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"I first stayed up to watch the Lost Continent when I was a kid. Always a fan of Hammer films, The Lost Continent is probably my favourite of all. Repeated viewings since have done nothing to diminish the film, if anything they have enhanced it. It is difficult to put this film into any single genre, it probably falls under a combination of action/fantasy/horror/sci fi. It is based on the Dennis Wheatley novel Uncharted Seas, although there are substantial and necessary plot revisions in the film. The story is set on a rust bucket tramp steamer - the SS Corita, carrying an illegal cargo of high explosive, a dubious collection of passengers, and helmed by a moody, sarcastic captain - a typically strong performance from Eric Porter. Supported by a solid cast, this really makes the film tick. Among the passengers, Hildegard Knef is convincing as the wife of an exiled dictator, whom she is fleeing from. Tony Beckley plays the drunken playboy Basil. Nigel Stock plays a doctor fleeing from his dubious past, with his daughter in tow. Benito Carruthers plays a thug, sent after Knef's character. Among the crew is Neil McCallum as the pious Chief Engineer, Reg Lye as the helmsman, and Hammer regular Michael Ripper as the crew's barrackroom lawyer. The first half of the film sees the interaction of passengers and crew, the ship get damaged during a hurricane, a mutiny, and the abandoning of the ship. Later some of the crew and passengers return to the ship and this sees the second half of the film where they encounter man eating seaweed, a graveyard of ships, gigantic crustaceans and celapods, and the survivors of the previous shipwrecks, ruled over by the Spanish Inquisition.
The dvd release has 8 mins of unreleased footage which enhances and fleshes out the film nicely, making it a more complete viewing experience. Despite its age, the film creates a truly original and imaginative fantasy setting, with its yellow skies, swirling mists, and oceans of voracious seaweed. Hammer imported the top SFX guys from Disney for this, one of their most expensive films, to give it its unique and original look. Enhancing this is the superb psychedelic musical score of Gerard Schurmann, coupled with the great title track, performed by The Peddlers. For sheer movie originality and escapism, this one hits the spot. Sit back and let it take you away to a vivid and frightening world of imagination, with one of the most original movie scores ever, to accompany you on the way. Simply superb.
The Reptile is one of Hammer's lesser known outings and is set in the English countryside. A series of mysterious and unpleasant deaths happen around a mansion, inhabited a Doctor of Theology and his mysterious daughter. Noel Willman is the academic and his daughter is played by none other than Jacqueline Pearce who played Servalan in Blake's 7. Hammer regular, Michael Ripper appears as one of the locals, as does John Laurie, known to millions as Private Fraser from Dad's Army. Not quite in the league of The Lost Continent, The Reptile is, nonetheless, a very watchable and suspense filled film. Plays a great supporting role to The Lost Continent."
Twice the Hammer, half the fun
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 03/08/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Such a deal Anchor Bay has for you! When I saw these two Hammer films released together costing less than the individual releases, I jumped all over it. Maybe a bit hasty, but I am glad I didn't opt for buying these separately. There are two discs in the set, each containing their respective films.The first film, The Lost Continent (1968) is quite the horror show, and I don't mean that in a good way. A handful of people elect to take a less than luxury cruise aboard a pretty trampy steamer. Little do they know the captain is also hauling highly volatile explosive call Phos B that detonates when it comes in contact with water. Geez...maybe a leaky cargo ship isn't the best mode of transportation. Apparently only the captain is aware of this particular cargo, but the crew finds out soon enough when a breached hull starts flooding the compartment where a ton (literally) of the stuff is being kept. Good thing it's being stored in sealed, metal containers. Anyway, the ship has to travel outside the usual shipping lanes, as carrying this stuff improperly is highly illegal, and the captain is anxious to avoid such entanglements. The plot starts to deviate here, as a hurricane is coming, and the ship gets caught in some crazy seaweed. There is plenty of talk about how "We go where the weed takes us" which made me laugh as I kept thinking they where speaking of the illegal substance, and not seaweed. The seaweed turns out to house a giant HR Pufnstuf reject that has all kinds of ouchy tentacles and a voracious appetite. And that's not all...within this Sargasso sea are numerous sea faring ships, most derelict, but one is a Spanish Galleon, ruled by a doofus who calls himself 'El Supremo' which made me hungry for Taco Bell. I'm not kidding...there were conquistadors, inquisitors, and more. Supposedly they've been stuck here for a long time, and have adhered to the old ways of torture and fervent religious ideals. As you can imagine, the two groups clash, and the highly volatile explosives come into play. This film was just one great, big mish mash of vague plot threads, underdeveloped characters, lame direction, hokey effects, and annoying dialogue. The Reptile (1966) is the much better of the two films here, but isn't really considered to be one of Hammer's finer releases, but, I gotta tell you, after The Lost Continent, this movie seemed nothing short of a minor masterpiece. The story involves a man and wife inheriting a cottage from a recently deceased relative who died of mysterious causes. Turns out, he wasn't the only one in this town to die the way he did, and the young couple soon become involved with a well to do neighbor and his daughter who harbor a nasty secret. Seems the well to do man is something of a doctor, who traveled the world studying ancient religious practices. One religious sect that dealt with snakes and such didn't care for their secrets being exposed to the world, so they cursed the doctor and his daughter. What was the extent of the curse? It's pretty easy to figure out, and I felt a bit too much time was spent with the various characters being kept `in the dark' about what was going on... The sets, locations, costumes all had a suitable gothic feel to them, and the actors all seemed very competent. The direction was good, taking time to develop the plot, but I think more should have been revealed earlier, not relying on such a big hunk of exposition near the end to let the viewer in on the big mystery.As I said before, you get a real value here, if you are interested in either one of these movies as Anchor Bay seems to be following other studios in releasing some of the more dubious Hammer release in a double feature format. The cost of this one set is equal to the individual releases, so it's a two for one bargain. Special features are available for each film, with The Lost Continent featuring trailers and TV spots, a wide screen picture, a Hammer featurette, and a mini movie poster card. The Reptile features include movie and TV spots, a Hammer featurette called Vamps and a mini movie poster card that highlights this film along with Rasputin - The Mad Monk (1966), which led me to believe maybe these two films were originally released as a double feature, but I may be wrong. I've given this set three stars, but the breakdown is actually two stars for The Lost Continent and four stars for The Reptile, thusly splitting the difference for the dual release.Cookieman108"
I can live without "The Reptile," I wanted to revisit "The L
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There really is no logical reason for packing "The Lost Continent" and "The Reptile" together was you get beyond the fact they are both Hammer films produced two years apart. After all, they are set in different centuries on different continents and to not have an actor or monster in common. "The Reptile" was filmed on the same lot as "The Plague of the Zombies," so that could have made sense as a pairing, but logic does not appear to be the rationale here. I mean, "The Reptile" was part of a double-bill with "Rasputin, the Mad Monk," which does not make a whole lot of sense either. However, this is really a moot point because I picked up this set because I wanted "The Lost Continent," a B-movie that made an impression on me when I was a kid and saw it in the theater. It may well have been the first Hammer movie I ever saw, because it was not until we returned to the United States that I became familiar with all those Dracula and Frankenstein movies with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing (better known today for bookending the "Star Wars" movies).
After a sappy theme song that makes is sound like this is some sort of a romance and a strange funeral aboard a ship sailing through a bunch of miniatures, we go back to the beginning with the rust bucket of a tub fleeing a third world port ahead of the authorities. Captain Lansen (Eric Porter) is in a desperate situation, both financially and legally, and this appears to be the case for all of the rest of the passengers onboard. However, there is a bigger problem on board in terms of the illegal cargo, which is this stuff that explodes when it comes in contact with water, which is a major concern when you are suddenly in a leaky ship in the middle of a violent storm at sea. Eventually we end up in the Sargasso Sea and a 1960s version of the Bermuda Triangle of lost ships. There the crew encounter giant creatures and a Spanish galleon. Of course I want to say that "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition," but since you see conquistadors in the tracking shot that opens the narrative as we see a funeral being conducted aboard the ship, it is not that unexpected. It is Sarah (Dana Gillespie), the buxom wench walking on the killer kelp courtesy of snowshoes and a harnessed pair of balloons that is the signature image of the film.
With the virtue of several decades worth of hindsight, I think what made "The Lost Continent" work for me are the leads, because Porter and Neff neither look nor act like they are making a bad B movie. I have since since Porter in the original BBC production of "The Forsyte Saga," so clearly this was a step down for him, but you would never tell it from watching him. As Eva Peters, Hildegard Neff (which should actually be Knef), had played Trilby in a version of "Svengali" a decade earlier, and makes the most out of having left her ingenue days behind her. These are a couple of world weary people, so when they end up dealing with killer kelp, giant monsters, and fanatical priests, there is a dogmatic pragmatism that comes into play. I also have fond thoughts for Patrick (Jimmy Hanley), the bartender, not just because I find it hard to believe this tub has a bartender, but more importantly because you have to like a guy who refuses to abandon ship just because everybody else on board has done so. The special feature on Hammer films included shows several similar films about "Lands Before Time" that would have made more sense for pairing up in this DVD set, but enough of beating that dead horse.
For me "The Reptile" has a problelm with the title giving away the deep dark secret as to who is killing people in this remote little English town in Cornwall. There should be more of a "what the hell is going on here?" sense to the proceedings in this Gothic horror story. Captain Harry Spalding (Ray Barrett) inherits a cottage after this brother is murdered and moves in with his wife Valerie (Jennifer Daniel), where they discover that several locals have died because of mysterious snake bites. Dr. Franklyn (Noel Willman) keeps telling the Spaldings to leave and to leave his daughter Anna (Jacqueline Pearce) alone. Along with the information that the doctor was studying a snake cult in Borneo allows you to connect the dots in this one. The local eccentrics are Tom Bailey (Michael Ripper) and Mad Peter Crockett (John Laurie), the only ones in the village not to treat the newcomers like the plague. Again, if the title did not give away the game I might have enjoyed this one better, because everytime somebody wonders what's going on I thought: "Gee, do you think it mgiht be The Reptile?" There is a short documentary, narrated by Olvier Reed no less, focusing on the lady vampires in the Hammer films, which , of course, means it never talks about "The Reptile." To be fair, there is an obvious connection after the fact, but the documentary does make you wish you had seen any of those movies rather than this one."
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 01/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A strange Hammer pairing. Strange because of The Lost Continent. This is different than what we usually expect from Hammer. It's more along the lines of a schlocky 50s adventure flick. It's almost Ed Woodian. A group of shady characters aboard a boat carrying illegal explosives end up in a hurricane and put off course. Then comes that rotten, homicidal seaweed which leads the boat to.....The Lost Continent. At the lost continent, our band of heroes encounter a giant octopus, a giant scorpion and also a giant crablike thing. If that weren't bad enough, it seems that this lost continent is ruled by the descendants of the Spanish Conquistadors, who are still carrying on in their ways. This film sounds like it would be a nice piece of schlocky fun, but it's not nearly as entertaining as it sounds. You get a full hour of blah, blah, blah attempts at character development until you see any monster action at all. And even the monster action is extremely fleeting. The villains are about as scary and threatening as the Three Stooges. For Conquistadors, these guys sure are a bunch of wimps. All in all, The Lost Continent has a tad of entertainment value, but it could have been alot more fun. The Reptile is more along the lines of what you'd expect from Hammer. It may not have Cushing, Lee, or a traditional monster, but it takes place in the 19th century, giving it that Hammer gothic feel. A man and his wife move into the cottage of the man's deceased brother. Soon they find out there are bizarre murders happening in the area. Plus, their new neighbors(a cranky old man, his beautiful daughter, and their servant) are a bit odd themselves. Well, I must say that you should have this one figured out about a half hour through the movie. That's no big deal though, coz it is quite enjoyable, as most Hammer films of this style tend to be. Two stars for Lost Continent, four stars for Reptile. I guess that evens us out at three stars for the total package then."
Reptile is Hammer-Studio Fun (Lost Continent is a Stinkbomb)
Baron Sardonicus | Pennsylvania | 06/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this double feature for "The Reptile", a film that I remember seeing on television when I was a child, thirty years ago. It is still enjoyable, rather akin to Corman's Poe films (that same period look/feel), and the Hammer vampire movies. The new couple in town will come to regret moving near Dr. Franklyn's house. It's good, cheesy monster movie fun. I prefer these kind of films where they don't show the monster for a while and then, bang, there it is.
Now, about the second movie, "The Lost Continent". Where to begin. So much fodder here. It tries to be Mysterious Island, Lifeboat, and The Lost World. It resembles a macabre Love Boat with an HR Pufnstuf budget.
A group of selfish dimwits are traveling on a tramp steamer that's loaded with dangerous explosives (the liquid ignites if it gets wet; I won't even comment on that concept), a hazard which the captain hasn't mentioned. After an hour of nothing, the ship encounters a strange amber-colored world where other, older, empty ships sit still on the sea, and there are some lively killer weeds (vines), floppy monsters that resemble Sid and Marty Krofft productions, and a weird glowing ship/house thing with a young evil overlord called El Supremo (or was it El Diablo, or El Terrifico? El Queso?). He rules the pirates, balloon people, conquistadors, and inquisitors on his ship. Oh, and the organist, too. Confused? Yes, what weeds were the writers smoking? Certainly not anything supremo.
You'll marvel at the balloon people, the lady with the D cups, the green eyed crab monster, and the hungry creature who gets fed naughty disobeyers of El Hombre Supremo. Mystery Science Theater 3000 wouldn't have touched this film; it is too dull and slow. I nearly gave up after nothing happened for sixty minutes. But then I wanted to see if the wicked teenage Supremo Boy with the British accent got his comeuppance. It wasn't worth waiting. Awful. Was there even a continent?? Did they explain the balloon things? I must have missed that part when I was laughing, or sleeping.
But I like "The Reptile". That was cool, something from the Chiller Theater television of my childhood. And if you can keep a straight face when the creepy swarthy mesmo guy speaks in tongues, you're better than I am. I nearly pee myself when I witness this bizarre phenomenon.