I really didn't have high hopes for Prehistoric Women (1967) on the outset, but I never one to shy away from the potential goodness to be had in a film with fur-lined, bikini clad, prehistoric women, so I decided to give it a try. Then I saw the opening credits...produced, written and directed by Michael Carerras?! This is the man responsible for other Hammer Studios bum rides as The Lost Continent (1968) and Shatter (1974). It might as well have said 'Abandon all hope ye who enter here...' Oh well, bring on the pain...
The film stars Michael Latimer as David, a hunter with a conscious, and one who guides less experienced hunters through the jungle in search of big game. After his current client wounds a jungle cat, David tracks it to put it out of its' misery, and finds himself trespassing on sacred land, the Land of the White Rhino. Apparently hunting on these lands by outsiders is forbidden, and after David kills the cat, he's quickly accosted by a group of natives. The penalty? Death...but before the sentence can be carried out, something happens, and David finds himself transported to another land, maybe even another time...the time of the prehistoric women!
After coming across a fair-hair girl in a fur bikini, David and the girl, named Saria (Edina Roney), they're both captured by a group of dark haired women, also in fur bikinis. The two are taken to a populated clearing, and here we meet Kari, played by Martine Beswick. Kari also sports the same type of wardrobe as the other women, but she has more adornments, suggesting she might be higher up in the social food chain. And she is, as we soon learn that she is the queen. So Kari is the queen, the dark haired women are her power base, and the blonde haired women are slaves. Well, that certainly makes things easy to keep track of...but where are the men? A case of spontaneous female population? And all lovely ones at that?
Kari, taken with David, decides to take him for herself, but David has already made a connection with Saria, and, after witnessing Kari's cruelty towards the blonde hair slaves, he's not inclined to fall in with her, refusing to become a willing slave himself. This angers Kari, and she orders him to be thrown in a cave. Within the cave we see chained men slaving away doing busy work, all looking much worse for wear. It was around this time I started getting an ache in my head...
So what happens? Well there is a plot thread dealing with the blonde haired women speaking of rebelling against the tyrant Kari and her group, another plot thread involving the marrying of slave girls to jungle demons as a sort of sacrifice to appease the demons, and yet another dealing with a legend of the white rhino linked with spiritual bondage, none of which made very much sense. There is plenty of dancing and jungle music throughout the film, both men and women, so if that's your thing, you be pleased. It's not my thing, and I got even more of an ache in my head.
The film finally begins to wrap up after awhile (it has a 90 minute running time) and we are treated to a somewhat exciting climatic battle royal involving the brunettes, the blondes, the male slaves, David, supposedly demon jungle spirits...and a white rhinoceros...criminey...I guess if you have really lame and inane plot threads running throughout your movie, it's best to keep throwing different elements at the audience, in hopes that they won't notice how little sense it all makes. It reminds me of a magician, drawing your attention to one hand while doing something with his other hand. Only problem here is both hands, figuratively speaking, contained steaming piles so drawing our attention any which way only further highlighted how lame an affair this really is...oh, I will say the women were nice to look at, but given they were supposed to be of the prehistoric kind, they seemed to be awfully well groomed, despite the obvious lack of personal hygiene products. They also had quite the excellent grasp of English, some even having English accents! So, does David escape this savage land, ruled by half nekkid women? Would he want to? What's the secret behind the legend of the white rhino? Honestly, I stopped caring about much of anything regarding this film long before it this point, but I always try to finish what I start, so I clung on until the bitter end. And it did end, with a twist that was so very obvious and contrived I literally groaned.
Anchor Bay Entertainment provides a good looking, wide screen print here along with a few nice extras. Included is a theatrical trailer, TV spots, and a World of Hammer episode titled Lands Before Time, highlighting some of Hammer's cinematic forays into times long since past. There is also a nice little reproduction of the original theatrical poster for the film inside the DVD case. I'll leave you with a nugget of goodness from the film...after killing a slave girl, Queen Kari commands the other slave girls to dance, to which one replies, "When the heart is heavy, the feet are not light."