Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Lost Continent (1968)
Was Hammer's 1968 film THE LOST CONTINENT meant to be a satire?
It's small wonder that little is written or said about this one; it's a real stinker. The odd thing about it is that it seems to have been intended as a satire, but it's presented in a completely straightforward manner by the director (Michael Carreras) and cast (about whom more in a moment). Dennis Wheatley had two novels turned into films by Hammer in '68; one was adapted by a master and the other by someone who has not another single film credit to his name. Richard Matheson crafted an excellent script from Wheatley's book The Devil Rides Out for the film of the same name, but someone named Michael Nash failed miserably with this movie, taken from Wheatley's novel Uncharted Seas (which I've not read).
The incidents and plot of The Lost Continent are so hackneyed they just can't be meant to be taken seriously; this has to be a batched rendering of a send-up. The captain of an old freighter takes on a number of passengers for a journey into uncharted waters; each passenger, like the captain, has some Deep Dark Secret. The captain is smuggling a cargo of rare explosive that explodes furiously on contact with water, which leads the crew to mutiny. The cardboard cutout passengers include the blackmailer and his victim, the father and his daughter who have a big skeleton in the closet, and the mysterious beautiful blonde anxious to escape her past. Even with this cargo that can't on any account be allowed to get wet, the captain >deliberately< steers his vessel into the path of a hurricane! And the survivors wind up meeting intelligent seaweed, man-eating plants, a giant crab and a giant scorpion, and Spanish conquistadors. Heard enough? I'll add that the giant crab in this 1968 Hammer film is >much< less convincing that the one in Attack of the Crab Monsters, and mention that the score (by one Gérard Schurmann) is nothing less than atrocious. I have to believe that this was originally intended to be a take off on "lost world" movies that somehow went terribly wrong; can anyone here tell me if I'm right? There's nothing in the film to indicate that Carreras and everyone else connected with it didn't think it was absolutely serious. This seems to be something a little like the case of Ben Hecht's (now lost) treatment written as a spoof of space opera, which wound up as the film Queen of Outer Space (made with little evidence of the director's awareness that the subject matter isn't serious, which is odd considering the fact that Edward Bernds was primarily a director of comedies).
Oh, about the cast. Why did Hammer make a film without a single star name in the cast? I only recognize a few of the actor's names; most of these folk spent most of their careers in European cinema and I'm surprised that Hammer didn't include at least one name that would be a draw for Americans (I'm not sure, but I don't even think any of these people were big news in England). This really is an odd case.