Welcome back to B-Movie Enema. How do you follow up a titty movie starring Daleks? No, not the Cinema Snob. I already did that last month. No, you do a family movie.
Because of course that’s what you do.
This week, I’m looking at the 1973 Filipino-American sci-fi/horror(?) flick Beyond Atlantis. Yeah… This is apparently a family-oriented sorta-horror movie. Considering it’s made in 1973 and the poster has a mostly naked woman riding a giant seashell and being carried around by bug-eyed black dudes… I have concerns. For one, I saw a trailer that has one of the bug-eyed guys (who was not a black dude, but a white dude in body paint – uh oh) slapping the barely covered blonde chick shouting that she WILL MATE. Then Sid Haig is shooting people left and right. There’s murder action happening.
This is what a family movie was in 1973.
But here’s the deal. Star Patrick Wayne insisted the movie be made as a family film. It’s David DeCoteau who actually stated that this was one of the “few family-oriented B flicks to come out of the Philippines.” David DeCoteau makes a bunch of sleazy movies and sleazy gay soft core films, but he also makes the occasional family film. He knows what he’s talking about.
Director Eddie Romero made a handful of movies that got play over here. In fact, Severin has released a trio of his movies Brides of Blood, The Mad Doctor of Blood, and Beast of Blood. Around that same time, he also made two more “B” movies with Beast of the Yellow Night and Black Mama, White Mama. He most definitely got movies over here for drive-ins. He also often worked with several of the same actors. John Ashley, who is in this, was in a handful of Romero’s movies. So did Sid Haig.
Generally speaking, I think I could end up doing quite a few more of Romero’s films.
Interestingly, I picked this movie for B-Movie Enema a few months ago. I didn’t expect for Mystery Science Theater to also pick the movie. I work on these articles in advance, and, currently, am writing this in mid-January. Most of this is for me to be able to get out in advance so I can shift my attention to work on B-Movie Enema: The Series Season 3 (coming May 7). Currently, I see Beyond Atlantis is set as episode 220 (the third episode of the season). If that held true, then the episode came out recently or will be out very soon. Just a happy little coincidence.
For now, though, let’s crack this clam open and see what’s what with Beyond Atlantis.
The movie opens with a pretty blonde lady being rowed ashore by a local Filipino. She seems just kind of meh about this whole pleasant island beach. In fact, she gets off the boat and the Filipino man tries to get her attention for his hard work of bringing her to this beautiful beach. She just ignores him. Well, maybe not ignore, but she definitely just lackadaisically turns away from him.
However, there’s some shenanigans happening on this island as this babe is being watched!
Because this is a family film, naturally, the woman drops her dress. Well… Okay. You got me again. She’s wearing some sexy Atlantean bikini stuff under her long dress she was wearing when she came ashore. The bug-eyed guys come and collect all the supplies as ordered by this pretty Atlantean. She walks along a lagoon to the home village of the Atlantean people and…
That… That is jarring, my peoples. I mean… Look at them. I give the movie credit for giving these Atlanteans a really distinct look, but fuck. Those eyes are going to haunt my dreams. Imagine being on set and the guys come out in costume and makeup and they look like that. I’d bust my guts laughing. I would be useless on set after seeing them. Somebody put that make up on those people and said, “Nailed it.” Seriously, folks, I’m not sure how this movie got made.
But see, here’s the thing. Some people are normal. Blonde babe, her father, that old guy standing in front of the goon squad there… Those people are normal. What gives, movie? Well, let’s find out…
Hot blonde lady is told by her father that the old man above was trespassing on their sacred island. The punishment for this is death. The old man tries running away and one of the bug-eyed guys spears him to death.
Because family movie.
But jump back, Jack! Sid Haig is here! And he’s a pimp! Literally!
This is what passed for a family film in 1973. Isn’t that great? Babes stripping on the beach. Old man spear-fucked in the back. Sid Haig collecting money from bitches.
The guy from the boat at the beginning comes into a bar where he meets Sid Haig. Haig is basically a mob guy. The boat guy is wanting to sell the pearl he was paid with by the blonde Atlantean. Sid Haig is a little curious where he got it, but the guy won’t tell him. He does get paid pretty well, though, and promises to come back if he finds more.
Sid Haig goes to a cock fight to find Logan (John Ashley). Logan owes Sid Haig some gambling debts. That’s not the biggest concern right now. He wants Logan to sell the pearl. Logan comes up with the idea that if they find the source of these perfect pearls, they’ll be rich. Sid Haig tells him to bring in a third guy, but Logan hates the idea of cutting in another guy. But… What Sid Haig wants, Sig Haig gets.
So Logan goes to find Vic (Patrick Wayne). Now, this is going to be a problem, guys. Vic and Logan look almost the same. Same color hair. Same wavy hair. This going to get confusing, but I’ll somehow get through this.
A mysterious woman named Kathy wants to meet with Logan. She gives him an address to meet in the morning. Before he can find out anything more, the fuzz comes into this little casino set up and busts up the place. The next morning, Logan meets with Dr. Kathy Vernon at a museum. Kathy asks Logan where he’s going to whisk her off to, and he says to his place to explore each other.
Ahem… Family movie.
Kathy shows Logan a mask that is adorned with pearls similar to what Logan is looking for. She wants to come along on the expedition to find the missing tribe the pearls belong to. Despite Logan’s disbelief, Kathy swears he doesn’t want any of the pearls. He even says he might have to kill her if she gets in the way. She’s persistent and shows up before they set sail.
And they’re off!
I wonder what Logan is seeing in those binoculars?
Oh. That’s where they filmed the “Rio” music video. Who knew?
They go to find Manuel the Barracuda. That was the guy who took the sexy blonde lady to her home island. They find out where Manuel is and Sid Haig starts beating the hell out of him. He just wants to know where it is the pearls came from. He explains that every two months a girl comes to his village and trades pearls for supplies. He tells them where they can find the island he takes the woman after trading.
They find a village that seems to be all shuttered. But, there are some cooking tools that are still warm. Sid Haig figures they don’t like uninvited guests. Kathy takes pictures of various statues and other things around the island. Logan thinks they should set up camp and return in the morning. As it were, Sid Haig believes they are being watched from the bushes.
The next day, Logan and Vic go diving for pearls. Kathy, Sid Haig, and the rest of Vic’s crew go back to the village. Sid Haig falls into a booby trap full of crabs that pinch him all over. Sid Haig passes out from his wounds and Kathy realizes that this was the exact spot the two of them chatted at the night before. The villagers knew where they were, and when they’d be back.
But you know what you can do to pad out your Atlantis movie? Make silly bug-eyed people and that hot blonde do some fun swim maneuvers.
Now, I suppose this shit was there because it’s for Logan and Vic to find. In fact, they are even coaxed by the hot blonde lady, named Syrene, to come ashore. They explain what they are there for. She figures out that Manuel told them about the island. She ponders whether or not they have the right to take the pearls that belong to someone else already. Logan, totally kind of sucking at being a decent human being, says, “Hey, broad, you can’t stop us from looking for the pearls.”
She decides to take them to where there are more pearls.
While I’m sure that will end well, Sid Haig and Kathy come back with the rest of the crew. He’s all bandaged up and explains how he was attacked in the pit by crabs. Syrene says he fell into a storage pit for seafood for the village. Kathy says that the pit wasn’t there the night before. Syrene just tells her she’s wrong.
Then all the Atlanteans come out of the water and out of the treeline . If I’m any of these guys, and I saw these bug-eyed people, I’m either laughing my balls off at these creeps or running my ass off to get away from these creeps. Either way, I’m losing some sort of important body part. Syrene’s father, Nereus, introduces himself and invites them to stay in the guest hut and enjoy the fruits of their island.
Vic’s first mate decides to return to the boat, but he sees the boat’s rope anchoring it in place has been cut. He’s attacked by Atlanteans and they cut his oxygen hose. He dies and the other explorers bury him on a hill on the island. I’m sure the Atlanteans are real pleased with that idea. Sid Haig offers the deepest of condolences – “Hey, man… Sorry about your mate, but you know there’s always a chance of getting wiped out on an expedition like this.” Good job.
Meanwhile, Atlantean princess butt…
Vic and Logan go with Syrene to look for more pearls. They wonder if they can fully trust her. Back on land, Kathy finds one of the bug-eyed dudes and wants to strike up a conversation with him. He is being a weirdo. He just stands there, ignoring her while holding a baby goat. He tells her that she is a guest and basically to shut the fuck up if she wants to remain cool with the peoples. She shows him the picture of the mask she had at the museum earlier. He throws the baby goat into the water where piranha eats it while it screams in pain.
Oh, and I think Sid Haig should have tried out to be Zoltan in Flash Gordon because he’s got the line “DIVE!” down pat.
Kathy still trying to find someone to talk to about science shit continues walking around the village. She eventually finds an identical mask as the one she has in the museum. It’s apparently at a temple of some sort. She’s just about to touch it when Nereus stops her and tells her to step away from the mask. He tells her that she has to be careful where she goes because they shouldn’t see everything. He tells her where it is safe to go and begs her to stay in those places.
Logan, Vic, and Sid Haig check out what they harvested. Vic and Sid Haig seem to be happy enough with the current haul. Logan is wanting more. Sid Haig says they should be real careful because every additional trip to haul out more, they are in much more danger. That’s why he’s happy with what he’s got already.
Vic decides to go see what Kathy’s up to. She explains to him how she found the exact duplicate of the mask. She says this group might be descendants of the Manoans. Supposedly, the Manoans lived on Atlantis. She figures the tribe’s weird eyes are probably some sort of genetic thing. When Vic asks about Nereus and Syrene, she says she doesn’t know, but will find out.
Sure enough, Vic and Logan go back underwater to farm for more pearls. This makes Sid Haig very happy.
After the last trip to the pearl farm, Syrene is told that she must mate with one of the outsiders. Nereus makes this command on no uncertain terms. It’s apparently her destiny to mate with a human. Nothing more. He thinks she’s got deeper feelings for one of them, or she’s not quite interested in fucking and then sentencing one or all of them to death. If she doesn’t choose one of them to knock her up soon, he will sentence them all to death.
So that’s not going too well, but how are things going with the guys who have scavenged up a bunch of pearls? Well, Logan refuses to stop plundering the pearls. Sid Haig figures they already harvested about $100k worth of pearls. Vic is fine with exactly that because he’s already hit his goal for his share. Logan is not handling this well at all. He insinuates that he will take the islanders’ stash and take everything in the water too. He accuses Vic of wanting to take them home and double back for more. Things are falling apart here. Sid Haig makes up the deciding vote and he decides they will stay.
Vic makes a mark inside the chest and when they reach that line, he’s leaving.
Syrene visits with Vic and asks him questions about his world. She basically wants to get away from the island. She’s not feeling this way of life anymore. He agrees to help her get away. She wants to know what’s next. Specifically, if he’d love her forever, teach her how to be “valuable”, and show her the way to live. He has to tell her that he would help her all he can, but he doesn’t love her. She takes this… pretty badly.
The next day, Vic goes to visit Kathy. She’s both frightened of the place but also not ready to leave yet. He says she could easily return here with what she’d found. She wants to know if he’d come back with her on that expedition. They make out. Then, they go for a sexy swim. This movie is mostly swimming.
Should I also remind everyone that Patrick Wayne, playing Vic, is also the guy who insisted upon this being a family movie and he’s got all the bitches in heat too?
One of the bug-eyed guys is slapping Syrene around demanding that she mate. Her father says he can no longer protect her. She better get one of these guy’s fishing poles up her underwater cave soon. So the next day, she tells them about a deep underwater spot full of pearls. There will be so many pearls there it will be nuts.
She’s talking about her vagina and her lady pearl isn’t she? I don’t know anything about lady pearls.
Tragedy(?) nearly strikes(?) when Logan begins running out of air and starts to surface too fast, rupturing his ear drums from the pressure. That leaves only Syrene and Vic to return back down to find those totally for real pearls and not the sexy seductive lady pearls that she is more likely talking about.
It’s come up a couple times before about how long these island people can stay underwater for so long. While Syrene starts trying to get Vic’s sperm whale into her coral reef, that should be some sort of tipoff that hey… There’s a lot that is going on down here with her and she doesn’t seem to need any kind of air to help her. But whatever, she’s hot.
I’m still trying to figure out the bug-eyed dudes. There is not nearly enough conversation around those guys and their alien appearances. Yeah, maybe some sort of thing with evolution or traits passed down, but that’s hard to truly settle on because… they are very very very weird looking.
Seemingly, Syrene gets what she wants, while two bug-eyed dudes come by with a net and cover them. Vic wakes back up on shore. Logan and Sid Haig has more pearls. Kathy is curious where Syrene is. Logan figures he dove too deep and got lightheaded and passed out. Kathy figures Syrene is very similar to the Sirens of mythology. She might also be kind of pissed that Vic might have made a fish baby with the sexy blonde.
Kathy falls into a trap that hangs her precariously over the pond with the piranha. Almost about as easily as she got into the trap, Vic is able to save her. Of course, everyone ran to help Kathy. That means no one was guarding the boat and it’s now gone. The good news, though, is that Manuel showed up and he has a boat that is hidden and can get them all off the island.
Sid Haig decides to blow up the temple to create a diversion. Kathy says the temple is sacred to them. Sid Haig says his ass is sacred to him so the temple goes. I… I can’t argue that logic. The rest of the expedition waits to start shooting their way out. We only see Sid Haig plant one batch of dynamite. It must have been super-powered dynamite because…
Sid Haig is right. The natives go running to check out what the heck happened to their temple. This gives the good guys a head start to run toward the cove where Manuel’s boat is waiting. Now, the islanders have spears. The expedition has guns. This is a fucking bloodbath. But don’t worry, this is a family movie! It’s almost as if Disney made this themselves.
As Kathy runs to get free, Syrene chases and we have ourselves a good old fashioned cat fight. Syrene forces her into the water where she should have the advantage. But that is not an advantage for this movie. I want to see these girls tugging at hair and ripping each other’s shirts off. I want to see passionate fighting, dammit! When you do things underwater, you’re slowing down everything that’s happening. It’s not very exciting.
But don’t worry, Kathy wins out by choking Syrene out with her own hair. She’s likely pregnant too. Kathy killed two people today. But yeah, this is a family film everyone!
Vic shows up to comfort the murderess. However, the whole of the village is there and Nereus shows up to see his daughter dead. They did nothing. They just let the two outsiders, who are part of a terrible affront to them, just… leave. They were happy to kill motherfuckers earlier. Why didn’t…
Oh fuck it.
Kathy has to live with what she’s done. She also has to live with the fact that she has a hand in making an entire race of people extinct. Logan shows up to be crazy about how Vic and Kathy must have been there to cut a deal with the King. He sees that there are pearls all over Syrene’s dead body. The King allows him to take them because they are valueless to them now.
Sid Haig and Logan get their pearls and their riches. Vic is unsettled by the expedition as a whole. Kathy probably killed a whole race of people. Syrene is killed. The islanders are completely fucked. Their temple has been blown up. Manuel double crosses them and, in the fight for their lives, the pearls get dumped overboard to never be found again. The movie very nearly ends on a massive bummer note, but, when Logan tries to propose a deal for how they can get the lost treasure, everyone just laughs their asses off.
I have a very real question. What are the morals of this movie? I mean it. There was little to no thought given by the characters to how they’d treat these islanders. Granted, the islanders were weird looking, outside the very normal King and his hot ass daughter, but that’s not a reason to create a whole upheaval of their way of life. Syrene would leave the island for supplies and used the pearls to barter. Okay, but, outside of that, there was no other interaction between the island and the rest of the world. If you came to the island, there was a real possibility they would kill you for trespassing – as we saw at the top of the movie.
I assume he was killed because he was an old man and not proper breeding stock for Syrene. Okay. It did seem she saw that stuff as a little unsavory, but fine. Now Logan and Vic come and they are good stock for her. (I’m going to assume that Sid Haig was not considered that for… reasons.) So the King was willing to be cool with them and give them what they wanted. But then they seemed to take all that back once Syrene mated? So… were the islanders ever going to grant the expedition what they wanted and save passage out? We never really saw the islanders’ ideas or plans for these interlopers.
Then, when it comes to the expedition, I can see where this wanted to be sort of a Treasure of Sierra Madre sort of thing where Logan slowly gets corrupted by the treasure. Sid Haig was a business guy through and through. We see that in his first scene with his bitches on the corner. I can see he had a kind of “me first” sort of attitude but wouldn’t set out to mess with the islanders unless they gave him cause to. Logan was a scoundrel from minute one as well. Vic was the only one of the men who seemed to have scruples but never protested that much. He was way too passive.
Kathy was the girl.
In the end, that society of islanders are totally fucked and no one, except for Kathy who did do a self defense tactic to save her own life and was feeling it later, seemed to care. At best, Vic just wanted to leave and be done with all the other guys. That’s not being a good guy. Logan was just the worst right up to the end. Sid Haig was kind of neutral really.
The problem with the movie happened right here:
The islanders gather to find the King’s daughter dead. The person who killed her is right there with the man the daughter wanted to mate with. The King has come to find his daughter, the literal FUTURE OF THEIR SOCIETY, dead. Vic and Kathy simply walk away and the islanders go back to their chores as if nothing happened. There is no retribution sought by the group of people who were more than willing to kill right up to this point. They just… resign. They realize they are totally fucked so what’s the point?
That means we’re left with guys doing suspect shit on this island now able to take whatever they want from these people and sail off to eventually end on a freeze frame of Sid Haig and Manuel laughing their nuts off. It basically says the bad guys were right to do what they want and they shouldn’t have any guilt over what happened on the island, and it means that we shouldn’t give a shit for this society whose whole future has hit a dead end within a generation or sooner.
At least with how they’d lived their lives in this society up to the point these practical pirates arrived.
This is not a good movie. A not insignificant percentage of the movie is watching people swim and scuba dive. We don’t see enough motivation from the islanders to understand their actions from one scene to the next. We have a horrific lack of scruples from our supposed heroes. It’s a mess and there’s still that whole thing with the islanders’ buggy eyes. What was the story with those eyes? Why did people not freak out when they saw them? Why didn’t anyone, especially Sid Haig, say, “Uh… What’s with the eyes there, chief?”
So I must say “BOO!” This was not worth what I hoped it would be. But you know what is worth it? You should follow B-Movie Enema on Facebook and Twitter. I also recommend you subscribe to the B-Movie Enema YouTube Channel. Why? Because Season 3 of B-Movie Enema: The Series is coming in hot and fast on Saturday, May 7. There are 17 movies for you to spend the summer watching, and if you want to be able to see every single episode, even the ones that YouTube takes down for silly reasons, then I recommend you do one (or both) of the following – subscribe to the B-Movie Enema Vimeo channel or add the B-Movie Enema Roku channel.
Next week, it’s the first chapter of a saga that will get finished later on this year – 1979’s Phantasm!