Saturday, May 3, 2014

Teenage Cave Man!


Teenage Cave Man  starring Robert Vaughn is a movie that's been on my bucket list for some time. The title alone makes it appealing in its own strange way. You have to want to see what that's all about.


What is is all about is a small society of cave dwellers (the cave is the famous Bronson Cavern) who are restricted in their goings and comings by a collection of "laws" that prohibit their exploration of the seemingly much more fertile lands beyond their limited range. Admittedly those lands have dinosaurs, but those dangers are offset by a more bountiful food supply.


The "Teenage Cave Man" wants to explore, despite what his elders tell him and ultimately ignores the pleas of his parents to be a dutiful member of the society and goes off to find out what lies beyond the river. He finds battling dinosaurs and some of the worst movie quicksands ever, which sadly gobbles up one of his buddies. This death means he himself should die, but he doesn't immediately.


He ventures forth again into the forbidden lands, this time followed by his dad and other cave dwellers intent on his punishment. But they are all surprised to find a mysterious creature who theoretically can unleash death with its mere touch. What happens then makes this movie much much more interesting.

Spoilers follow so unless you have already seen the movie or never plan to, do not read.


The twist is a simple one, but not one I ever saw coming. The mysterious creature is actually an impossibly old human being who along with twenty-three of his colleagues survived the atomic war which devastated the world and reduced the population to a mere handful who eke an existence like their Cro-Magnon ancestors. He is the last of his group who have been given extremely long lives due to radiation and who have watched over the survivors from a distance hoping they will find a successful way to rebuild society. The world is seems has been destroyed and rebuilt many times.


End of spoilers.

 It's a neat twist, not uncommon in stories I've read, but nothing in this movie prepared me for this turn of events. I immediately liked the movie better, which is pretty dreary most of the time, because the payoff is so good.

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5 comments:

  1. I saw this on TV about 20 years ago and the title made it seem like nonsense but the excellent twist surprised me too. The next day I read the review of it in my TV listings guide and was horrified to see they had revealed the twist ending - luckily I'd seen the movie before reading the review !

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    1. That's just wrong. Never give away endings, it's stupid or cruel.

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  2. It's been a very long time since I saw this film, but I seem to recall there was one scene that looked like an error at first viewing but was in retrospect a hint about the twist ending.

    (Surely no one is reading the comments thread without knowing the spoiler already? If they are, be warned...)

    At one point, we see a pack of dogs of several different domesticated breeds, none of which would have existed in prehistoric times. At first it seems like a sign of the low production values and minimal budget -- they just rounded up a group of random pet dogs to fill in for what should have been wolves. But if you go back and see the pack as descendants of former pets turned feral, it makes much more sense.

    If someone can confirm this is actually in the film and not merely the product of a feverish or drug-crazed imagination, it would be much appreciated!

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    1. I don't immediately remember that, but it's a clever spin.

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  3. This was MST3Ked too. Do you watch movies based on their episode list? :)

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