Yor, The Hunter From The Future/Il Mondo Di Yor (1983)

Yor,_The_Hunter_From_The_Future_(1983)‘Yor’s World! He’s The Man! Yor’s World! He’s The Man!’

Yor wanders the prehistoric wastes alone, flexing his pecs, until he saves a young woman and her protector from a predatory dinosaur. He knows nothing of his origins; the only clue he has being the strange metal medallion that he wears around his neck. His quest for meaning leads him into unbelievable adventures.

Wild and wacky Science Fiction low-budget epic from Italian director Antonio Margheriti, here hiding under his usual Anglicised pseudonym of Anthony M. Dawson. Margheriti had plenty of previous form in the fantastic arena, from more ‘realistic’ output such as ‘Assignment: Outer Space’ (1961) to pop culture blow outs like ‘Willd, Wld Planet’ (1965). Here, he gives us an old-fashioned quest with a new fashioned twist; elements of prehistoric tribal drama combined with laser battles and robots.

Yor is Reb Brown, an actor who had been TV’s Captain America, and would go on to fight lycanthropes in ‘Howling II: Stirba Werewolf Bitch’ (aka ‘Your Sister Is A Werewolf’) (1985) and top-line the hilariously awful ‘Space Mutiny’ (1988). Here, he rocks a silly blonde wig, loincloth, furry boots, and a goofy expression as he struts around a desert landscape to the hair metal soundtrack song ‘Yor’s World!’ Before long he’s iced a rampaging Triceratops that threatens dark-haired Corinne Cléry and her faithful old retainer Luciano Pigozzi. Obviously, no-one knew that, despite its fearsome appearance, those particular dinosaurs only ate plants. Cléry has a question: ‘Why are all men not like Yor?’

Yor befriends the black-haired tribe, but muses on his mysterious origins: ‘It’s like a question burning inside of me, a question without an answer. Am I the son of fire?’ Cléry attempts some kind of erotic tribal dance (probably) and, although it looks a bit half-hearted, it certainly gets Yor interested. But, before he can act on his intentions, his new hairy friends are attacked by some even hairier men. Yor helps to defend the settlement by pushing over all the buildings and setting fire to everything. Nice one, Yor! But he does redeem himself by rescuing Cléry from their evil clutches by flying into a cave hanging from the corpse of a giant bat. Cléry has more observations of her own: “Yor, you’re so different from all the other men I’ve known.”

Your takes on men wrapped in bandages to save a blonde priestess, Yor kills a dimetrodon after it chews up his axe (don’t worry, Yor, it’s back in one piece in the next scene), Yor goes boating, Yor snogs the priestess. In between all the carnage, Yor offers many philosophical insights and observations. On modern technology: ‘Damn talking box!’ On tyrants: ‘You believe you’re a god, but you think like a murderer.’ On local cuisine: ‘The blood of your enemy makes you stronger.’ Of course, it all ends in a massive laser battle against the mechanical hordes of a cloaked John Steiner, who might be an illusion but, like, has to ‘physically push the button’. Well spotted, Yor!

Yor, The Hunter From The Future (1983)

Yor! He’s The Man!!

The model work and SFX are incredibly variable, with everything from the ridiculous giant bat to a cave flood that is surprisingly well realised. The dinosaur battles feature practical models, and those are stiff and unconvincing, with tongues being the only obvious moving parts. The fight scenes and choreography aren’t exactly a triumph, either, with villains regularly attacking our hero one at a time, but, then again, I’ve seen a lot worse.

Cléry came to fame, or perhaps notoriety, in the title role of the erotic movie ‘The Story of O’ (1975) and had been a ‘Bond Girl’ in ‘Moonraker’ (1979). Pigozzi was a veteran of Italian cinema, whose long career included appearances in Westerns, Thrillers, Police Procedurals, Eurospy movies, and horror pictures for cult director Mario Bava. Steiner also appeared for Bava in the underrated ‘Beyond the Door II/Shock’ (1978), which was the master’s final film.

It’s hard to dislike a movie that cheerfully crams in dinosaurs, androids, cavemen and spaceships, and it would be dangerous to incur the wrath of Yor by doing so. After all, he is The Man.

Just remember: this is Yor’s World. We just live in it.

Captain America ll: Death Too Soon (1979)

Captain America !! : Death Too Soon (1979)‘That means in about 4 weeks they’ll all have aged about 70 years. That’s impossible!’

Superhero Captain America is called into service again when a top research scientist is kidnapped by a powerful super villain, who is planning to blackmail the country with a weapon adapted from the boffin’s work

Before all that ‘Avengers’ malarkey, Captain America had already strutted his stuff on screens both big and small. Firstly, in a 1944 movie serial and then in 2 made for television movies in the late 1970s. Both of these starred chunky Reb Brown as the good Captain, an actor best remembered these days as ’Yor, Hunter From The Future’ (1983) and for the lead in appalling ‘so bad it’s good’ classic ‘Space Mutiny’ (1988). There was another movie about the character in the early 1990s but it was not a success.

Here, Brown flexes his pecs (and his plastic shield) in the iconic blue suit as he takes on purse snatchers and the faceless goons of bad guy Christopher Lee. Yes, that’s right! Christopher Lee! Sadly, Lee is handed the sort of thankless, generic character and dialogue he could have played in his sleep. The cast is rounded out with some familiar faces from TV and Bond girl Lana ‘sister of Natalie’ Wood, who played Plenty O’Toole in ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971).

So what’s Lee up to that catches the Captain’s attention? Well, he’s kidnaped this top biologist with the idea of using his anti-ageing research — in reverse! He tests the resulting gas on the generic small town where the husbandless Wood lives with her young son and his pet mutt. The kid desperately needs a father figure of course, making for the readymade white bread family unit so beloved of uninspired scriptwriters and TV executives everywhere (but especially in America). The Cap rides about on his custom bike, does some oil painting (he’s a sensitive soul, really), throws a few thugs into cardboard boxes, and jumps off not-that-high buildings in slow-mo a bit like ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, which this whole enterprise is obviously trying so hard to be.

Once Lee starts blackmailing world governments from his secret prison HQ (it’s just a couple of ordinary rooms in an ordinary prison), you might reasonably expect the story to escalate a little, but no, Brown is still left on his own to take on the villainous hordes (actually just Lee himself and about 4 guys from ‘Rent-a-Goon’). Pretty scientist Connie Selleca (mostly remembered for the TV soap/show ‘Hotel’) is trying to formulate an antidote back at home base, but not having a lot of luck. Now, l’m not saying that attractive, young brunettes can’t be top scientists, but you’d think the government would have teams of experts working at the problem, given the level of threat involved. When Selleca comes up with an antidote, she tries it on herself of course, exhibiting a thorough knowledge of sound scientific and medical procedure.

Captain America !!: Death Too Soon (1979)

‘What do you mean ‘press 1 to report a mad man trying to take over the world’?

As you’ll have gathered by now, this is very weak and mediocre in every single department. Stunts and action sequences are at a premium, probably because there was no more budget than for a couple of television episodes. The only real notable performance comes from Lee, of course, but even he can’t do much with this, and the producers quite sensibly decided to keep his involvement fairly minimal! To be fair, though, he was probably only available for a couple of days filming, and would hardly have been inspired to his best work by the flimsy, lifeless script.

The global success of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ meant that American TV spent an awful lot of time trying to recreate it with various ‘Ordinary Joes’ acquiring ‘special powers’ of one sort or another and going to work for ‘secret government agencies’. Foreign spies never stood a chance! A few of these pilots actually did make it to a series. There was Ben Murphy turning invisible with his digital watch as the ‘Gemini l\/Ian’ and Patrick Duffy getting all wrinkly after spending too much time in the shower as ‘The Man From Atlantis.’ He seemed to have a bit of a thing for showers, that man.

At least the good Captain got two bites of the cherry at a series but, alas, no one was very impressed.

Space Mutiny (1988)

Space Mutiny (1988)‘Surrender, or be blown to astro-dust!’

The ‘Southern Star’ is carrying the last remnants of humanity across the galaxy, looking for a new Earth. Along the way they are menaced by space pirates, but the biggest danger is much closer to home.  As part of a plot to drive them towards a planet of his own choosing, their renegade security officer begins orchestrating acts of deadly sabotage.

Oh dear. Once in a while you come across something so remorselessly bad is just impossible to say a positive word about it. This is such a film. Yes, the SFX, miniature craft and the space battles aren’t bad. That’s true. But as they’re lifted wholesale from ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (1978), I’m afraid they don’t really count!  Cylons become space pirates, beefcake star Reb Brown sits in a mismatched ‘Viper’ cockpit and some of the footage runs backwards. It’s seamless.

Moving inside the ‘Galactica’ (sorry the ‘Southern Star’), we come across the next big problem: the set design. Have you ever heard of brick walls inside a spaceship? Well, this baby’s got ‘em!  Above decks may be all blank plastic walls and early 1980s home computer graphics, but where the ‘real work’ gets done? Well, that resembles an old, deserted factory. With a couple of motorised golf carts and daylight coming in through the windows. Apparently, cinematographer Vincent G Cox was aware of the last problem and used filters to give the light an orange glow. Fine. Good man. Unfortunately, no one informed the processing lab and they colour-corrected the orange glow back into daylight!  Oops.

Space Mutiny (1988)

The Engineering Deck of the ‘Southern Star’.

Then there’s the star-studded cast. Commander Adama is played by Cameron Mitchell in a silly, stick-on Father Christmas beard. He’d been a regular on late 1960s TV hit ‘The High Chaparral’ but his movie career had taken in such epic millstones as ‘Supersonic Man’ (1978) and Jerry Warren’s hilarious ‘Frankenstein Island’ (1981). Beefcake hero Reb Brown was both the late 1970s TV movie ‘Captain America’ and ‘Yor, Hunter from the Future’ (1983) (‘Yor!!! He’s the man!’)

Brown’s real-life wife Cisse Cameron is our heroine. Her other movie credits are pretty limited. But, best of all, opposing them is bad guy John Phillip Law, briefly a star in Europe in the 1960s (‘Barbarella’ (1967) and ‘Diabolik’ (1968)) whose stateside career never really took off. He doesn’t so much chew the scenery here as projectile vomit pieces of it toward the camera. ‘Take that, you space bitch!’ he screams whilst simultaneously having some kind of a medical episode.

Next up is the script. It’s not very good. Actually, it’s often stupid and rather painful. Character motivations are illogical and actions simply make no sense. After appointing Beefcake as their new champion, the bridge crew throw a drinks party, seemingly forgetting their imminent peril. A group of mysterious telepathic women in leotards come on board and spent all their time dancing in slow motion and indulging in allegedly significant (but completely meaningless) voiceovers. What have they got to do with anything? Search me. All the dialogue is terribly bland or desperately contrived.

So what happens? Well, our heroine’s a feisty one (apparently) and blames Beefcake for the death of her (unseen) friend when he piles his Viper up in the Galactica’s landing bay. The two hate each other on sight (yawn!) but, in no time at all, they’re snuggled up on the deck in the hydroponic garden. ‘Can a woman buy a man a drink in your galaxy?’ she simpers, delivering the best chat-up line ever. Mind you, seconds before that she’d been doing fairly obscene things with a hula-hoop on the dance floor, so he’d probably got the idea already. (Nice to see hula hoops making a comeback in the distant future). Meanwhile, Law and his lieutenants are blowing things up and silencing undesirables (‘This is mutiny, this is treason, which I warn you I must report!’) They also have a troop of goons who run around a lot and wear balaclava helmets. Well, it can get pretty cold in a spaceship sometimes. Especially when it looks like a deserted factory.

Space Mutiny (1988)

He’s the Man !!!!!

Our golden couple clue into the conspiracy, of course, and have to be silenced. There is a lot more running about with colourful ray gun fire and goons taking headers from gantries every few seconds. Strangely they always do this in pairs wearing those balaclava helmets so we can’t see their faces. Why? Well, there are only two stuntmen named in the credits. You figure it out.

Anyway, Cameron gets captured and Law makes a kind offer to sort out her orthodontic requirements (‘It’s not unlike dental equipment on Earth; not that you’d know anything about that!), but she escapes by convincing her guard to strip to his underpants. It’s probably the least persuasive seduction scene ever put on film. The cracking climax features a nail-biting chase on the motorised golf carts (‘You meddling fool’ / ‘Son of a bitch!’) and the credits roll accompanied by an excellent slab of 1980s synthesised cock rock: “My moment is here, my moment is now… Here I stand! On the Edge of a Dream! The future before me and time in between…” Wow. It’s a real ‘punch the air’ moment!  I know I did.

To be fair, original director Dave Winters had to bail early due to family problems and replacement Neal Sundstrom was really ‘sold a kipper’ when he picked up the ball. Both of them tried to get their names taken off the finished film, although Winters was not successful.

But not everyone showed such a deplorable lack of enthusiasm for the project. Lt Lemont (biggest hair on board) is killed fairly early on when she uncovers the despicable machinations of Law and his woolly helmeted friends. Even so, she still turns up at her station on the bridge later on in the film. Twice. Now, there’s dedication for you!

Altogether now… “Maybe I’ll fall and maybe I’ll fly… Here I stand!  On the Edge of a Dream!”