PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE (1983)
Article 4348 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Terry Marcel
Featuring Richard Hatch, Kay Lenz, John Saxon
What it is: Epic fantasy
A woman TV host, an electrician and a scientist fall into a machine that warps them to a different dimension. There they must battle an evil warlord.
While I was watching this movie, I looked up the director’s name on IMDB to see what else he did, and I was surprised to discover that I’d encountered him before; he also gave us HAWK THE SLAYER. That movie had a few good moments, but was badly flawed. In this one, the director tries a somewhat lighter touch, but that turns out to be a mistake; he really doesn’t have the feel for it, and the humor feels forced. The movie does have some effective moments, such as when a bunch of demon men rise out of the ground. But the budget seems even lower than it was last time, and the flaws seem deeper. Probably one of the worst problems I had with this one was with the female character; she’s obviously supposed to be cute, lovable, spunky, and the moral center of the movie, but she comes across as annoying, not particularly smart, and humorless. She becomes more and more unlikable as the movie progresses, and seeing how the main plot thread involves rescuing her from the evil warlord, we begin to care less and less whether that happens or not. There are better epic fantasies out there.