Cave babe movies were a big thing once upon a time. And without exception, they're always insanely silly (almost never intentionally, though, except for Caveman
). Lots of burly dudes in furry underpants and hot supermodel chicks in animal skin bikinis, a blatant disregard for basic anthropology and paleontology, and, of course, no English dialog (again except in Caveman as a joke).
And by far the silliest is When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Released in 1970, this movie is just plain a laugh riot from beginning to end. The only coherent dialogue in any recognizable language whatsoever comes from a pompous narrator at the beginning who explains that there is no moon yet (!!!), and primitive humans worship the sun. And there's also a cultural bias against blonde women, who at birth are condemned to be sacrificed to the sun when they reach adulthood. So much the narrator tells us, and so much we infer from what passes for "caveman-speak" in the movie.
So the movie kicks off with three half-naked blonde chicks about to get sacrificed on top of a cliff by a mountain-dwelling tribe, under the supervision of a dude named Kingsor, who is either the chief or the shaman or the high priest or whatever. He's in charge, in any event.
So anyway, the three women are apparently supposed to get clubbed to death by three dudes wearing dinosaur costumes. The ritual is briefly interrupted when one of the ladies tries to escape, only to fall off the cliff and sacrifice herself prematurely, taking one of the dino-costume dudes with her. Then suddenly a great big windstorm kicks up. In a very bizarre sequence, some of the cavemen get swept (blown or sucked by the wind) off of the cliff.
Sanna, one of the intended sacrificial babes, runs and jumps off of the cliff. Even though we saw quite clearly that the fall killed everyone else except one dude (more on him in a minute), she of course survives and lands safely in the ocean, where she's picked up a passing raft crewed by fishermen from a rival tribe. This is witnessed by the other guy who went over the cliff.
The guys on the raft are led by hunky man-meat Tara, who immediately takes a liking to the blonde newcomer. Which proves to eventually be his undoing, since he already has a main squeeze back home. With Sanna in tow, the group returns back to their village, located on the beach.
Yeah, it's the old "beach people vs. rock people" dynamic, also used in One Million Years B.C.
And here is a good time to discuss what passes for the dialog. It's utter nonsense, two-to-three-syllable words repeated over and over so we "get" what they mean. For example, as the fishermen are returning, Tara yells "Okita!" over and over at the top of his lungs. This seems to mean "friend" (as in, Tara is politely announcing from a distance that the raftload of guys approaching are familiar pals). Later, we'll get "Necro!" meaning "kill" or "condemned to die," appropriately, and also "Akoba!" which is used in wildly different situations and seems to mean either "friend" (as a variant of "Okita!"), "help," or "over here," depending on context.
Anyway, Tara's lady friend Ayak is less than pleased to see that her boytoy brought this blonde hussy back (in fairness to Sanna, though, she doesn't exactly throw herself at Tara). The tribe have captured an elasmosaurus for food, but it breaks loose while some stupid kids mess with its ropes when everyone is busy welcoming the fishermen back and trying to figure out what to do with Sanna. Man, even in prehistoric times, kids were stupid, meddlesome little s**ts.
Bizarrely, instead of returning to the sea, the elasmosaurus decides to rampage through the village. Tara and his friend Khaku set its ass on fire and burns it to death, and there is much rejoicing (and I assume, offscreen spankings for the kids who let the thing loose).
Ammon, the chief, decides that Sanna will not be "Necro!" and she is adopted as part of their tribe. And there was some moe rejoicing.
Meanwhile, back at sun-lover town up in the mountains, Kingsor is already preparing for the next sacrifice, and we see that they keep the blonde women all locked up in a corral. This somehow leads to a catfight scene. But then Kane, the guy who got blown off of the cliff earlier during the storm and survived, returns and informs the bossman that Sanna isn't dead. Kingsor freaks the f**k out, and postpones the next ritual until they can complete the first one by finding and making Sanna very "Necro!" (I guess they killed the third blonde lady in the meantime).
Back at beach-babe paradise, Ayak grows increasingly hateful towards poor Sanna, when, really, it's all Tara's fault. A catfight ensues. Another one. The two cave-babes roll around biting and slapping one another in the surf, before the tribe breaks it up.
Kingsor and his warriors arrive, and he convinces Ammon and everyone else, through sheer force of personality, that the sun must be appeased. Sanna must die. She overhears this, though, and escapes, but Ayak rats her out, and so Kingsor sends Kane and some expendable mountain men to retrieve her. She evades them in the jungle.
They prove to be a really sucky search party. One gets killed by a giant snake. Kane and the other two then come upon a cave with bones littered around the entrance and decide this'll be a great place to search for Sanna. Upon entering, they get attacked by the really p**sed off chasmosaurus who lives there, and only Kane survives, but is wounded.
Sanna survives in the wilderness on her own, despite a rough start where she's almost swallowed by a man-eating (cave-babe-eating?) plant. She finds and befriends a baby dinosaur, and uses its shell as a place to sleep in. When the mother dinosaur returns, she thinks Sanna is her other baby and "adopts" her. Aww!
Meanwhile, Kingsor has essentially taken over the beach-town and gotten everyone all into sun-worship. Tara refuses to abide by the whole Sanna-must-be-"Necro!" thing, and his relationship with Ayak sours further. He takes pal Khaku and some guys to find her. They prove to be a better expeditionary force than Kane's, easily tracking the bad guys to the cave. They find and help the wounded Kane, and are attacked by the chasmosaurus, who spears poor Khaku with its horn before Tara heroically runs from it, and (mostly accidentally) tricks it into charging straight off of a cliff.
Kane reveals Sanna eluded them, but when Tara finds some of her hair caught on the cave-babe-eating plant, he thinks she's dead. They return to the village. He doesn't make up with Ayak, and, indeed, his moping over Sanna has Kingsor thinking that he could prove a bad influence. Uh-oh.
During a joint beach people/mountain people hunt led by Tara sometime later, they attack the mommy dinosaur, and Sanna comes to its rescue. This proves she's still alive, so when word reaches Kingsor it's all "Sanna Necro!" again, and, when Tara tries to interfere, Kingsor tries to have him sacrificed to a sea monster or something.
He survives and escapes, but is recaptured, whilst Kingsor's warriors try and get Sanna, and when the mommy dinosaur saves her and carries her off, he thinks she's been eaten (unaware of the whole "she got adopted" thing) and is convinced she's dead again, and it all becomes very, very repetitive, ultimately culminating in a crab attack and tidal wave caused by the sudden formation of the moon at the end, that is very awesome and cool and makes not a damn bit of sense.
The tribes prove incapable of hitting the crabs' weak points for massive damage and get eaten. Kingsor tries to stop the onrushing tidal wave by pulling a prehistoric Gandalf/Moses thing where he attempts to command it to stop. This has about the effect you'd expect, and the last we see of him and Ammon, they've going blub-blub under da sea.
The surprisingly bleak ending also sees Ayak conveniently sinking into quicksand-from-nowhere, the beach village destroyed by the tidal wave, and everyone except for Sanna, Tara, Kane and the dead Khaku's girlfriend (who I guess has hooked up with Kane now?) dies. The four of them escape on a raft and manage to ride to high ground and survive, and it just sort f**k**g ends.
What a weird movie.
Obviously, the stop-motion animation special effects are the real draw here. As opposed to Ray Harryhausen, the dinosaurs and other prehistoric critters were animated by Jim Danforth.
One aspect that grates on me is the lack of any therapod dinosaurs such as T-rexes. Apparently, Danforth originally intended to include them, but when he showed a model of a ceratosaurus to homophobic producer Aida Young, she told him under no circumstances would there be any two-legged dinosaurs that walked on the balls of their feet. Their posture and how they held their arms, she said, reminded her of "a poof in high heels."
So, there you have it. Therapods are gay! At least according to Ms. Aida Young.