Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Yor, Hunter from the Future (1983)

Part prehistoric adventure movie and part futuristic science fiction, the creative team of YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE decided to merge two fantasy genres in order to see if they were indeed two great tastes that taste great together. The result, directed by Italian exploitation veteran Antonio Margheriti (using his American pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson) is truly one of the loopiest and enjoyable bad movies ever made.

Fresh from his stint in two Captain America telemovies, Reb Brown plays Yor, a bleach blonde caveman with designer fur booties who enjoys wandering aimlessly around the prehistoric landscape accompanied by his own heroic theme song (sung by Oliver Onions). After saving the beautiful Ka-Laa from a rampaging triceratops Yor is adopted into her tribe and invited to a victory feast. No sooner is Yor wowed by Ka-Laa's impromptu victory dance (think QUEST FOR FIRE meets FLASHDANCE) that she proves herself to be very high maintenance by being kidnapped by a tribe of nasty ape people. This leads to the best scene in the movie where Yor uses a dead pterodactyl as a hang glider i order to fly to the rescue.  All would be well except for Yor's nagging feeling that he's not really from around these parts. As it turns out (and as hinted at by the film's title) our story is not really taking place in Earth's prehistoric past but instead its post-nuke future. You see, Yor's parents were killed while trying to escape from the one island left untouched by the bomb, which is now ruled by a tyrannical overlord named, um, Overlord. Now it's up to Yor to defeat Overlord and his android army and restore democracy to the planet.

As you can probably tell by the synopsis, YOR is quite a film.  Apparently the 88 minute film released to US theaters was edited down from a 200 minute version that aired as a miniseries on Italian TV. I'd love to see that version to see if it answers any of the several hundred questions left unaddressed by the theatrical cut, such as how a nuclear war could result in the return of the dinosaurs. It probably doesn't and that's okay. Anyone watching this movie looking for logic is completely missing the point.   The pleasure of this movie comes from watching it start off weird and crazy and then watching it become progressively crazier as it goes along. It has so many things to satisfy the bad movie connoisseur, from Ka-Laa's decidedly unprehistoric hairstyle to the unconvincing dinosaur puppets to Overlord's android henchmen who look like they're wearing modified Darth Vader helmets. And then there's that theme song.  YOR is tons of fun and I defy anyone to watch it without laughing out loud at least once. To put it in culinary terms, YOR may not be a full course meal but if all you're looking for is a cheesy appetizer you really can't go wrong.

For more overlooked film and a/v visit Todd Mason's blog.