It is simply a visual treat, and the amount of imagination apparent in every aspect of its design is a joy to behold, with a story that is solid and economical enough in its construction to easily survive instances of ideological lip service.
Female Prisoner #701 is a thrilling piece of exploitation cinema, as well as a challenging work of visual artistry. But, as great as it is, it merely set the stage for what was to come.
But then, Fanck goes and does something like the shot of Johannes outside, smoking a cigarette while sitting on an old wooden fence with the whole of the Alps spreading out behind him, and it pulls you right back in. Silent films trade in images, by necessity, and Fanck manages on many occasions to capture scenes of iconic beauty.
The Pinky Violence films of Norifumi Suzuki represent one extreme of the tendency of Japanese exploitation films of the seventies to combine a very high level of craftsmanship with an unflinching preoccupation with human behavior at its most sleazy and mysteriously perverse.
That it never received a theatrical release in America is a no-brainer; distributors would undoubtedly have hit a mental logjam trying to market a movie that looks on the surface like a family film but plays out like an angst-ridden version of The Aristocats as imagined by Eli Roth.
I wouldn’t claim The Mighty Gorga is an enjoyable viewing experience, but I found it fascinating never the less, for the same reasons I’m fascinated with films like Death Curse of Tartu or whatever weird stuff Doris Wishman was cranking out at the time.
In retrospect The Land that Time Forgot would have been a poetic place for Amicus to end — with volcano erupting, boat sinking, and its stars facing a seemingly hopeless situation. Instead, they decided to show us the aftermath of the collapse, and give us Milton Reid in a skimpier outfit than Sarah Douglas.
It looks beautiful, the actors and the characters that they play are incredibly appealing, the action is wonderfully staged and literally non-stop, and the atmosphere is so rich with romance and intrigue that it’s enough to send you into a ninety minute swoon.
Sadhana would get her wish and be remembered as a heroine, even though the most indelible image to be taken away from the film might not be so much one of her heroic exploits as it would be her being whipped while wearing a white mini and go-go boots by a guy who looks like a Village People version of a medieval blacksmith.
If the world was just and kind, then the sentence, ‘It’s a movie where Vincent Price stars as a madman who rules over an underwater society of fishmen prone to kidnapping scantily clad beautiful women,’ would indicate the existence of probably one of the greatest films ever made.
There’s just something about the combination of the Western genre’s Spartan, rough-hewn aesthetic with Bollywood’s tendency toward the exuberant and phantasmagorical that I find hard to resist. If you want to join me in this new obsession, Kaala Sona is certainly a good place to start.
Aside from plenty of fun dinosaur and caveman adventure, The Land that Time Forgot offers up really one of the most downbeat and apocalyptic endings of any movie aimed at kids.