The trailer for this film ungrammatically announces "Not
since the dawn of creation . . . a sight like this!" The
grim narrative voice asks, " Could man have survived in the
dinosaur age of mighty monsters? . . . Shudder at history's most
ferocious killer, Tyrannosaurus Rex. . . . Huge carnivorous man-eating
plants. . . !"
presents. 79 minutes.
Commander Alan Roberts: Jock Mahoney
Margaret "Maggie" Hathaway: Shawn Smith
Lt. Jack Harmon: William Reynolds
Dr. Carl Hunter: Henry Brandon
Also, Douglas R. Kennedy, Phil Harvey.
Directed: Virgil Vogel
Produced: William Alland
Story: Charles Palmer
Screenplay: Laszlo Gorog
Special Effects: Roswell A. Hoffman
Music: Joseph Gershenson
In Washington D.C., a navy mapping mission of Antarctica is being
discussed. Previous expeditions to the South Pole have noted
a body of warm water surrounded by ice. Hmm. Maybe Uranium!
Reporter Margaret Hathaway turns heads and
is introduced to Commander Alan Roberts, a geophysicist, and Lieutenant
Jack Harmon, schmuck. We all hunker down to an Admiral Byrd film
from 1947, about "penetrating barriers" in "Nature's
great deep-freeze." Cut to months later when the expedition
is underway with stock footage of ships. Alan and Miss Hathaway
listen to Alan discuss diesel engines and women's chemical components
as the ship unsymbolically plows through the ice. When the ship
has gone as far as possible, Maggie, Alan, Jack (as pilot), and
mechanic Steve helicopter over seals and penguins which Alan feels
compelled to identify by sex. They get caught in a storm and
"Helicopter X-3" drops, oddly a few thousand feet below
sea level, as the temperature increases. But it's the humidity
No one dies as the helicopter bumps down.
Al and Mag wander aimlessly in the fog. Everyone sweats. A tentacled
plant nearly grabs Maggie, but Alan calls her over to see volcanic
activity (bubbling mud). Steve busts a bent push-pull thing from
the helicopter when trying to straighten it.
The next morning, a roar awakens the camp.
Speculation: "Climatic change, one of the main causes of
evolution, doesn't exist here." And come to think of it,
the place is strangely Mesozoic. Maggie wonders about animal
life. Steve gets a drink and sees the remains of a "flying
lizard." They all witness monitor lizards fighting (or possibly
mating). Then a Tyrannosaurus appears (rubber-suited, roaring,
and enormous) and Jack shoot at it futilely. They run to the
helicopter and let the blades defend them. An odd sound turns
the dino's attention and it leaves.
It appears their camp was visited. Maggie:
"What could be worse than that thing that attacked us?"
"Just people, Maggie; just plain folks." They still
have 25 days before the ship will have to leave Antarctica. Maggie:
"That's just about how long my clothes are going to last."
One of them dubs the place "Hell's Chimney" but never
refers to this again. They examine a pre-monkey mammal: "homo
Maggie is chased by a lizard and captured by
a human arm. The others discover human tracks, but Maggie has
been rafted away to a cave. A grungy-looking guy offers, "Here.
Drink." Maggie: "You're one of us! . . . That's our
food!" "It's mine. The whole valley's mine. Everything
in it belongs to me, including you." He says the others
are dead: "one of the beasts did it for me." He claims
to have been in the valley 10 years, and Maggie wonders how he
survived. "Not on charity or pity. . . . I survived because
I'm the fittest to survive, because I've learned to kill
He smashes dino eggs and controls the adults with sound by blowing
a shell. The creatures kill when they're hungry, "but I
plan murder ahead."
The others discover the cave and accuse Hunter,
"You're out of your mind." Hunter: "Don't say
that." They mollify him: the "ability to survive in
such a place proves your superior intellect." Hunter is
the only survivor of a 1945 expedition which crashed also. With
the right piece from the wreckage, the helicopter could be repaired,
but Hunter says the three men must leave and the woman is to stay.
The men decide to try to find the wreck without him. Hunter
goes back to smashing eggs and blowing his horn.
After being threatened by the T-Rex and the
carnivorous plant again, Maggie decides to join Hunter to save
the others. She sneaks off to an inflatable raft, but is attacked
by a plesiosaur. Hunter, out on the river with torches, hurls
them into the surprisingly flammable dino-mouth. Hunter takes
an unconscious Maggie with him.
Back in the cave, Steve and Hunter fight.
Steve wants to torture Hunter to make him tell where the wreckage
is. But the others arrive and Alan says sensitively, "We're
not going to dig our way outta here through human flesh."
They help Hunter, who out of respect gives them a map to find
the wreck; he just wants to be left alone. Alan: "It's true
that you can't live among beasts without becoming one," but
so too is the company of humans humanizing. The three men discover
three graves and the wreckage. When repairing the helicopter,
Maggie starts to leave the cave but the plesiosaur appears at
At a climactic, harrowing lift-off, the Tyrannosaur
looms, but the men escape. Maggie and Hunter are on a raft, so
they send down a rope for her. The plesiosaur appears again,
has learned to dive underwater to put out its flaming mouth and
now to overturn Hunter's raft. Its flipper bashes Hunter, but
the helicopter sends a flare into the creature's mouth and Hunter
is rescued from the water.
Pilot Jack manages to crash the copter again,
this time near enough to the ship for all to be rescued immediately.
Aboard, Alan and Maggie discuss the possiblity of another expedition
next year, but there are coy hints that it would be a honeymoon.
But who would stay home with the baby? "Baby?" Maggie:
"Why, by this time next year. . . !" The End.
Aside from the sickening attempt at romance between two characters
who have a much "chemistry" as water and a brick, the
film is surprisingly good, at least among its ilk (e.g., Lost
Continent, King Dinosaur, etc.). The Rex, though lumbering, is
enormous and disturbing. Hunter's psychology is sufficiently
intriguing, and he's got a kind of Ahab / Moby Dick thing going
on with his nemesis the plesiosaur. And best of all, flammable
dinosaur mouths! (See my Dino-Dragon