CREATURES THE WORLD FORGOT
RELEASED OUT NOW! 1971 | 18 | Blu-ray
Director Don Chaffey
Cast Julie Ege, Brian O’shaughnessy,
Tony Bonner, Rosalie Crutchley
Creatures The Film Forgot is the easy gag: following such monster-loaded Hammer epics as One Million Years BC and When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, the lack of prehistoric beasts in a movie whose title explicitly trades on their marquee value feels cheeky to say the least.
But that’s unfair on this Stone Age quest tale, a true outlier in the studio’s output and one that feels, five decades on, courageously experimental. Entirely wordless – do paleolithic grunts count as dialogue? – it strives for realism in place of pulpy, history-twisting thrills, substituting porcupines, pythons and cave bears for Dynamation behemoths.
If it misses the magic of a Ray Harryhausen then it benefits from natural wonder: the location work in Africa’s Namib desert is absolutely stunning, a sandblasted, boulder-strewn backdrop that sells this hard-edged survival story better than any anachronistic dino ever could.
Extras Kim Newman and Sean Hogan supply an enjoyable commentary. Jonathan Rigby presents a genuinely fascinating account of the film’s origins as a free-floating title for which Hammer sought not just a story but a genre (25 minutes). Rachel Knightley profiles Norwegian star Julie Ege (seven minutes). David Huckvale unpicks the score by prolific Italian composer Mario Nascimbene (26 minutes).
There’s also a chance to see director Don Chaffey’s trio of Children’s Film Foundation shorts from 1953: Skid Kids (49 minutes), A Good Pull Up (18 minutes) and Watch Out! (18 minutes). Plus: image gallery; trailer; an 80-page booklet. Nick Setchfield
Julie Ege turned down the lead female role (ultimately played by Martine Beswick) in Hammer’s Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde.