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DVD Review

DVD cover

At the Earth's Core (1976)


Starring: Peter Cushing, Doug McClure and Caroline Munro
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Available 30 July 2012

A Victorian scientist Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing) and his American backer David Innes (Doug McClure) test their earth boring machine on a Welsh mountain. The machine malfunctions and they find themselves in a huge cavern at the centre of the Earth populated by humans enslaved by pig-like drone guards who are controlled by Mahars - prehistoric parrot-like birds with extra sensory abilities. David falls for the beautiful slave girl Princess Dia (Caroline Munro), but when she is chosen to be a sacrifice to the Mahar he embarks on a quest to help the humans overthrow their captors...

This film is based on the first of the Pellucidar novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs and is certainly a classic cult movie of the mid 1970’s. Playing a bumbling character (reminiscent of his film portrayal of Dr. Who) Peter Cushing and an over-heroic Doug McClure battle their way through subterranean caverns encountering absurd hybrid prehistoric monsters the most memorable of which is a giant fire breathing frog. Fortunately the human captives speak English and Princess Dia clearly has access to top quality make-up.

The atmospheric music of Mike Vickers (a member of '60s band Manfred Mann) is well suited to the action if a little overpowering at times and the screenplay, adapted from the original Rice Burroughs novel by Milton Subotsky, contains all that is expected of an adventure yarn including Cushing’s memorable line "You cannot mesmerise me! I'm British!"

This said I must admit to having been brought up on this type of movie and still retain a fondness for the rubber suited monsters and wobbly sets so typical of this and other classics in much the same way that I remember early Doctor Who and Star Trek episodes with their simple special effects. All fans of this genre should have a copy on their shelf.


Tim Williams

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