At The Earth’s Core (Review)
Release Date (UK DVD) – 30th July 2012
Certificate (UK DVD) – PG
Country – UK
Runtime – 87 mins
Director – Kevin Connor
Starring – Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant
Continuing our look at StudioCanal’s re-release on DVD of four titles to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Amicus Productions. As a follow-up to The Land that Time Forgot, producer John Dark and director Kevin Connor chose another Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation, At the Earth’s Core. Peter Cushing joins Doug McClure as Victorian explorers making a journey to the centre of the earth.
Eccentric Victorian scientist Dr Abner Perry (Cushing) has invented a machine that can burrow through the Earth. During a test run on ‘The Iron Mole’ with his American financial backer David Innes (McClure), Perry loses control of the machine and they end up in an underworld kingdom known as Pellucidar. They discover a group of enslaved stone-age humans, including Dia (Munro) and Ra (Grant), who are ruled over by giant telepathic flying reptiles called Mahars. David decides to help free his new friends from their evil captors.
At the Earth’s Core is admittedly not one of Amicus’s best films. A great deal cheesier than The Land that Time Forgot, it has dated even more thanks to it’s laughable ‘man in rubber suit’ monsters. Less effective than that earlier film’s dinosaur puppets, it becomes hard to take any of this particularly seriously. The lowest point is an early scene that has a prehistoric creature pick up one of the humans and wave it around in it’s mouth. The model of the man is so poor and obviously fake that the only response is to laugh, though I suspect the film-makers wanted audiences to be shocked by it. Not helping is the far-fetched and daft plot, with it’s underground kingdom and telepathic flying bad guys, though I guess we can blame Burroughs for that.