October 2006

Cave Dwellers

Cave Dwellers

Nothing, nothing nothing is worse than a bad Italian movie, except a bad Italian SF movie …Howard Waldrop

In 1984, Z-movie film director Joe D’Amato — the “Ed Wood of Italy” — released Ator l’invincible 2, which was totally not a cynical attempt to cash in on the Conan franchise. It’s better known to us as Cave Dwellers, which is the name it was released to U.S. TV in 1990 — and, more importantly, the name under which it was deservedly lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000. An incoherent mishmash of clips stolen from other movies and sloppy anachronisms, this film is not safe to watch without wiseacre robot silhouettes. Fortunately it does not seem to be available any other way.

Anyway, along the way Ator, his Asian sidekick and be-breastplated girl warrior find themselves in a temple where innocents are being sacrificed to a giant snake. (See? Nothing like Conan the Barbarian!) The serpent god itself is a foam rubber monstrosity that is only filmed in dim light, but it’s more risible than the snake Conan dispatches, if that’s even possible. But in the giant snake’s pit there are other snakes scattered about — Burmese and Reticulated Pythons (Python molurus bivittatus and P. reticulatus), which is about what you’d expect: big, Old World snakes would be the best choice, and retics are the only snakes that have been recorded to have eaten people before. Not those little specimens, though. Given D’Amato’s propensity to steal footage from other movies, I’m not sure whether he should get credit for it.

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