The Lost Continent

For years, I brushed this film off in spite of the fact that I'm an avid fan of Hammer horror. I didn't have a reason for avoiding it. It just didn't strike me as...Hammer-y. Last night, I finally sat down with a glass of Vanilla Coke and popped this swank sci-fi digression into my DVD player. And...it's not very Hammer-y. It's not very good either. A cargo ship full of suspicious characters collides with a hurricane and drifts into murky, turbid waters. Our curious commuters are soon assailed by killer seaweed, a giant hermit crab and Spanish conquistadors who take orders from a brainwashed child.

The Lost Continent is all over the place. It's confusing. It's poorly edited. It's achingly slow. Things happen for no reason. Nothing is ever explained. Can I end the review yet? No? Damn. The first hour is a tame, clunky adventure that peddles itself forward on the strength of unique imagery and a few strong performances. It's obvious that every scene was shot on a cheap, claustrophobic set, but to the crew's credit, the set itself is well-designed. Everything is draped in copper sheets of fog. From a visual standpoint, The Lost Continent is presentable. I would compare it to a beautiful woman with a ghastly personality.

Eric Porter and Tony Beckley are convincing as the male leads, but they aren't given anything to work with. None of the characters are impressed by the otherworldly shenanigans that they cross paths with. Killer seaweed? Old hat, apparently. A scorpion the size of a minivan? Bitch, please. An octopus from Hell? Been there, done that. I can't express how random the script is. The members of the Spanish Inquisition cult (insert Monty Python reference here) have balloons tied to their shoulders. Because...because they do! Maybe they have back problems. Fuck, I don't know.

I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy certain moments of The Lost Continent. The third act is teeming with tacky special effects, and I couldn't help but smile at the "crab vs. scorpion" death match. However, this is easily one of the worst Hammer outings that I've ever seen. Even the worst Hammer outings are worth watching, though. You'll have to use your own judgment on this one. I stopped giving advice after I told Ryan that he seemed okay to drive. Too soon? I thought so, but I'm leaving it anyway.

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