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Don Jackson on the set of Lingerie Kickb

Prehistoric Women, journey to

This review is all about a giant game of make-believe-come-true, which you can access if you click your fingers together three times and say "There's no Corman like Roger, There's no Corman like Roger, There's no Corman like Roger."

Okay, so -- here goes.

Imagine you're Roger Corman, producer of low-budget films, and incubator of half of Hollywood (seriously -- it can be hard to find someone who has never worked on a Corman-related film). You also hate to spend money on something and not get as much use out of it as possible.

You have managed to acquire the special effects sequences from a Russian sci-fi movie called Planeta Bur. It involves cosmonauts wandering the surface of Venus and encountering things there. Also some shots of their rocketships in space, and so on. The Red Star is there, but nothing in Cyrillic, so you can probably get away with using it in one of your own movies. If you translate the film in its entirety and release it under the English translation of its name, turn to Section Eight. If this sounds too expensive for you, continue reading.

Since you don't feel like spending money this year if you don't have to, you redub the cosmonauts into astronauts and shoot some additional footage involving an orbiting space station. You release the film as Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, and it makes money. You have the nagging feeling, however, that you can get more money out of it. If you choose to ignore the nagging feeling and move on to your next project, turn to Chapter Seven-Eleven. If you want to try to recoup more of that investment, just keep on reading.

Not content with the return on investment from the Planeta Bur footage, you hire a young director named Peter Bogdanovich to record a narrative voiceover as well as direct a bunch of new footage of Mamie Van Doren and other attractive women swimming underwater and lounging around in seashell bikinis. This becomes Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (no relation to Women of the Prehistoric Planet, of course). If you want to know more about the career of Harold P Warren, turn to the back of the book and excuse yourself from class. If you want to hear about Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, just keep reading. That was too much set-up work for me not to tell you about it.

The film (as narrated by the director) starts out quickly. The first Venus mission is destroyed by a paper cutout of a meteor. Six months later, the second Venus mission (two guys and a robot) lands, and all contact is lost. The third Venus mission (three guys, one of whom is our narrator) is scrambled, and they set off immediately.

Now, in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, there was a love interest character who worked on the aforementioned orbiting spaceship. Her character's name was Marsha, and she was played, in a Smithee-losing performance, by Faith Domergue. Since they didn't re-dub the astronaut dialogue, how do they deal with the references to Marsha? Easily, as it turns out.

Marsha is the name of the NASA Project to send men to Venus, you see. Just like sailing ships or Queens of England, NASA Projects are female, so they can refer to their mission as "she."

The second Venus mission (men + robot) heads for safety. The third Venus mission touches down elsewhere on the planet (why don't they land nearer the spot where the first one went down? I don't know!) and tries to raise the others on the radio.

Meanwhile, Venusian women sunbathe. They eat fish. They swim. They worship their God, the terrible flying pterodactyl-looking thing (which you might remember from a past Smithees if you saw the Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet clips).

The second mission is in a bad way, so they hole up in a cave. Then the men pass out. The robot is able to get hold of the third mission via radio, and the mission leader explains to him how to keep them alive long enough to be rescued (involving a pill, some water, and replacing that helmet darn quickly).

The third mission speeds off. On their way, they're attacked by the Venusian women's God. They kill it. It damages them enough that they need to go underwater and continue onward. They poke around at (i.e. defile) the temple to the Venusian women's God.

The Venusian women watch them do this. Then the God's corpse washes up on shore. Ruh-roh! The women all gather around a cairn and chant (telepathically) "fire! fire! fire! fire!" This makes a volcano erupt (I think).

The men of the second mission are just reviving when the volcano eruption sends them out of their cave. They try to escape, but are cut off by a lava flow. The robot tries to carry them across the lava, but becomes damaged.

At about this time, the third mission finally shows up and rescues the guys, but it's too late for the robot. Everyone is sad because the robot did a good job but they can't save it. Then they go back to the spaceship.

They intend to stick around and check for lifeforms (that's right -- through all this they never see the Venusian women), but all that volcanic activity has made it too dangerous (geologically-speaking) for the landing craft to stick around. They pretty much need to blast off immediately. They do so -- back to earth and safety at last.

The Venusian women see this, and get mad at their God. The interlopers escaped! They rip down his statue. Then they discover that a new God has washed up on the beach. It's the corroded robot! They set him up and start to worship him.

Music swells. The waves of Venus pound against its beaches. The narrator laments never getting back to Venus to seek out the woman that he just knew was hiding there somewhere. The End.

Apropos of nothing, I think that Dario Argento is the film director who has the hottest daughter (important worksafety tip ... don't Google Image Search "Asia Argento" at work -- this is why you have no link but imdb).