Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Let's all go back! Way back! Back to the caveman days!"

Well, Ida Sue went to visit some relatives in the deep dark Ozarks. She said that we needed some "alone time." Whatever. She also told me that she will not put up with a man who watches creepy crawly critter flicks. Might be time to cut her loose. Too bad. Those toes just do something for me. To console myself, I decided against my trusty DVD collection and vowed to watch the worst thing I could find on TV. But after 15 minutes, even I couldn't take any more American Idol. So I started hunting for b-movies. Sure enough I found just what I was after on Adelphia's Midnight Movie.

The Last Dinosaur

This is a Japanese / American movie, I really have no idea which companies were involved, nor do I care. 1977, 95 minutes, PG.

actors: Richard Boone, Joan Van Ark, Steven Keats, Luther Rackley, Tetsu Nakamura, Masumi Sekiya.

directors: Alexander Grasshoff, Shusei Kotani.

Taxonomy: International guys in rubber monster suits flick.


An aging big game hunter and oil billionaire and crew encounter dinos in a lost world - and try to kill them.

Bluntly: For hard core bad movie freaks and Knots Landing fans only.

Thrust, Masten Thrust
Oh man, this film could only have been made in the 70's! Okay, the main character in this fine piece of multinational film making is a guy named Masten Thrust (Richard Boone). Yes, that is his name! Is too! Mr. Thrust (Great name for a porno star, eh?) is the last of the great white big-game hunters. He also owns an oil company and may just be the richest man on Earth. We learn all of this during the opening montage where Thrust's girly girl is browsing through his scrapbook! Yep, an ultra macho big-game hunter and oil billionaire keeps a scrapbook. Guess he's just an old softy at heart. One of the folks responsible for making the fake newspaper articles that appear in the scrapbook must have been a Hunter Thompson fan because one of the headlines reads, "Fear and Loathing in Africa"!

Next day, old softy Thrust (snicker) dumps the bimbo and gives her a solid gold rifle cartridge as a keepsake. Classy. Then we learn that Thrust's arctic oil exploration team have made an incredible discovery. Using a manned laser polar borer - kind of a combo drill and submarine - they have found a lost world under the arctic ice. It could happen! But that's not all! There are dinosaurs living in this lost world, including a Tyrannosaurus rex who ate every member of the team except the Polar Borer pilot Chuck Wade (Steven Keats). This weekend at The Kit Kat Klub Masten Thrust and the Polar Borers! Sorry. Anyway, Thrust announces that he is going to go and explore the lost world.

Also going on the journey will be Chuck Wade, cause he knows the way, Dr. Kawamoto (Tetsu Nakamura) a paleontologist to study the flora and fauna, Francesca Bands (Joan Van Ark) a pretty blond reporter and photographer who is going along because she did the nasty with Thrust who was originally opposed to her being on the team, and finally Thrust's trusty Masai guide Bunta (Luther Rackley). We know Bunta is a Masai because he is a tall solemn black man with a spear. Yes a spear. Don't be so closed minded! Just because the only black guy in the flick has a spear that don't mean it is a racial stereotype! He just really likes his spear, so he takes it everywhere he goes. You never know when you may need to chuck a spear now do you?
So, they all ride the polar borer down to the lost world. Everybody wears flight suits and helmets, except Thrust who wears his usual safari outfit and vastly too big sunglasses. He's the boss, I guess he can do whatever he wants. Once they reach the lost world Francesca - who everybody calls Frankie - is shocked that Thrust brought guns. They are just supposed to explore and study, why do they need guns? Yeah, Frankie is a bit on the dim side. Which she proves by nearly getting trampled by what Dr. Kawamoto describes as a "ceratopsian." What it really is is two guys in a rubber suit. And the thing is freaking huge! Much bigger than a real dino of that type. That is a common mistake in this flick, all of the dinos are closer to the size of office buildings than dinosaurs.

Of course there are cavemen in this lost world as well as dinos. No mammoths, no cave bears, no sabretoothed tigers, just dinos and cavemen. Japanese cavemen. Oy!
Well, it don't take long for old Rexy to show up! And what a specimen he is! They state that the T. rex is 20 feet tall, but this thing is 50 feet tall if he's an inch! Amazingly, despite the fact that the ground shakes when he walks and we hear loud thuds whenever his feet touch the ground, Rexy manages to sneak up on two different characters! Once Bunta climbs a tree to scout out the big toothy critter and - TAA DAA! - Rexy pops up right behind him! The second time, Rexy tiptoes his way up behind Dr. Kawamoto while the good doctor is intently studying a mushroom, and steps on him! Then Rexy destroys the team's camp and kicks the polar borer out of the lagoon and up a hill. Rexy tries to bury the polar borer and digs up a Triceratops that sounds a lot like Godzilla! Rexy and the 'tops have a nice bloody fight, during which the guy in the Triceratops suit tries not to let his knees touch the ground. Rexy wins the fight and wanders off.

Well, the group comes across Rexy again and Thrust's gun jams and is smashed. Bunta chucks his spear at Rexy from about 20 yards away and hits! But Rexy ain't impressed. They all wisely flee. The Japanese cavemen find Bunta's spear. Hmmm...

Upon discovering the trashed camp and squished Dr. Kawamoto, Thrust swears vengeance. The T. rex must die! When it is pointed out to Thrust that he has no weapons that could hurt the T. rex, Thrust screams, "Then I'll make one!" Thrust screams a lot in this flick. Frankie does not cry over the death of Dr. Kawamoto, but she does cry when she realizes that they can not go home. Bitch.

Months pass and we see that the four survivors have made a nice home out of a cave - which they do not sleep in, no they sleep outside of the cave mouth (?). Frankie is torn between Thrust and the younger hunkier Chuck. And of course there is the strong but silent Bunta. She deals with this obvious sexual tension by cooking, cleaning and making their clothes. Just like a good woman should. Remember, this was the 70's, the era of the women's liberation movement.

They are having trouble getting enough food. Seems whenever they make a kill, the cavemen show up and throw spears at them and steal their kill. The cavemen did not have spears until recently. Hmmm... Well, Thrust has had enough of this, so he fashions a crossbow out of the remains of his rifle and other salvaged stuff. A crossbow that looks like it came from Sears. When the cavemen come in force to their cave, Thrust decides to educate them. Frankie, who had just been bitching about how bad killing was wishes Thrust luck. Bitch.
Thrust confronts the chief caveman and shoots him. Then reloads and shoots another caveman and the rest of the cavemen run away. Except for one cavewoman who sticks around. Frankie adopts her and calls her Hazel. Hazel (Masumi Sekiya) is soon taught how to be a good little servant.

Soon they are plagued by Rexy again. Thrust comes up with a plan and instructs Bunta to gather about 200 yards of tough vine (!). They tie the vine to a big boulder at the top of a hill. Then they use Chuck and Frankie as decoys to get Rexy's attention (!!). Once Rexy runs by, Bunta lassos Rexy's tail (!!!) and Rexy pulls the boulder loose, the boulder rolls down the hill and pulls Rexy off his feet and down the hill (!!!!). This whole sequence is too stupid for words to adequately describe.

Okay, homestrech. Thrust announces that now Rexy won't leave them alone, so they have to kill him. Uh, didn't he already vow to kill the T. rex? Anyway, he comes up with another brilliant plan, and builds a catapult! They leave the catapult armed with a big rock and wound and ready to fire and wait for Rexy to show up. This would completely destroy any tension they had managed to get from the tough vine, but whatever, it is always a mistake to let reality interfere with the enjoyment of these flicks. Meanwhile, Chuck has found the polar borer and he and Frankie somehow manage to get it all the way back to the lagoon!. Oh, by the way, the polar borer prop is way, way, way too small to be the vehicle they traveled in earlier. Frankie tries to get Thrust to see reason, but he will not leave until Rexy is dead. Bunta will not leave Thrust.
Then, I'll make one!
So, the moment we have all been waiting for - no not the end! - Rexy shows up. Bunta regrets staying because he is soon eaten by Rexy. Thrust waits until Rexy is in his sights and then fires the catapult! The rock flies through the air and hits Rexy right on the head! At this point we are treated to a true b-movie moment. When the rock hits Rexy's head, it makes a very visible dent in the rubber dino head and bounces off! Yeah baby! Oh hit that rewind button, we have to see that again! Boing-oing-oing! Ha, ha ha! Rexy falls over, everybody celebrates cause they think he is dead, but then he gets back up again.

Well, it is too late now, Thrust tells Frankie to get home and he runs away. Frankie reluctantly joins Chuck on the polar borer and they go home. Bitch. What happens to Thrust? We last see him letting Hazel walk along with him. What a guy! The End.


Babeage: Folks made a big deal of Joan Van Ark in the 80's when she was on Knots Landing, but I have never really cared for her. She is kind of cute here as the slightly dumb and morally loose reporter. Matsumi Sekiya makes an okay cavebabe, but she sure ain't no Raquel Welch or Barbara Bach! She is Asian, however so that gives her double fetish points.

Sleazeploitation: None really. Sure there is a strong suggestion that Frankie used her feminine whiles to get on the team, and then there is the whole 3 men 1 woman thing. The Thrust and Hazel thing is kind of kinky, but it is all implied. Remember, this was a TV movie in the USA.

Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: The dinos. Got to love guys in goofy floppy rubber dino suits. Unless they are purple and sing, then you must torch them with a flamethrower. As far as I am concerned Masten "Mr. Warmth" Thrust also belongs in this category.

Violence: Two cavemen get skewered, but the bloodiest stuff happens between Rexy and the Triceratops. Again, when guys in rubber dino suits have a bloody fight to the death, it's damn funny!

Gore & FX: Little tiny bit of blood. Models and rubber suits. Horrible music - does that count as gore?

Great Lines:

Dr. Kawamoto - "Paleontologist have called them (T. rex) the crown of creation!" Very scientific doc. Where did you get your Ph.D. Oral Roberts University?

Masten Thrust, on the endangered species list - "They'll put cows on it soon!"

When his bimbo asks what she is supposed to do with a solid gold bullet Masten Thrust tells her, "If times get really tough, you can bite on it."

Masten Thrust on the voyage to the lost world, "This expedition is bigger than the mission to the moon!"

When Frankie initially approaches Thrust he mistakes her for a whore and tells her, "I haven't got time for you."

When Chuck confronts Thrust over the subject of bringing guns, Thrust really lets him have it, "You DING-DONG!"

Moral: Masten Thrust is the last dinosaur, not Rexy. Get it? I love it when b-movies get all philosophical.

Conclusion:Knots Landing days

Well, I had fun watching The Last Dinosaur, but it certainly is not for everybody. You have to love really stupid stories and cheaper than cheap effects. Richard Boone was Paladin on the 50's TV show Have Gun Will Travel and also stared in the cult flick I Bury The Living. Joan Van Ark has been in lots of stuff, including a stint on the 70's cult sci-fi/comedy show Quark as Princess Libido, but is best remembered for Knots Landing. So if one of the reasons you watch b-movies is to see stars in embarrassing crap, this could work for you. Normals would probably not enjoy this flick.

Ya know, that crossbow Thrust made sure looked strong...

Strongbow English Dry Cider

Brewed by H. P. Bulmer Ltd., Hereford HR4 OLE, UK

Cider is made by fermenting grain adjuncts and apples with wine or brewers yeast. Hops are not used. This was a traditional way to use up all the left over apples at the end of the season before winter. Most ciders are clear and well carbonated, and may be simple or spiced. New England Cider tends to be stronger in taste and alcohol content. If pears are used instead of apples, the cider is referred to as a "perry".

ABV: 5.00% IBU: 0 IBUs measure the acid released by hops - no hops, no IBUs.

Color: Deep yellow almost amber. Looks like a lager. You could probably fool others into thinking you are drinking a beer. Great way to keep the goobers off your back while they swill their Bud.

Aroma: The aroma is described in the name; crisp dry apple cider.

Head: None. Carbonation yes, but cider usually does not contain the proteins that produce a lasting foamy head.

Taste: Kind of surprising. Most American ciders are at least a little sweet. Strongbow hints at sweetness at first, then goes dry almost immediately. Very crisp and clean with a slightly sour apple flavor. There is a hint of wheat in the finish and sour dry aftertaste. Very much like a slightly underripe Granny Smith apple. Refreshing and more beer-like than many ciders.

Recommendation: Strongbow English Dry Cider would be just the thing to serve to those who either do not like beer, but enjoy semi-dry white wine or those who think that cider is too sweet. As stated above Strongbow is quite refreshing and would be great on a hot summer picnic; just remember the alcohol and shoo the kids away.

Picking up some Strongbow and a few other brands of fermented cider and having a taste comparison would be an excellent way to while away a steamy summer Sunday.

Recommended for those in the mood for something a little different.

Well folks, that's about it for now. As always, comments, questions, suggestions and requests welcome.