FREAKSHOW One Million Years BC

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Join us every Monday, as we look at a cult movie. Our film of the week this time features Raquel Welch in a fur bikini

1966
Director: Don Chaffey
Cast: Raquel Welch, John Richardson
Available on region one and region two DVD
Watch the trailer here

Life was good for prehistoric man. His days resembled an extended FHM swimsuit shoot, an airbrushed male fantasy of women with false eyelashes and carefully teased hair sizzling in the desert heat. The average evening was spent lazing around in a cave, idly chomping on a hunk of warthog flesh, as sweaty cave-babes took place in cat-fights to the death for his amusement.

Of course, caveman life had its downsides: the Argentinian-footballer haircuts; the constant squabbles over ownership of the tribe's Important Spear; the ever-present danger of becoming a pterodactyl snack. But these minor unpleasantnesses were always outweighed by the sight of Raquel Welch in an itsy-bitsy fur bikini, all shiny with perspiration.

At least, that's what you'd be led to believe if you somehow mistook One Million Years BC for some kind of serious docu-drama. In fact, as you may have figured out by now, this tale of prehistoric life has a shamelessly cavalier attitude towards historical actuality. Possibly never has the disclaimer "the characters and incidents portrayed herein are fictitious" - flashed up during the opening credits - been more comically superfluous. Funny, then, that the incidental music is so portentous. Full of epic cymbal-bashing crescendos, it's the sort of soundtrack that would fit neatly over the crucifixion of Christ, but is unintentionally camp when you're watching a bunch of hairy extras in bad wigs lugging polystyrene rocks at a thirty-foot-long turtle.

For viewers looking for something other than shameless objectification, the film's main selling point is Ray Harryhausen's stopmotion dinosaurs, which still look great, although they're rather undermined by the ill-advised decision to juxtapose them with a sleepy-looking iguana, cunningly blown up to monstrous proportions. There's a plot of sorts, about the power struggle between the leader of the tribe and his two sons. But One Million Years BC knows what its audience wants and delivers it, rolling relentlessly from one piece of lurid spectacle to another - from dinosaur scrap, to scantily-clad cave-ladies frollicking in a pool, to volcanic eruption - until you're left feeling mildly concussed.

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