!

  • Peter

    Hi,

    For the author or anyone else who may read this and who are experts on fantasy pre-historic films, maybe could answer my question.

    When I was a kid, I remember watching a fantasy pre-historic film, I remember only one scene from it and also it had no dialogue, could be made by Italian director, under US production.

    Anyways, what I remember from that scene was that the lead cavemen of the tribe, for some reason had the women lined up, all in their fur bikini outfit (maybe to chose his “wife” or who to have sex with), he then checked (peeking under the bottom part of their fur bikini) each of the women’s bottom part.

    Does anyone know this film? It’s just that this scene has been stuck in my memory for so long. Movies are my passion!

    I’m not expecting the answer anytime soon, but if someone or the author of this review knows the answer!

  • guts3d

    They find that the ship is near a new star called “Solaris” which is “a dangerous area to go off course”

    Nice review, albeit a sucker punch ending.

  • Chandler Boykin

    I got the mst3k version of this movie a couple weeks ago; definitely some Star Trek like elements in here…

  • I just with Agar could have hammed it a bit more; he just seemed so…tired.

  • le-idiot

    Peter:

    It wasn’t a movie. It was your Junior Prom and the selection of Prom Queen. You thought it was an Italian production because of the excessive use of fur. Hopefully, no animals died in the production of your Prom Nite.

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