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Rated PG
Copyright 1976 Amicus Productions.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Dr. Perry - Peter Cushing! Bumbling scientist that invented "The Iron Mole," a wondrous tunneling machine capable of moving at seventy-eight feet per minute through solid rock.
  • David - Doug McClure! Brawny younger man and financier of the tunneling invention. If your tribe is ever beset by hypnotic and intelligent pteranodons you should call him.
  • Princess Dia - Caroline Munro! Honestly she does very little besides run around in a prehistoric woman outfit and capture David's heart.
  • Ra - Chief who helps David in convincing the tribes to fight their enslavers. He defeats several enemies in man to pig-man (explain in a minute) combat and is consumed in a wave of molten lava.
  • Hoojah the Sly One - A skinny sly guy. Almost eaten by Barney's ancestor, but lucky him, he dies by being covered in lava.
  • Jubal the Ugly One - A big ugly guy of course. Not donating to the gene pool any more after David spears him.
  • The Majars - Intelligent pteranodons with telepathic and hypnotic powers, their air horn voices command respect. Until Dr. Perry reinvents the bow and arrow that is...
  • The Sagaths - Pig-men and servants to the Majars, these guys speak the ultimate in Pig Latin.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When the film starts the plot is already on its feet and running, so you had better be ready folks. What appears to be a huge auger is constructed and moved by locomotive to a promising mountain, only then do characters appear to answer some desperate questions. The massive contraption is a revolutionary drilling machine and the function tests are about to be conducted, not by a miner or engineer, but by the inventor and financier.

You should have guessed that something goes wrong, overcome by heat and battered unconscious the explorers are carried deep into our planet. Despite almost hitting the center they never encounter molten rock, it's astounding. I'm quite certain a number of geophysicists are driven into apoplectic seizures by this film, it amuses me.

What they do encounter is a subterranean world populated by all sorts of fantastic beasts and primitive people. Any place with lava flowing freely is hardly paradise (disclaimer: except Hawaii), but when a race of merciless creatures like the Majars rules over it things are much worse. Oppression and avian tyranny are everything the Victorian Man was against, so the two wayward trailblazers struggle to overthrow the Majars' empire.

I decided to do a bit of math concerning David and Dr. Perry's unguided trip through the Earth, since a handy display was kind enough to indicate they traveled almost to the core before heading back up. Nasa's website tells me the planet is 12,756 km in diameter. We can safely assume they traveled at least half that distance (6,378 km) and multiplying by 0.62 gives us 3,954 miles. The machine can tunnel through solid rock at 78 ft per minute, let us say it can travel ten times that fast under ideal conditions. So we get a top speed of about 780 ft per minute, rounding up you will identify this as 9 miles an hour - not bad under steam power. All this is to illustrate that the two men would have been unconscious for almost three weeks to travel such a distance!

Most people would call that a coma.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Some of the worst offenses against humanity were committed by Victorian fashion designers.
  • The center of the Earth is a solid block of ice.
  • Light in underground caverns is provided by lava flowing across the ceiling, held in place by centrifugal force. (Hey, you try explaining it.)
  • Rhinoceroses were made with four legs for a reason.
  • Prehistoric humans did not have surnames, but everyone received a descriptive phrase attachment.
  • Having excitable pig-men around is bad, but it is worse when they have whips and spears.
  • Reeds can be quickly converted into arrows and are capable of killing large animals.
  • Big guys carry big maces.
  • Explorers always pack an extra set of fine clothes for joyous departures.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 7 mins - Your drilling machine is a long tube, of course it can't turn on a dime.
  • 15 mins - I think Polly wants to bite your head off.
  • 30 mins - Molten lava was pouring over the bridge moments ago and now it's cool?
  • 40 mins - That looks like a carnivorous plant.
  • 41 mins - Hey guys, the plant is trying to eat you.
  • 42 mins - David! Ra! Man-eating plant! Oh, now you see it.
  • 57 mins - Conclusive proof that Barney's ancestors were viscous predators.
  • 64 mins - Giant fire toad out of nowhere!
  • 73 mins - Great battle plan David, you must have been Alexander the Great in a previous life...


  • David: "Well if we're not on Earth doc then where the hell are we?"
    Dr. Perry: "From my observations dear friend I can positively state that we are under it."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note earthcore1.wav Reporter: "Ah, that is what you call it, the 'Iron Mole.'"
David: "That's what I call it, Dr. Perry here calls it a high calibration digging machine."
Dr. Perry: "It'll bore through solid rock at a rate of seventy-eight feet per minute!"
Green Music Note earthcore2.wav David: "I escaped from the Majars' city."
Ra: "No one can escape from the Majars' city."
Green Music Note earthcore3.wav Majars doing their air horn telepathy thing.
Green Music Note earthcore4.wav Dr. Perry: "You cannot mesmerize me, I'm British!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipearthcore1.mpg - 2.9m
Fire toad out of nowhere!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3
At the Earth's Core
Reply #1. Posted on July 13, 2000, 09:08:18 PM by bryce
I love this movie. Caroline Munro, Peter Cushing, the score is good and it's goofy fun. What more can you ask?

BTW, I don't think the dinosaurs were meant to look like authentic dinos. Not only it adds to the alien landscape of the inner earth world but also, if these dinosaurs evolved on for millions of years while all the others on top of earth ended-up as fosils, then these inner earth dinosaurs basically evolved into completly different or new species.
At the Earth's Core
Reply #2. Posted on July 10, 2000, 09:37:09 AM by Chris
The least convincing of director Kevin Connor's films, this is supposed to be a follow up to The Land That Time Forgot, but I couldn't spot any familiar dinosaurs (apart from Peter Cushing of course)
For a better example of Connor's eighties fables, see The Warlord's of Atlantis (also starring Doug Mclure)....exterior location shooting (plus nice matt backdrops), and more men in rubber suits, gurgling water
At the Earth's Core
Reply #3. Posted on July 16, 2000, 03:19:06 AM by scott
From the review, it sounds like it followed the Edgar Rice Burroughs book pretty faithfully.  He wrote a few books set in "Pellucidar" the land at the Earth's core.
At the Earth's Core
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Swamprat
When British filmmakers do something good, they do the best. When they do something get s**t like this. Other than Peter Cushing's usual high caliber performance, this thing wreaks. Story construction is worse than a Hanna Barbara Saturday morning cartoon. Stupid story, stupid situation, stupid characters. Stupid-Stupid-STUPID. Early Godzilla grade special effects. Pathetic "monsters". Ham-Fisted American Hero too stupid to zip his own paints. Bumbling Victorian English Scientist-Inventor. And a bunch of filth covered extras running around like rats in a cellar. Oh-yeah...don't forget the "mind control" the "monster's" evil henchmen-critters seem to posses in thier sticks. Maybe this thing was aimed at's hard to tell...but even if it was it's still a total loser. Don't buy it, don't rent it, don't watch it at three in the morning. If it shows up on a marathon of bad films on cable somewhere...refuse to pay your bill that month. Show this movie to the'll hold up in court.
At the Earth's Core
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Doug
At the Earths core was written pre-WW1. And in the book (which played with all those old "hollow Earth theories" the Iron mole only has to dig down ca. 500 miles. So the trip would be much shorter than 3 weeks. I was a huge ERB fan as a kid. so I just thought is stick up for ole Edgar.
This is a great site though.

At the Earth's Core
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Brenn
Only one thing to say:
Doug McClure -
Drool. Nice hair to.
At the Earth's Core
Reply #7. Posted on June 09, 2004, 11:55:07 AM by night heron
The whole thing a bunch of nasty pteridactyles and pig men and how you bring them down and how about the parrotsoarus chasing them as peter chusing tries to scare it off with his ubrella and at the end when the mole macine comes up in front of the whitehouse?
At the Earth's Core
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by M
This is what the lousy "The Core" should have been! :o)
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