Que pasa, es Burl! Ha ha, I’m here to review a real samolean of a motion picture, the 1968 Hammer Films quandary The Lost Continent! This is such an oddball movie that I’m not sure how to even begin talking about it, ha ha!
Probably the best place to begin is the theme song, which sounds like a parody version of what a theme song to a movie like this would be! It’s a louche, loungy number, sung in a confessional tone that suggests we all, at one time or another, have found ourselves trapped on a lost continent! Not metaphorically, either, ha ha!
Anyway, it’s a great way to start off this picture! It’s a boat film and also, like Casablanca and Wages of Fear, a motley-gang-of-stateless-fugitives picture, two microgenres I’m fond of! The boat, leaving Africa and bound for Caracas, is captained by grumpy Eric Porter, well-known from Hands of the Ripper, and all of its passengers have voluminous backstories that would take too long to detail here! Suffice it to say they’re all desperate, and many of them are outright criminals!
Well, turns out the boat is carrying a bunch of explosives which blow up on contact with water, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a hole in the side of the boat and a hurricane coming just as they’re about to enter the mysterious Sargasso Sea! Naturally there’s a mutiny – the crew is led by the great Michael “The Reptile” Ripper, who really ought to have played the bartender instead so he could get more screen time, ha ha – and after some fighting and action and a damp night in a lifeboat, our captain, the passengers and a few loyal crew find themselves back on the ship, but trapped in voracious, man-eating seaweed, which is apparently the continent of the title!
And of course that brings us to the true heart of this picture: monster attacks! Ha ha, the seaweed is bad enough, but then up pops a giant octopus creature, which grabs and gobbles up a weird moustacheman; and then we have a giant crab creature with the most grotesque chitter-chatter mouth you could ever imagine! It grabs an unfortunate guy in its claws, then fights a giant scorpion! And of course we have the band of Spanish conquistadors, ruled by a teenager and a guy in a funny hat, who toss their enemies into a pit that contains nothing but a horrible chomping mouth, sort of a mini-Sarlacc! All of these beasties were created by Robert Mattey, who, having made the squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and who would go on to make the shark in Jaws, knows a bit about seamonster creation!
The conquistadors and all the other people stuck on this floating seaweed patch used shoulder-balloons to walk around without getting sucked down, and I must say that’s every bit as absurd-looking as it sounds! But in a picture as absurd as this, it fits in nicely!
I like a good goofnugget from time to time, and this one fit the bill! So what if it’s silly, so what if it has a little more soap opera than I would like, and seems stuck in the weeds as much as the freighter it’s set upon! Ha ha, it’s still a more adult version of those Doug McClure fantasy pictures that came along a decade later, and that counts for a lot in old Burl’s crazy book! I enjoyed this picture, and would like to give The Lost Continent two and a half shoulder balloons!