Tuesday, October 30, 2018

HubrisWeen 2018, Day 25: Yor, The Hunter From The Future (1983)

Honestly, I am ashamed of myself for not trying to stuff this year's entries with more Italian genre rip-offs. Still, this is arguably among the more infamous of the lot--if video stores were a part of your childhood or formative years, there is no way you didn't at least see the VHS box of this at some point.

I know I did, but it would not be until decades later that I would finally see it for myself at B-Fest. That's probably because the American VHS cover was kind of dull. If it had used any of the other poster art that Google Image Search has to show me, I would have been much more tempted.

Even so, I remembered it well enough to be delighted when Naomi Watts found the cursed videotape in The Ring sitting on a shelf of VHS tapes right next to Yor, The Hunter From The Future.

It wouldn't be until B-Fest 2014 that I would finally see the film. By that time I was well aware that the film had a goofy reputation and had also been shortened quite a bit from its original Italian cut. (Though the film is actually an Italian-French-Turkish co-production, filmed in Turkey) Unfortunately, as intrigued by the film as I was, it ended up looking like the inside of my eyelids for most of its running time--I was much too exhausted by that point in the Fest to stay awake for the whole thing.

To my delight, however, Mill Creek released the film on Blu-ray and when I finally saw it that way it was much easier to actually follow. Though sadly, it was the American cut only and I just learned that the American cut inexplicably deleted a scene where Yor has to fight a giant, one-eyed Boogen and I am incensed that anyone would cut such awesomeness!

Hilariously, this might be the film's most convincing monster, too.
The first thing you need to prepare yourself for with Yor, The Hunter From The Future is that it came out in the wake of the Dino de Laurentiis version of Flash Gordon. Someone involved in this film's production was understandably enamored with Queen's soundtrack to Flash Gordon, and as a result this film features an attempt to recreate that same energy with the amazing and insanely catchy rock theme for its hero: "Yor's World."

Much like The Green Slime, I could almost leave my review at that.

Though it is worth pointing out that way too often the film employs this theme to emphasize Yor's heroism, but it oddly often does so when he isn't doing anything heroic. In one case, it gets trotted out when another character is saving Yor's ass!

In our opening credits, in fact, we just see Yor (Reb Brown, last seen here as a meathead would-be rapist in Sssssss) wandering through the rocky wilderness. However, he will have an opportunity to demonstrate heroism shortly. Cavewoman Kalaa (Corinne Clery) and her father-figure Pag (Luciano Pagozi) are out hunting for their tribe, ahead of a celebratory feast. They almost catch a piglet in a dinosaur costume, but suddenly a thagomizer crushes the poor piggy.

The spiked tail belongs to a Stegoceratops, which also seems to be a carnivore based on its teeth. It also appears to be made out of papier-mache, but that's neither here nor there. The beast menaces Kalaa and Pag, only for Yor to leap into the fray and quickly kill the dinosaur hybrid with his stone axe.

Well, I guess the upside of Trump's presidency is the post-nuclear apocalypse hellscape will have dinosaurs.
Yor then drinks its blood and shares the blood with Kalaa, though Pag politely declines. Yor is immediately declared a friend of the village, though Pag is very fascinated by the medallion around Yor's neck. Yor confesses he has no idea where it came from and, in fact, he doesn't really know where he came from.

However, the tribal elder has seen such a medallion once before, belonging to a woman said to be born of fire. She is worshiped as a god by a tribe in the desert past the nearby mountains. Yor figures that will be a great place to start looking for clues to his past, but naturally decides to help the tribe carve up the Stegoceratops and enjoy their hospitality at the feast.

Yeah, okay, I'd fight a made-up dinosaur for her, too.
Of course, while Yor is appreciatively watching Kalaa dance seductively, the tribe is oblivious to the danger approaching them. A strange gang of hairy cavemen with blue skin surround the village and then go on the attack, intent on killing the men and taking the women and children back to their lair. After a significant struggle, Yor, Kalaa, and Pag escape--but the rest of the tribe are not so lucky.

Hell, our heroic trio end up running out of luck, too. Pag had scouted ahead after making sure there were no survivors at the tribe's home, so he is too far away to help when the blue meanies catch up with Yor and Kalaa. By the time Pag gets his trusty bow ready long enough to kill one of the attackers, Kalaa has already been taken away and an unconscious Yor has been stripped off his medallion and tossed from a cliff.

Naturally, Yor survives. When they reunite, Pag sheepishly advises that according to their tribal law, Kalaa now belongs to the caveman who bested Yor. However, Yor angrily spits that he doesn't follow their law and so Pag follows as Yor makes his way to the enemy camp. The cavemen are inside squabbling over who will get to have Kalaa, while the other women from the village are kept trapped in another corner of the cave by a pit full of...eels. Maybe they're electric eels, I don't know.

At any rate, Yor sees his opening when a really goofy bat monster flies overhead. Using Pag's bow, Yor shoots the beast down and then punches it in the face. Then, in one of the most glorious moments ever put to film, Yor uses the bat monster as a hang-glider whilst "Yor's World" pops up to further drive in how awesome this is.

Yor rescues Kalaa and his medallion, but doesn't make a single move towards rescuing the other prisoners. Indeed, his next move is to find a dam deep within the cave that holds back an underground lake and then break that dam so that the cave is flooded and all the pursuing blue cavemen are washed away. We are never given any clear indication of whether their prisoners were also washed away and, indeed, no one ever mentions them.

It is entirely possible this means that Yor just murdered a bunch of innocent women and children.

Following the undiscussed mass murder, Yor leads Kalaa and Pag to the desert and asks for them to wait while he tries to find the woman who wears the same medallion that he does. Yor naturally finds his ass in trouble first, when he is surrounded by a bunch of strange men covered in mud who wield flaming sticks. These sand tribe are also very good with a net and soon they have brought Yor into a mysterious cave of ice and placed him before their leader--a blonde woman with a medallion just like his.

The woman introduces herself as Roa (Ayshe Gul), and she explains she is definitely of the same tribe as Yor. For that matter, so are the people frozen inside the cave's ice--you can even see their matching medallions--but she has no more idea who their people are than Yor does. Worse, while Roa is special to them, the sand tribe sacrifice all newcomers to their gods. As glad as Roa is to see Yor, she isn't really prepared to do anything to stop him from being sacrificed, too.

Still, Yor won't give up that easy, and he quickly breaks free and steals the flaming sword from the  executioner. Slicing up his foes while also setting them on fire means that Yor manages to ignite the oil in the cave and soon he is dragging Roa out of a collapsing cavern--which nets her a nice bonk on the skull when a melting ice stalactite drops on her. She survives that, however, and then Yor foolishly abandons the awesome flaming sword after throwing it into the last sand person in their way.

Yor is almost as bad with hanging onto cool weapons as Perseus in Clash of The Titans.
Well, Kalaa is insanely jealous of Roa at once. Pag tries to remind her that it's normal for a man in their tribe to have two wives, but Kalaa decides that this is different. As soon as Yor leaves Roa alone for a moment--after having been making out with her, the cad--Kalaa appears and declares that only one of them can have Yor and the other must die.

And then, yes, our heroine attempts to knife her romantic rival. Considering how casual they are about murdering innocents, I guess she and Yor do deserve each other.

Before Kalaa can finish the job, however, the surviving blue cavemen suddenly show up. Yor and Pag arrive in time to help kill them, but conveniently one of the blue bastards clubs Roa on the head. This is treated as a sad thing by all, since Kalaa has apparently decided to pretend that she wasn't just trying to make Roa dead a few minutes before. Roa manages to suddenly remember that her people come from an island in the ocean, before she requests one last kiss from Yor--hopefully to stick it to Kalaa--and then dies.

Boy, she sure was vital to the narrative, huh?

Yor, Pag, and Kalaa make it to the ocean next, but before they can settle in for a fish dinner they are startled by a loud roar. Yor takes off without hesitation, leaving Pag and Kalaa in his wake. Inside a cave, the trio find a young woman and a couple of children trapped by a ferocious Dimetrodon. This is a slightly more convincing prop than the earlier dinosaur, but not by much. It also survives against Yor slightly longer but with Pag and Kalaa's help it soon expires.

So synapsids will also make a comeback! Sweet!
The young woman, Tarita (Marina Rocchi), takes the trio back to her seaside village to meet her father, the tribe's chief. The chief tries to thank Yor by offering Tarita to be his mate, but this time Yor has the decency to politely decline because he already has chosen Kalaa as his mate.

Of course, Yor may also have figured out that Kalaa will kill poor Tarita if he doesn't refuse.

Now, here is where the story takes a turn. The chief advises that the tribe is currently on edge because they had an encounter with a man in a mysterious metal craft, who attacked them and forced them to kill him--which caused both him and his craft to explode. Now they fear retribution, and since the destroyed craft left behind what looks like a rearview mirror but functions like a radio, it isn't long before huts are being blasted by lasers and several of the tribe are dead.

Tarita thinks the unseen attackers came from an island out to sea, which is perpetually surrounded by storms. Sure enough, this island will turn out to be where Yor comes from. Soon Yor will learn that the island, patrolled by robots, was one of the last bastions of civilization after humanity destroyed itself with nuclear war--because we've been in the future all along, see.

Yor is actually Galahad, son of the rebel Asgard, who fled with his family from the villainous ruler of the island, Overlord (John Steiner). The ship must have crashed, but Yor miraculously survived. However, now Overlord knows Yor is back and he has villainous plans for him and his friends, unless the secret rebel group can succeed in stopping him...

Forget the Emperor and Darth Vader, Count Zarth Arn from StarCrash could kick Overlord's ass.
Unfortunately, once the film reaches this futuristic island, it becomes much less interesting. Partially, it's because there's not much variety in what happens once Yor gets to the facility. To be fair, the entire film up to this point has been relatively repetitive, but it was somehow easier to ignore when we had such visually appealing surroundings as the location shooting in Turkey had to offer.

The facility, meanwhile, is mostly just the same kind of power plant location we last saw in Shocking Dark and it's no more visually interesting here. Plus, as much as the film tries to make him scary and mysterious, Overlord is just way too mediocre for a main villain.

This might explain why I fell asleep so easily the first time I saw this film, because there really wasn't enough to keep my interest once all the cavemen and mutant dinosaurs were left behind.

That's not to say the film is worthless after that point, however. It's just not as much fun as the first three quarters or so. Also, to be fair, it isn't like Yor, The Hunter From The Future is a good movie at any point. This is a film that is rock stupid and often shoddy. It's most definitely a bad movie from beginning to end and I doubt anyone would disagree.

That being said, this movie is also amazing. It should be clear by this point in my reviewing history that I don't think a movie has to be good to be entertaining--and Yor is most certainly entertaining. I highly recommend this film, even to folks who aren't seasoned B-movie watchers. It is true that it falls a bit short of the deliriously goofy heights of StarCrash, but damn if it doesn't come close.

If nothing else, there is something amusing about this PG-rated film's dedication to "accidentally" showing you the thong-clad butts of Reb Brown and Corinne Clery throughout their adventures. And really, who among us doesn't love lots of butts in our futuristic caveman flicks?

This has concluded Day 25 of HubrisWeen 2018! To see what the other Celluloid Zeroes chose for Y, click the banner above!

1 comment:

  1. For some reason, every time I had a sleepover as a middle schooler in the late 80s this movie was on late, late at night. Naturally we watched it enthusiastically each time, for reasons you've summed up nicely. I've never actually watched it since then--it'll never be as good as watching it with buddies at 3 AM--but I strongly recommend it to fans of cheesy 80s movies.