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Reviews from the Edge: MST3K The Land that Time Forgot

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Greetings from the edge!

Amicus Productions

Up periscopes and damn the dinosaurs, full speed ahead for The Land that Time Forgot, the 1975 adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s tale of a stranded WWI u-boat and the rescued passengers of a downed liner trapped in a hidden pocket of prehistory populated by dinosaurs and cavemen. Starring Doug McClure as Bowen Tyler, John McEnery as Captain Von Shoenvorts and Susan Penhaligon as Lisa Clayton.

So let’s see why a classic tale from a master of pulp fantasy adapted by Michael Moorcock, Nebula award-winning author of the Elric cycle and the Eternal Champion series managed to end up as just more riffing fodder for Jonah and the bots. Batten down the hatches and mind the plesiosaurs, gentle viewers, we’re in for a stormy voyage!

This week, the bots have a birthday, the invention exchange features M. Night Shyamalan Living, (“The better living magazine… with a TWIST!”), and the crew finally figure out that Kinga has been stealing their ideas all along. What a TWIST!

Michael Moorcock has gone on record as saying that he faithfully adapted Burroughs’ story, but the producers rewrote the final twenty minutes and it shows. The Land that Time Forgot, being a low budget 70’s pulp exploitation movie, has some fun moments and, despite the fact that the dinosaurs are puppets ( and apparently delicious! ) and the ending was sadly ruined by executive interference, it gives Jonah and the satellite’s crew plenty to riff and the audience some fun schlocky action to enjoy.

Ah how cute, I think I’ll call him bitey. (NETFLIX)

I couldn’t, with good conscience, pass on a moment to talk about Doug McClure, king of the B movie with more than 500 film and television appearances during his career. Doug McClure was best known for his roles in western and adventure films, as well as being part of the inspiration for the popular Simpsons character, Troy McClure. We’ll be seeing him again later in the season when Jonah and the bots lampoon At the Earth’s Core. He also appeared in the sequel to The Land that Time Forgot, aptly named The People that Time Forgot, and shared the screen with Patrick Wayne, son of the classic Western actor, John Wayne.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a metaphor for Doug’s career, but it is. (NETFLIX)

My favorite part of this episode is Kinga’s Mesozoic Ranch Dinosaur Barbecue, guaranteed cruelty-filled (yes that’s not a typo.) Never before has dining where man was not meant to meddle been more fun…or filling!

This was far and away a better episode than Star Crash, and that’s not just damning it with faint praise. The Land that Time Forgot brings some classic, pulpy adventure to the Satellite of Love, and Jonah and the bots bring some snarky on-point riffing to the land of dinosaur puppets and forehead applique cavemen. Spiced up with some excellent original segments and a catchy musical number, The Land that Time Forgot is one of my favorite episodes of the season.

Join us next week for episode 8, where we’ll journey back to classical times for the 1960 Italian swords and sandals exploitation epic, The Loves of Hercules, starring Jayne Mansfield and her husband Du Jour Mickey Hargitay. The pecs will be oily and the monsters rubbery, so make sure your popcorn is buttery and your couch is comfy. See ya there!

And always, remember, “Keep circulating the tapes!”

About Author

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Justin T. Williams hails from the Great state of Texas. His life has been a series of strange adventures that makes for intriguing writing but difficult laundry. Justin is known to his friends as a lifetime fan of comics, movies, and classic pulps. He lurks far from the sun, indulging in his favorite pastimes of writing and hoarding random bits of interesting but useless knowledge.

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