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The Land That Time Forgot / quad / UK

24.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Land That Time Forgot
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley, Godfrey James, Bobby Parr
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley, Godfrey James, Bobby Parr,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
From the author of Tarzan

The Land That Time Forgot was the first entry in a series of British sci-fi/fantasy b-movies that were directed by Kevin Connor and starred the prolific American actor Doug McClure, known for his hammy leading man performances (McClure was one of the inspirations for The Simpsons’ Troy ‘You may remember me from…’ McClure). The series continued with At the Earth’s Core (1976) and The People That Time Forgot (1977), and ended with Warlords of Atlantis (1978). The initial three were shepherded through production by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky’s Amicus Productions, which was based at Shepperton studios and is perhaps best remembered for its series of portmanteau horror films. By the time Warlords of Atlantis was released the company was almost defunct and so EMI Films stepped in and produced it, utilising many of the same cast and crew as the previous films.

The Land That Time Forgot starts with the torpedoing of a passenger ship by a German U-boat crew. The few remaining survivors, including Bowen Tyler (McClure) and Lisa Clayton (Penhaligon), manage to overcome the U-boat’s crew when it surfaces and they force the captain to pilot the craft back to allied waters. The crew decide to sabotage their plans and the craft ends up completely lost in unknown waters. They happen across a strange island and find an underwater cave through which they pilot the U-boat. When they surface in the islands interior they are immediately set upon by a dinosaur-like creature that eats one of the crew before Tyler manages to decapitate it. The crew then venture through the strange land and come across more giant beasts and a tribe of primitive cavemen before discovering oil, which they hope will allow them to escape back to civilisation.

The film is never less than entertaining and McClure definitely gives it all he’s got. The creature effects have really dated badly, however, and are definitely not up to the standard set by Ray Harryhausen. There’s one excruciatingly bad sequence where the crew blast away at a pair of T-Rex like creatures and the second one takes an age to fall over unconvincingly (explained away by saying that the creature’s brains are slow to send signals). There are some decent special effects like the U-boat scenes underwater but it’s one film that hasn’t stood the test of time as well as some of its contemporaries.

The brilliant artwork on this quad, featuring a cheeky image of a T-Rex underwater (which is definitely not in the film itself), is by Tom Chantrell, the celebrated British artist whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a number of other designs by him on this site.

At the Earth’s Core / quad / style B / UK

08.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
At the Earth's Core
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant, Godfrey James, Sean Lynch, Keith Barron, Helen Gill, Anthony Verner
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant, Godfrey James, Sean Lynch, Keith Barron, Helen Gill, Anthony Verner,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 38 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
From the creator of 'The Land That Time Forgot'

At the Earth’s Core was the first entry in a series of British sci-fi/fantasy b-movies that were directed by Kevin Connor and starred the prolific American actor Doug McClure, known for his hammy leading man performances (McClure was one of the inspirations for The Simpsons’Troy ‘You may remember me from…’ McClure). The series began with The Land That Time Forgot (1975), was followed by The People That Time Forgot (1977) and ended with Warlords of Atlantis (1978). The initial three were shepherded through production by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky’s Amicus Productions, which was based at Shepperton studios and is perhaps best remembered for its series of portmanteau horror films. By the time Warlords of Atlantis was released the company was almost defunct and so EMI Films stepped in and produced it, utilising many of the same cast and crew as the previous films.

Like the first three films in the series, At the Earth’s Core is based on a novel by the American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and prolific creator of adventure and sci-fi tales. First published in 1914, the story introduced the author’s creation of Pellucidar, which is the idea that Earth is a hollow shell with another land 500 miles beneath the crust. Pellucidar featured in a number of other Burroughs stories and Tarzan even visited it in a 1929 story.

Set in Victorian Britain, the film features McClure playing David Innes, an American financier working with scientist Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing) who has built a giant drilling machine nicknamed the Iron Mole. The idea of the machine is to make the creation of tunnels much easier and the pair have decided to first test it on a Welsh mountain. After launch, the Mole takes an unexpected turn and they find themselves in a strange land with a pink sky and giant unidentified fauna. Suddenly they are attacked by a giant dinosaur-like creature with a beak-like face, but are eventually rescued by an aggressive group of pig-faced cavemen who add them to a gang of primitive humans they have enslaved, including Dia (the stunning Caroline Munro). Soon they are taken to a city ruled over by the evil, pterodactyl-like creatures called The Mahar who, they are horrified to discover, eat human sacrifices. It’s up to David to find a way of escaping from their enslavement and put an end to the Mahar’s reign of terror.

The film has aged pretty badly, not least in the area of the special effects with the creatures looking particularly hokey. The production team decided not to use the stop-motion style of the previous film and instead went for stuntmen in suits for most of the creatures. It’s safe to say that, whilst it may have wowed audiences of the time, it now looks extremely hokey. The production design is otherwise excellent, with some superb sets and lots of effort put into props like the Iron Mole. McClure is his usual ebullient self and Cushing gives it plenty of gusto, although the strange high-pitched voice he affects gets very grating after a while. The score by Michael Vickers is notably decent.

The brilliant artwork on this quad, featuring a similarly chunky title treatment as seen on the quad for the first film in the series, is by Tom Chantrell, the celebrated British artist whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a number of other designs by him on this site.

Note that there are two styles of the UK quad and I’ve called this one style 2. The more common style 1 (see this picture) is fairly similar but features a bit more artwork at the bottom of the poster. Note the extra vegetation on style 1 and the alternate placement of the credits block, with style 2’s covering over part of the fire-breathing frog. I’m not sure why there are two versions of the poster and the answer is sadly likely to be lost to time, with Chantrell having passed away in 2001. This poster is also undersized widthways but I don’t believe it has been trimmed.

Warlords of Atlantis / B2 / style B / Japan

10.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Warlords of Atlantis
AKA
7 Cities to Atlantis (Japan - English title) | Warlords of the Deep (USA)
Year of Film
1978
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Doug McClure, Peter Gilmore, Shane Rimmer, Lea Brodie, Michael Gothard, Hal Galili, John Ratzenberger, Derry Power, Donald Bisset
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Doug McClure, Peter Gilmore, Shane Rimmer, Lea Brodie, Michael Gothard, Hal Galili, John Ratzenberger, Derry Power, Donald Bisset,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20.5" x 29"
SS or DS
SS

Warlords of Atlantis was the fourth and final entry in a series of British sci-fi/fantasy b-movies that were directed by  and starred the prolific American actor , known for his hammy leading man performances (McClure was one of the inspirations for The Simpsons’ Troy ‘You may remember me from…’ McClure). The series began with The Land That Time Forgot in 1975 and continued with At the Earth’s Core (1976) and The People That Time Forgot (1977). The initial three were shepherded through production by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky’s Amicus Productions, which was based at Shepperton studios and is perhaps best remembered for its series of portmanteau horror films. By the time Warlords of Atlantis was released the company was almost defunct and so EMI Films stepped in and produced it, utilising many of the same cast and crew as the previous films.

The story is typically ludicrous and the film begins with a red hot meteorite crashing into the earth’s ocean during the title sequence. The film then moves to a large boat floating out at sea at the end of the 19th century with an English archaeologist Professor Aitken () and his son Charles () onboard. The pair have chartered a crew, led by engineer Greg Collinson (McClure), to take them out to a spot in the ocean where they plan to use a diving bell to explore the ocean floor for reasons unclear. When Charles and Greg travel below the surface the craft is attacked by a (very rubbery) prehistoric sea monster, which they manage to fight off before discovering a strange gold statue.

After the statue is sent up to the ship, three of the crew members decide they want to keep it for themselves and set about sabotaging the mission by cutting the line to the diving bell and shooting the professor. Suddenly a giant octopus attacks the ship, grabbing the crew members and dragging them under, before collecting the diving bell and depositing them all in a mysterious undersea chamber. The group are greeted by Atmir ( looking like an electro-band reject) who explains that Atlantis is not a myth and that it is in fact comprised of seven cities, some of which are crumbling ruins thanks to attacks from huge creatures. After leading the group to the fourth city Vaar, most of the crew are thrown in to prisons but Charles is granted an audience with the Atlantean king and queen, which is where their true origins and intentions are revealed.

Whilst everything moves with a decent pace the story is more than a bit garbled and the low-budget is stretched to breaking point in several scenes with some terrible matte paintings illustrating the point. The creature work in particular is mostly of the low-grade variety, although the giant octopus scenes are relatively well done and some elements of the production design are very successful (the diving bell is great, for example). The acting is mostly good, whilst obviously of the b-movie variety, with McClure and Gilmore both being eminently watchable and the score by Michael Vickers deserves special mention. Despite its obvious shortcomings, Warlords of Atlantis is still a very enjoyable film and marked a decent end to the run of films from Connor and McClure.

The artwork on this Japanese B2 is by Seito, one of my favourite Japanese artists who was responsible for several fantastic illustrated posters during the 1970s and 1980s. Little is known about the man himself, even in his native country. To see the other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

The House Where Evil Dwells / one sheet / USA

24.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
The House Where Evil Dwells
AKA
Ghost in Kyoto (Japan)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Edward Albert, Susan George, Doug McClure, Amy Barrett, Mako Hattori, Tsuiyuki Sasaki, Toshiya Maruyama, Tsuyako Okajima, Henry Mitowa, Mayumi Umeda
Origin of Film
USA | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Edward Albert, Susan George, Doug McClure, Amy Barrett, Mako Hattori, Tsuiyuki Sasaki, Toshiya Maruyama, Tsuyako Okajima, Henry Mitowa, Mayumi Umeda,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
820070
Tagline
An ancient curse has turned their lives into a nightmare of lust and revenge.

Artwork by the American artist John Solie features on this one sheet for the release of the 1982 USA/Japan co-production, The House Where Evil Dwells. Set and shot in Japan, the film is a horror based on a novel by James Hardiman and is effectively a haunted house tale. It opens in the city of Kyoto in 1840 and sees a samurai warrior return home to discover his wife being unfaithful with another man. In an utterly graceless, slow-motion sequence we watch as he butchers the pair before committing seppuku (ritual suicide). As the house is ravaged by a storm, a miniature figurine depicting a pair of lovers (one a devil like creature) is swept into the foundations, presumably cursing the place.

140 years later, the film picks up as US diplomat Alex Curtis (Doug McClure) meets an old friend, Ted Fletcher (Edward Albert) and his wife Laura (Susan George) and daughter at the airport. The family have traveled there to live for a few months for reasons that aren’t exactly made clear (something to do with his career?) and Alex has found them the perfect house to stay in. Of course it’s the same one depicted earlier and it’s now reported to be haunted. The couple soon begin to experience strange occurrences, with the audience first seeing the ghosts of the butchered lovers and angry samurai moving around the family before things take a dark turn as they begin to possess each one in turn. It soon becomes clear that the ghosts intend to free themselves from purgatory by causing Ted, Laura and Alex to commit a similar sort of murder-suicide. A Zen monk living nearby tries to warn the family and stop the ghosts before it’s too late.

It’s fair to say that The House Where Evil Dwells is no masterpiece and in fact is one of the clunkiest horror films I’ve ever watched. Director Kevin Connor, who is best known for the series of sci-fi fantasies he directed for Amicus productions (e.g. The Land That Time Forgot), has since said that his submitted version was heavily cut by producers, removing many scenes of character development. There’s no doubt this would have helped a bit, but it’s the acting from the likes of McClure and Ted Fletcher that really sinks the film. McClure is famous as an inspiration for the character of Troy McClure on The Simpsons, a Hollywood has-been reduced to appearing in shady infomercials and other such work. The actor himself never really found fame in Hollywood, despite appearances in over 500 films and TV shows. On the evidence of his performance here, it’s not hard to see why. Fletcher is perhaps even worse and Susan George, although great in Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, practically phones it in here. The lowlights of the film are undoubtedly the sex scenes between Laura and Ted and later Laura and Alex. Cringeworthy doesn’t quite cover it!

John Solie has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

Motel Hell / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Motel Hell
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod, Wolfman Jack
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod, Wolfman Jack,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--