The Lost Continent (England 1968)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 12/31/01
Produced And Directed By: Michael Carreras
Written By: Dennis Wheatley (based on the novel "Uncharted Seas")
Cast: Eric Porter, Hildegard Knef, Suzanna Leigh, Dana Gillespie, cameo by Michael Ripper

A bizarre, fascinating, and sometimes disturbing tale of horror from the pen of Dennis Wheatley and the fine folks at Hammer Studios. The film opens onboard a cargo ship as we're introduced to an eclectic and somewhat dislikable group of passengers with various sordid pasts. We also learn that apart from smuggling passengers, the good captain (a stern Eric Porter) is smuggling illegal explosives. Things take a turn for the worse when the ship is crippled by a storm and winds up trapped in the Sargasso Sea - except that the seaweed there has a taste for flesh and blood. Things become more bizarre when they discover land, as well as survivors from other shipwrecks dating all the way back to Hernando Cortez. Unfortunately, the descendants of Cortez are just a little bit crazy, and are determined to kill the newcomers and steal their supplies. It's a good thing those illegal explosives are still on the ship...

The film is quite interesting, and what it basically boils down to is just throwing a bunch of unpleasant people together to see how they deal with some unimaginable and horrific situation. There really aren't any heroes or "good guys" in the film, but through the course of events, everyone has a shot at redemption. Apart from the interesting social dynamic, the film is punctuated by some astounding eye-popping effects, some terrible rubber monsters, and Dana Gillespie's incredible bosom. Whoa... The ghostly scenes of lost shipwrecks surrounded by vicious weeds and shrouded in mist are quite awe-inspiring, and it's the visual flair of the film that sets it apart and makes it a memorable journey. Well, that and Ms. Gillespie's aforementioned contribution.