Teenage Cave Man (1958) Poster

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Prehistoric Nonsense Corman Style
gleetroy1 January 2010
It was made in two WEEKS, not two days as someone else's review stated. Please get the facts straight. Read Robert Vaughn's autobiography, he has some choice information about the background of the making of this movie.

Robert Vaughn recalled the filming of it. It took place entirely in Griffith Park in California and the animals involved refused to cooperate. Also, he was sent to the hospital twice. once when an animal bit him, and once when he fell off a log and stepped on broken glass. The glamor of show biz, it is intoxicating.

It was eventually released on a double-bill with the Michael Landon classic.....wait for it....."I Was a Teenage Werewolf."

Oh, Roger Corman, you've done it again!
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I still wonder...
unbrokenmetal17 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Movies about the stone age are - with the honourable exception of Annaud's "Quest of Fire" - usually rather silly. Think of comedies like "Caveman" with Ringo Starr, monster movies like "One Million Years B.C." with Raquel Welch, or the unfortunate "Clan of the Cave Bear" with Daryl Hannah. The much older b/w flick "Teenage Caveman" was a real surprise therefore, remarkably ambitious for a B movie. Young Robert Vaughn, a few years before "The Magnificent Seven", stars as a caveman who is challenging the elders of the tribe by trespassing the forbidden lands beyond the river. In their belief, the cave people must stay near their cave; they shall neither cross the river nor the desert, because their forefathers left the "Word". Vaughn is restless, after his first trip to the forbidden lands he repeatedly says "I still wonder..." and takes a second trip there. The elders decide the penalty for breaking the law twice must be death, and send a hunting party after him. What they all discover in the land beyond the river is however not what the Word of the forefathers said... (oh, it's hard sometimes to write a spoiler-free review and don't tell too much!) "Teenage Caveman" has an unusual philosophical edge to it, asking questions like "why are we here" and "what is beyond our world", and it makes clear that curiosity and restlessness are the driving forces for mankind's progress. Vaughn's Caveman is not satisfied with the answers the elders give him, he says "I still wonder...", and shouldn't we too sometimes? Only annoying point is the monster scenes, as the cheapo lizards (I refuse to call them dinosaurs) seem to be cut in between from different movies.
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It's like an old Twilight Zone episode
Prophetess19 April 1999
Strangely, I liked this movie. Okay: low budget, bad acting, cheesy spliced-in scenes from other "dinosaur" movies. Yet there is something innocent and compelling about it -- Roger Corman in his naive and earnest phase. It reminds me very much of the old Twilight Zone series (because of the ending). Just imagine Rod Serling saying, "For your consideration, a group of prehistoric cave dwellers ..." and you will truly enjoy this odd little film.
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7/10
Thought-provoking atomic age parable which rises above its limited ambience to yield a memorably moving and intelligent filmic experience.
Morbius-1320 May 1999
Conceived in the era of the 1950's nuclear holocaust scare, TEENAGE CAVEMAN is an inspired (albeit low-budget) reflection of this period's fears and a worthy attempt by producer/director Roger Corman to present more serious subject matter in the sci-fi genre.

On the plus side is the noteworthy script by R. Wright Campbell. Mr. Campbell's association with Roger Corman includes scripts for FIVE GUNS WEST, MACHINE GUN KELLY, THE YOUNG RACERS, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (in which he re-wrote "Twilight Zone" fantasist Charles Beaumont's submitted script for this film) and THE SECRET INVASION. Borrowing heavily the plot and ideas from Stephen Vincent Benet's short story, "By the Waters of Babylon," Campbell presents the intelligent, inquisitive and introspective son of the "symbol maker" (earnestly played by a 26 year old Robert Vaughn), who attempts to extend the boundaries of knowledge and existence well beyond the immediate environs. Most of this remarkable film's meaningful dialogue is conveyed through the Robert Vaughn character and writer Campbell invests the story with a profundity and poignancy which is sadly lacking in most of the bland, dismal pap usually served up as entertainment.

In addition to the casting coup of Robert Vaughn and R. Wright Campbell's exceptional script, praise must also be extended to composer Albert Glasser's well-crafted and inspired music score (particularly effective during the climatic denouement). Glasser is one of the unsung maestros of film scoring in the sci-fi "B" genre (along with his contemporaries such as Ronald Stein, Paul Dunlap, Raoul Krausher, Marlin Skiles and Walter Greene) and many a low-budget feature has benefited considerably from his skilled and gifted contribution.

TEENAGE CAVEMAN quietly presents its message to the viewer with sincerity and dignity. It stands as an honourable effort to enlighten as well as to entertain and exemplifies that in good film-making with the constraints of time and budget, the necessity of more creativity, ingenuity and talent to fill the gap.
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2/10
Teenage Caveman (1958) *
JoeKarlosi18 October 2006
Even dependable ace director Roger Corman wasn't able to turn this dud into something steadily worth watching. It stars THE MAN FROM UNCLE's Robert Vaughn as a 26-year-old "boy" who defies his tribe's law by daring to venture forth "beyond the river" to the other side, where he is met by quicksand and a few silly creatures. It's an hour or so of tedium, but we do get a hearty laugh in seeing Robert Shayne looking ridiculous as a bearded caveman in sheepskin and sporting a Shemp Howard haircut. The ending of the film is at least interesting, though it's not worth the trip to make it that far.

* out of ****
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7/10
Warning, don't go beyond the river
chris_gaskin12325 May 2006
Teenage Caveman is an enjoyable Prehistoric adventure from Roger Corman and I taped this when BBC2 screened it during the early hours some years ago.

A young caveman goes against warnings and decides to explore the land beyond the river where his tribe live. There are plenty of dangers our there, including stock footage dinosaurs from One Million BC and Unknown Island, a pack of wild dogs and, best of all, a very strange looking "monster" that turns out to be a man in a radiation suit. We then learn that after a nuclear war, this part of the World went back to Prehistoric times.

Being made in the Atomic Age, this movie show was yet another theory what people thought could have happened in the event of any nuclear war. At the end, we also get to briefly see clips from other AIP movies including The She Creature.

The cast includes a young Robert Vaughn (The Man From UNCLE, The Magnificent Severn, Hustle) and sci-fi B movie regulars Jonathan Haze (Little Shop of Horrors, It Conquered the World), Ed Nelson (The Brain Eaters) and Robert Shayne (The Neanderthal Man, The Giant Claw).

Teenage Caveman is a good way to spend just over an hour one afternoon or evening. Low budget fun.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
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3/10
Pretty goofy, but not entirely worthless
lemon_magic22 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Teenage Cavemen" was obviously intended to be a cheapo "exploitation" film (in the manner of "I was A Teenage Werewolf" and "I Was A Teenage Frankenstein") and indeed, its origins as a Corman "3 Day Wonder" are obvious - it's so shabbily made and so obviously hacked out that it barely holds together as a movie at all. But still, there is just a bit of an edge to this one, a little more depth and interest.

I've always liked Robert ("Man From UNCLE") Vaughn. He's a fine,if limited, actor who manages to pack a certain sinister, vulpine energy and intelligence into even the silliest and most badly conceived parts. (I don't blame him for "Superman III", either - he did what he could with that one). His presence adds an extra point to the ratings, since he is obviously a 'real' actor, even in this early role.

However, the "teenage caveman" role is not a role that calls for these qualities, so this is a pretty tough part for him. With his narrow, refined features, skinny physique and elegant hairstyle, he looks less like a caveman - or a teenager, for that matter - than almost any male actor over 25 you can name. And the script makes him (and everyone else) talk in the affected, unconvincing, plodding Pidgin English speech that all "primitives" in movies seem to use, and these lines are incredibly unconvincing coming from this obviously civilized and educated person.

I'll give him this, though - in spite of the affected dialog and speech mannerisms he is forced to adopt, Vaughn does a decent job of portraying the restlessness, unhappiness and chafing of an original "thinker" trying to escape the confines of a closed traditional society.

And even though the special effects, scenery, costumes, dialog and acting are all badly underpowered, and the use of borrowed stock footage is really jarring and annoying, the movie does manage to incorporate a sense of youth vs. authority, tradition vs. innovation, and yes, a puzzle with a "surprise twist" at the end which actually sort of works. ***SPOILER FOLLOWS*** By this I mean that the post-apocalyptic denouement actually does play fair with the viewer within the limits of the film, and the ending does give me a little shudder, even now.

Like most Corman movies, this one is mostly of historical interest, but it does pack a bit more punch than most of his output, even if only by accident.
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5/10
Rebellious Cro-Magnon Teens
bkoganbing22 November 2010
Although its obviously low budget and cheesy special effects prevent this early Roger Corman film from a higher rating, Teenage Cave Man actually turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would. It shows that in every generation teens rebel, even back in prehistory.

Robert Vaughn who later turned in performances as rather sophisticated people be they good guys or bad guys, is a rather erudite teen Cro Magnon who does not think the tribal religion has all the answers. His tribe is restricted in its turf by the Word which gives them only certain parameters to live.

Frank DeKova is our villain, a hidebound sort of caveman, a fundamentalist in his beliefs who says death should happen to those who wander out of the tribal area. But Vaughn goes and in the process learns the answers to many things. And the film has a surprise ending, very similar to Planet Of The Apes which many critics have compared Teenage Cave Man with.

Or for me this could easily have been a good Twilight Zone episode, as directed by Roger Corman.
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6/10
Overlooked b-gem from Corman and Co.
funkyfry1 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This film, whose true name is not "Teenage Cave Man" but rather "The Prehistoric World", was released by AIP under said name to exploit the success of its own "I Was a Teenage...." series of films (which were actually produced by Herman Cohen in England). Viewed entirely on its own merits, this little film has a lot to offer, even beyond some of the obvious camp humor.

There is some intriguing sci-fi here, most of which I won't give away for fear of *****SPOILERS***** giving away too much, but some of which definately predate and prefigure "Planet of the Apes" as Corman himself points out in his autobio.

Robert Vaughn does a good job here, once more showing the strength of performance that should have made him another Robert Stack, rather than another John Saxon.

There is a strong anti-establishment subtext in the film which definately places it just ahead of its time in prefiguring the political "message" sci-fi of the late 60s. Ignoring the cheap effects and some of the less accomplished actors in the film may result in a less entertaining viewing, but may reveal a film of greater depth than your typical saturday morning b.
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10/10
So bad you have to watch it
lucifer25 February 1999
This is so bad it's good. Unlike Troma, this film doesn't mean to be bad, it just is. The acting is atrocious, the effects are dire, and as for the dialogue...

Let's just say that this must be watched, just so you know how not to make a caveman film.
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Poor production values hamper this 'camp' genre picture.
bux29 October 1998
Made in the 50s to cash in on the unexpected success of the "I Was a Teenage.......", this entry at least dared to be different. Corman shows promise in this early directoral effort, and the story does have a neat twist at the end (if you make it that far), All that said, the slow, dragging plot and the non-existent production values make it a chore to watch. Notable also for an early screen appearance of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Robert Vaughn.
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Okay, I'll give it some credit
GeneralB12 April 2000
This is a 1950s era B-movie about a teenager(aka guy clearly in his 20s) living in a community of cavemen. Is actually somewhat better than most B-movies(and most Roger Corman movies, not that there really is a difference), mainly due to parts of the plot. That said, by any other standard, it is still a pretty clumsy looking film with a number of silly scenes, which earned it a place on MST3K. And if you want to see this movie, I encouraged you to watch the MST version, which is, of course, hilarious.
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4/10
Robert Vaughn in a Roger Corman cheapie
kevinolzak4 April 2019
Roger Corman's 1958 "Teenage Cave Man" (three words), retitled from its original "Prehistoric World" to capitalize on Herman Cohen's Teenage Werewolf and Frankenstein, was released to theaters on a double bill with Cohen's "How to Make a Monster," introducing the Paul Blaisdell costume that would be utilized for his next production "Night of the Blood Beast" (plus stock footage from "Day the World Ended" and "The She-Creature"). Screenwriter R. Wright Campbell was no stranger to Corman, having scripted his directorial debut "Five Guns West," going on to do the same for "Man of a Thousand Faces," "Machine-Gun Kelly," "The Young Racers," "The Secret Invasion," "Hells Angels on Wheels," "Captain Nemo and the Underwater City" and "The Masque of the Red Death." What at first appears to be a simple 50s retread of the Lon Chaney classic "One Million B.C." becomes actually quite watchable, as the tribe depicted here speaks English and lives in the familiar environs of Griffith Park, right there in front of Bronson Caverns. They could qualify as either Hill People or Rock People, though it's a bit jarring to see the Corman repertory company dressed in caveman togs, regulars like Jonathan Haze, Ed Nelson, Beach Dickerson, and lovely Barboura Morris (seen briefly twice, no dialogue). 25 year old Robert Vaughn made his starring debut as The Boy, hardly a teen but questioning the laws of his elders as his father (Leslie Bradley) tries to keep him from venturing across the river to the great beyond. Frank DeKova is naturally cast as the villain, eager to usurp the power of both father and son as tribal leader, and even murdering a visitor astride a horse rather than make peace as requested. Once The Boy journeys into the forbidden zone he finds dinosaurs (footage from both "One Million B.C" and 1948's "Unknown Island"), marauding dog packs, and a strange creature that walks on two legs, supposedly the one whose touch causes instant death. The small role of the blonde maiden is played by Darah Marshall, not to be confused with Sarah Marshall, British-born daughter of actor Herbert Marshall, enjoying a skinny dip under a waterfall to The Boy's approving flute. Vaughn was embarrassed enough to proclaim this his worst film, but by the 1990s there must have been stronger contenders for that title, like Christopher Lee's "Starship Invasions" or John Carradine's "Buried Alive." The final twist typical of a Roger Corman picture was quite a novelty at the time, but has grown tired from overuse in the decades since.
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8/10
Much better than expected.
lennybuttz2 April 2019
When I saw the title for this movie I assumed it was a B movie made to play as a double or triple feature for an outdoor. It was much better than I expected. The acting was good even though the dialogue wasn't the best. To be honest I mostly watched it for the suspected beefcake. The young Robert Vaughn is quite handsome and I was hoping the costumes would be a little more revealing. There are a lot of shirtless men and some sexy thighs on view but nothing too exciting.

I found myself sucked into the story which seemed to have some holes in it. It's a story of questioning, something man has probably done since the beginning of time. We wouldn't be where we are today if not for questions. There is a relevance to this movie and a lesson that at the time of it's making was most likely pure science fiction. As we have seen many times, yesterday's science fiction is today's truth. One computer that used to fill a whole room was less advanced than the modern smart phone. Looking at today's world it's not so hard for me believe how drastically the future can change.

If you start to watch this movie all I can say is stick with it until the end, it may surprise you and like me it may cause you to think about things differently. One valuable lesson from this movie is it's OK to question the law but still it's in place to protect us until the time comes when it needs to be changed. A paradox perhaps but also a truth.
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3/10
well...
infiltration-8998728 November 2018
Ok, this is a terrible film. The film dragged on and on, its action scenes were lazy, and the writing was pretty bad. But, the premise was cool. And as usual, Corman did a lot with very little. And if you consider it from a b-movie angle, it was pretty cool. I recommend it, regardless of its shortcomings.
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7/10
"The law is old, and age is not always truth."
alminator14 November 2018
"Every man holds to the old laws the safe way. Each waits for another to dare. No one wants to take the risks that a better life demands. Every woman points to a man other than her own to do the dying. So the ages past, and the clan remains huddled in the same place. There is no more to say. It is the time to act."

A typical tale of a teenage boy questioning authority and its traditions & superstitions. Only this teen is a caveman, er caveboy? Anyway, it's actually a great story that challenges us to question all that we've been told to blindly accept. It also goes far deeper in pointing some of the cultural, political, & religious ills of modern society. Definitely worth watching. And don't worry, they speak perfectly good English without a bunch of distracting grunts & pronoun misuse.

Robert Vaughn plays the teen coming of age in the film on his way to becoming a man... (of UNCLE? Haha) Anyway, Vaughn does a great job, but the rest of the acting is mediocre at best. But there's a great dinosaur fight scene. I don't know if they were actual lizards fighting or what, but it was one of the best scenes in the movie.
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2/10
Teenage cavemen fight to find their next meet, as do the 20 something year old actors who play them.
mark.waltz10 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It's obvious from the start that the actors playing the youthful spear throwing cavemen are far past voting age, and in this clean shaven ancient world that there's a barber shop in one of those caves. It doesn't take much of a look past the posters and lobby cards of this early American International programmer that this will not be a realistic view of the pre-civilized world. Clean cut young "actors" look as if they've just set forth off UCLA's campus, with beards added to the older characters to express the difference between the generations. Seen among the giant dinosaurs, lizards and snakes are a variety of modern mammals, including bears, deer, horses and packs of "wild" dogs that look easily domesticatable.

Then, there's the script, overwritten with overly thoughtful philosophies, spoken in amateurish tones that makes this simply just too silly not to ridicule. Even so, there's an element of sweetness to this, and that makes this endearing as a fun bad movie. Future TV star Robert Vaughn is as sincere as he can be. Of the rest of the cast, only Ed Nelson seems to have gone on to other memorable roles. The settings take the prehistoric characters from the obvious sets of Runyeon canyon to the stock footage of the ancient world, some of which oddly look like paintings. Some of the footage becomes painfully slow, although there are unintentional laughs here and there as well. So for me, it becomes a guilty pleasure that I won't soon forget with an epilogue that has to be seen to be believed and must have been added on when they realized that without it, there would be no way the young hunks in this film would be believable as "teenage cave men".
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3/10
Prehistoric Teenage Nonsense
hrkepler31 May 2018
'Teenage Cave Man' is officially declared as 'one of the worst movies ever made'. Even Roger Corman himself has famously said, "I never directed a film called Teenage Cave Man". And Teenage Cave Man Robert Vaughn himself stated that he considers it worst film ever made. But that ending - even 'The King of All Twist Endings' Mr. M. Night Shyamalan himself couldn't come up with such a devilish one.

Well, don't let yourself fooled by all the criticism and bad publicity. The film is silly and it looks cheap (fake fins on the back of baby alligator to make it look like prehistoric monster). Cavemen are hunky young dudes with haircuts by the latest '50s trends. Drawn out dialogue and overacting that sometimes hilariously falls into (pseudo)Shakespearian territories, make the film somewhat unwatchable at parts, but bare to the end - you will be rewarded. I wonder how this film would have come out with proper budget and with more work on the screenplay. The themes Corman played with 'Teenage Cave Man' are actually pretty intriguing (following some abstract rule with no explanation, standing by the dogmas, hunger for power, should father be punished for the crimes of his son - yes, it sounds like quite messy soap opera, but like I said - well developed screenplay). In 2002, Larry Clarke directed a film with same title and loosely based its premise on Corman's film, but never fully used the potential of the material in hand, but the original 'Teenage Cave Man' is worthy enough to give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised. Or, if you won't then you have witnessed one of the most awful pieces of cinema ever made. 3/10
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Intriguing Corman Quickie is Worth Watching
mrb19805 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Early Roger Corman movies can be very good ("The Little Shop of Horrors", "Not of This Earth"), very bad ("The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent"), or somewhere in between ("It Conquered the World", Attack of the Crab Monsters"). "Teenage Cave Man" falls somewhere in the middle, with an impoverished budget but a good cast and intelligent story.

A restless teenage cave man (Robert Vaughn) has an urge to travel to the forbidden land "beyond the river", where a fabled monster can kill with just a touch. The first journey ends with an unfortunate death (B actor Beach Dickerson) in some quicksand (The "Sucking Sands"), so there's lots of discussion about the status quo, which the tribe elders say must be maintained.

Eventually the teenager journeys again to the forbidden land, there's a bear attack (Dickerson in a bear suit), an attack by wild dogs (no doubt liberated from the local pound), and a final confrontation with the dreaded beast. The beast is nothing but an old man in a radiation suit who represents the last survivor of a long-ago nuclear war.

Beach Dickerson used to tell hilarious stories about this movie, including a description of his four roles (he dies in three of them, and attends his own funeral). Vaughn adds some credibility to the proceedings, and the luscious Barboura Morris appears in a small part. Okay, it's really cheap, but it's also fun, and Vaughn is pretty good under the circumstances.
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3/10
Will appeal to bad-movie fans
jcorelis-2433627 April 2017
Roger Corman has directed over fifty films (and at age ninety is still active as of this writing as a producer,) some of them, recognized classics of the B-movie genre, such as The Little Shop of Horrors, Bloody Mama, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and the series of Poe-inspired horror movies featuring Vincent Price, but many others so quickly and cheaply made that they are esteemed as classics of the "so-bad-it's good" genre.

This film is firmly in the latter category. Teenage Caveman, obviously made to take advantage of the 1950s brief fad for "I was a teen-age ..." films, is notable mostly for starring Robert Vaughn in what he said was the worst film he ever made. Production values are minimal -- I've seen worse, but not often -- the cast members look more like they belong in a 1950s TV ad for vacuum cleaners than in the Upper Paleolithic, and the acting, if it is no worse than you would expect in a high school play, is not any better. In short, this will appeal to bad movie fans and not to many others.

Probably properly a one or two star movie, but give it an extra star for the camp value.
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At least you will only waste an hour......
OrangieTooDope25 April 2017
At 1 hour long,this movie is another Roger Corman disaster. With almost no time to fill,the movie still drags and is mind-numbingly boring. Anytime it's not a tight shot of 2 people,it's them walking on the same path. Some of the monsters are OK but some are silly. The way the cave people talk is extremely lame.They can't figure out the concept of naming people but can call people things like "the fair haired boy".Of course,the teenagers look to be about 40.There obviously weren't any real teenagers in the 50s. The only thing more amazing than the terrible acting is the fact that this movie even got made. There is one redeeming quality,a good twist at the end.
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7/10
"Cave" Men?
JohnHowardReid11 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This one is an unusual contender for exploitation bookings in that it actually has a literate screenplay. In fact, the dialogue is far too convincing for cavemen (but that's another story). And it also carries a message that predates "Planet of the Apes". Roger Corman's direction is certainly efficient – the action scenes are convincingly staged – but lacks the imaginative flair he usually brings to these offerings. On the other hand, production values are reasonably impressive – even if we excuse a wobbly shot of dinosaurs and that all-too-familiar lizard fight footage from "One Million Years B.C." DeKova delivers a strong performance as the rabble- rousing heavy, while the heroine has just enough footage to look decorative – but not enough to slow down the action. Darah Marshall (in her only movie) certainly makes an attractive "blond maiden". Considering the heavy dialogue they have to handle, the rest of the players are fairly capable, although it's a bit of a shock to see Robert Shayne hiding behind a beard as the keeper of the flame. Vaughn is also not up to speed. He looks uncomfortable in his animal skin and his accent seems far too cultured for this setting. On the other hand, production credits, headed by Crosby's fine location photography, are rarely less than proficient.
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3/10
Only Interesting because of Robert Vaughan
Hitchcoc15 December 2016
We just lost Robert Vaughan a few weeks ago. He was a great character actor and is best remembered for "The Man from UNCLE." In this one he plays the title character who longs to find out what is beyond the place where the ancestors and the priests have forbidden him and his peers to go. He, of course, is going there. This movie, done by Roger Corman, and marketed strictly to the drive-in set of the fifties, is pretty bad, and I am very patient with the B-movies of this time. Someone mentioned the Twilight Zone and this idea has been used there, but the thing was done on an extremely low budget with most likely single takes over a very short period of time. The only reason to watch it would be to see what Corman was doing at the time. And, of course, to see the young (though not that young) Robert Vaughan.
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Interesting morality play
mermatt26 October 2001
Made during the "I was a teenage..." cycle, this is more thoughtful than those other teen exploitation films. The story is told simply and yet with a serious purpose that makes us look at our technology as the mixed blessing which it is.

Don't let the title put you off. This is better than average and has some surprises.
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2/10
Ugh...me have a headache
InzyWimzy8 December 2000
Why Roger? WHY did you make this film?

Action, acting, great special effects...look elsewhere for these my fellow viewers, cause this film bites the big one. Vaughn is the philosophical caveman who's questions on life are perceived as the evil manifestations. What was evil was that someone actually funded production for this. I nodded on and off and can safely say this film was made in black and white. There's trouble about crossing the river and Vaughn catches a good one running into a tree.

So good a movie that the characters remain nameless!
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