Sunday, September 19, 2021

THE LOST CONTINENT (Michael Carreras, 1968)

 

This may be the most aptly named Hammer creation since the titular continent is so lost it never appears in the film! Michael Carreras’ clumsy direction and dull screenplay involves a wayward group of monotone characters who have booked passage on a rusty steamship, fleeing from one place to get to another (the cities don’t really matter).

The first scene is interesting even after the awful melatonin-esque Mellotron of the opening credits as a contemporary ship’s Captain and his strange crew of anachronisms perform a sea-burial. As the body splashes to its final rest we hear the Captain’s interior monologue “How did we get here?” The next hour is monotonous as we flash backwards in time as the Corita and its owner Captain Lansing navigate the storm generated by his crew of social misfits and pariahs. There is drinking, sexual misadventure, familial strife, stolen bonds, a bounty hunter and more drinking as the ship begins to fall apart at the seams. Oh, and Cpt. Lansing’s secretive cargo of white phosphorous which has the annoying habit of exploding when it gets wet. Then hurricane Wendy is ignored, then not ignored and kind of happens but we don’t really get to see it. They abandon ship because of a breach in the hull and fear the cargo will be compromised so into a lifeboat (one was already used when some of the crew mutinied: they are never heard from again in the story) to survive the aforementioned hurricane. Which they do, somehow. Then adrift at sea amid rubber-finned sharks who eat a passenger whose daughter then gets the hots for the guy who punched him overboard. Fucking crazy, right? What’s even crazier is the lifeboat finally drifts into violent seaweed and soon bumps back into the Corita; even the bartender is still onboard!

Soon a rubber Kraken attacks the bounty hunter and indecently assaults the nymphomaniac yet she survives with obviously grievous injury which is never mentioned again. Actually we see her later in the film as if nothing ever happened, fully healthy and without traumatic psychological impact. Then a buxom women with balloons tied to her shoulders wearing inflatable shoes takes refuge on the ship and a gun battle ensues against Spanish Conquistadors. Lamenting her friends and the need to return to her colony, you’d think the story would somehow involve this plot point...but you’d be wrong. Instead she leaves and is followed by three crew members and the four of them rest upon a tiny island which is inhabited by a giant rubber and foam crab and scorpion that end up battling each other while our protagonists are captured by the evil Spaniards whose Klan-like leader sports the white dunce-cap and spouts supremacist polemic. Damn, that was a long sentence.

Now our group is captured and taken to an ancient 19th century vessel haunted by descendants of the original crew. Cut to: Cpt. Lansing pummeling his Spanish prisoner for information. Cut back to: our group of four being threatened with death in the Sarlacc Pit and suddenly rescued by Cpt. Lansing and his gang. WTF? How did this happen? In what reality did he have enough time to get his crew together, build a raft with catapult and load twenty barrels of explosives onto said raft? Consider my disbelief unsuspended. I can live with rubber monsters, I can even accept that the flesh-eating seaweed which can crawl up the side of a ship doesn’t grab ankles when trod upon, I even like the mediocre SPFX and miniatures but now you’re messing with physics of time motherfuckers.

This review makes the film sound more exciting than it actually is, I’m afraid. There is just too much filler with dialogues between meaningless characters. 

Final Grade: (C-)