A high school archaeological expedition digging in an ancient Indian burial ground in the mountains discover the tomb of a dead mummy. Unfortunately, he’s not very pleased at being woken up.
‘Teenagers Battle The Thing’ (1958) is a curiosity; a film so obscure that it doesn’t even appear on the IMDB in its own right. It was directed by Don Fields, written by JT Fields and features a cast of non-professional actors including ‘star’ Bob Clymire. Either Don or JT (opinions vary) played the archaeology teacher, Professor Bill Wyman (presumably just before he started playing bass with the Rolling Stones).
It’s a familiar low budget premise; lots of chat for the first half hour or so followed by limited monster hi-jinks in the second half. The mummy is a bloke wandering about in a papier mâché mask (complete with cardboard fangs) and attacks a woman who stands up but then has to sit down again to get her head back in the shot. Of overwhelming interest is the fact that ‘the orange and lemon groves in this part of the country are extensive’.
It’s easy to assume that this film just sat on the shelf in someone’s garage for 18 years but apparently it did get a limited local release. What we know for sure is that Don & JT Fields never forgot it. In 1972, now known as Dave & James Flocker, they brought us ‘Curse of Bigfoot’ (1972) and whichever of the brothers played the teacher in the original film reprised his role almost two decades later. This is for the very sound financial reason of using the entire 58 minutes of ‘Teenagers Battle The Thing’ (1958) as a flashback in the ‘new’ movie!
Opening with some of the old footage – now in colour! – we switch to a strange, shadowy figure attacking a woman at an isolated house, which never connects with anything else that we see. From there we cut to students in class, attending a strange lecture about mythical beasts. Who knows what subject they are supposed to be learning but the tutor gives us the lowdown on Bigfoot, which is extremely helpful.
Apparently, our hairy hero is often seen around logging operations so we get a good 5 minutes library film of guys in hard hats cutting down trees, etc. Then we follow two hunters wandering about aimlessly in the woods for a while and then we’re back in the classroom with the tutor introducing Dave/Don or JT/James to ‘tell his story.’ Then the rest of the film is just all the footage of ‘Teenagers Battle the Thing’ (1958)’.
It’s zero budget filmmaking at its finest. But, hang on, I know what you’re thinking here. You’re thinking what has an ancient Indian mummy monster go to do with Bigfoot? Not a lot, obviously. He isn’t hairy for a start. So how did the filmmakers get around that? Simple: they don’t. They just don’t bother.
And neither should you.