Robert Vaughn stars as a white 25 year old teenage caveman with styled hair who seeks to discover what is in the uncharted jungles beyond his tribe's campsite. It is against the Word (and the Word is the Law), but he breaks it anyway. Soon he discovers a strange creature which kills with its touch. We later learn that this is not a prehistoric tale, but a post-apocalyptic tale, and the strange creature is a 500-plus year old irradiated scientist in a radiation suit...
Robert Vaughn ... The Symbol Maker's teenage son
Sarah Marshall ... The Blond Maiden (as Darah Marshall)
Leslie Bradley ... The Symbol Maker
Frank DeKova ... The Black-Bearded One
Charles P. Thompson ... Member of the tribe (as Charles Thompson)
June Jocelyn ... The Symbol Maker's wife
Jonathan Haze ... The curly-haired boy
Beach Dickerson ... Fair-haired boy / Man from Burning Plains / Tom-tom player / Bear
Ed Nelson ... Blond tribe member
Robert Shayne ... The Keeper of the Small Fire
Marshall Bradford ... Member of the tribe
Director: Roger Corman
Codecs: XVid / MP3
Made in the 50s to cash in on the unexpected success of the "I Was a Teenage.......", this entry at least dared to be different. Corman shows promise in this early directoral effort, and the story does have a neat twist at the end (if you make it that far), All that said, the slow, dragging plot and the non-existent production values make it a chore to watch. Notable also for an early screen appearance of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Robert Vaughn.
Strangely, I liked this movie. Okay: low budget, bad acting, cheesy spliced-in scenes from other "dinosaur" movies. Yet there is something innocent and compelling about it -- Roger Corman in his naive and earnest phase. It reminds me very much of the old Twilight Zone series (because of the ending). Just imagine Rod Serling saying, "For your consideration, a group of prehistoric cave dwellers ..." and you will truly enjoy this odd little film.
Made in two days, and even worse than you'd expect. It's not just bad, cheap, and miscast; it's really, really pretentious as well! It's about youthful rebellion and the horrors of atomic war, and the scriptwriter thinks it's all really deep, you know, heavy, man! (sound of snapping fingers)
Starring a young Robert Vaughn as a cave man, every hair slicked down and combed into place, looking like the "Man From UNCLE" in a fur dress and booties. Also features one of the worst monsters ever seen on screen.
Go see the original "Little Shop of Horrors" again to prove that a movie made in two days can actually be good!
This film, whose true name is not "Teenage Cave Man" but rather "The Prehistoric World", was released by AIP under said name to exploit the success of its own "I Was a Teenage...." series of films (which were actually produced by Herman Cohen in England). Viewed entirely on its own merits, this little film has a lot to offer, even beyond some of the obvious camp humor.
There is some intriguing sci-fi here, most of which I won't give away for fear of *****SPOILERS***** giving away too much, but some of which definately predate and prefigure "Planet of the Apes" as Corman himself points out in his autobio.
Robert Vaughn does a good job here, once more showing the strength of performance that should have made him another Robert Stack, rather than another John Saxon.
There is a strong anti-establishment subtext in the film which definately places it just ahead of its time in prefiguring the political "message" sci-fi of the late 60s. Ignoring the cheap effects and some of the less accomplished actors in the film may result in a less entertaining viewing, but may reveal a film of greater depth than your typical saturday morning b.
Conceived in the era of the 1950's nuclear holocaust scare, TEENAGE CAVEMAN is an inspired (albeit low-budget) reflection of this period's fears and a worthy attempt by producer/director Roger Corman to present more serious subject matter in the sci-fi genre.
On the plus side is the noteworthy script by R. Wright Campbell. Mr. Campbell's association with Roger Corman includes scripts for FIVE GUNS WEST, MACHINE GUN KELLY, THE YOUNG RACERS, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (in which he re-wrote "Twilight Zone" fantasist Charles Beaumont's submitted script for this film) and THE SECRET INVASION. Borrowing heavily the plot and ideas from Stephen Vincent Benet's short story, "By the Waters of Babylon," Campbell presents the intelligent, inquisitive and introspective son of the "symbol maker" (earnestly played by a 26 year old Robert Vaughn), who attempts to extend the boundaries of knowledge and existence well beyond the immediate environs. Most of this remarkable film's meaningful dialogue is conveyed through the Robert Vaughn character and writer Campbell invests the story with a profundity and poignancy which is sadly lacking in most of the bland, dismal pap usually served up as entertainment.
In addition to the casting coup of Robert Vaughn and R. Wright Campbell's exceptional script, praise must also be extended to composer Albert Glasser's well-crafted and inspired music score (particularly effective during the climatic denouement). Glasser is one of the unsung maestros of film scoring in the sci-fi "B" genre (along with his contemporaries such as Ronald Stein, Paul Dunlap, Raoul Krausher, Marlin Skiles and Walter Greene) and many a low-budget feature has benefited considerably from his skilled and gifted contribution.
TEENAGE CAVEMAN quietly presents its message to the viewer with sincerity and dignity. It stands as an honourable effort to enlighten as well as to entertain and exemplifies that in good film-making with the constraints of time and budget, the necessity of more creativity, ingenuity and talent to fill the gap.
* This film was shot under the title "Prehistoric World". American International changed the title to "Teenage Cave Man". Years later, Roger Corman would be quoted as saying, "I never directed a film called "Teenage Cave Man".
* The same "wild" dogs from The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957) appear here.
* Robert Vaughn said in an interview that he considered this to be the worst film ever made.
* Beach Dickerson, a Corman regular, did quadruple roles...not only is he the fair-haired boy that drowns in quicksand, he is also the stranger riding in from the burning plains, the bear that attacks the hunting party, and even plays a drummer during the funeral for his own character!