Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Prehistoric Women



Starring: Laurette Luez, Allan Nixon, Joan Shawlee.
Producer: Albert J. Cohen (cf. Unknown Island)
Director: Gregg C. Tallas
Special Effects: Howard A. Anderson
74 minutes.

Summary: An overly vigorous narrator tries to tell us that a recent explorer found evidence “that told this story.” Hell of a cave-painter if so!

Tigri is the leader of an all-female tribe of primitive humans. They dance at night under the full moon to manic drumming. Mr. Narrator assures us that the dance emerges from a sense of “frustration, of promise unfulfilled,” but it’s pretty listless and stilted ecstasy. Then an old lady, “The wise one tells them to be calm.” She tells of the past — sure to produce the opposite effect. The founding of the tribe took place when the mother of Tigri, Tana, grew weary of oppression under the men of their tribe, particularly the seemingly endless carcass-lugging. When Tana finally applies a rock to the head of the chief, the women and children must flee into the jungle. Afterwards, fish-spearing goes pretty well, but a 9-foot-tall savage named Guadi (or Gwahdee) carries off two women. Tana escapes his clutches but dies. So here we are, 15 years later, says the old woman. Soon we will have to get some men “if their tribe is to survive.”

The men of another tribe pester a pacing tiger. When the women’s panther tries to get a piece of that action, the main dude, Engor, wrestles with her until he kills her. The other men are just about to apply some tree sap to Engor’s wounds when a sling-and-rock attack knocks them about. The mighty and brave Engor hides in the bushes from the women. Other captured men are forced to carry the panther corpse back. The old woman inspects the specimens of men, mostly looking at their teeth (though I can’t imagine what for). Pairs go off to the women’s individual tree platforms. Some bondage ensues.

Back at the Engor cave, a vulture sign leads others to Engor’s unconscious bulk. A cave artist depicts bits of the story of the women’s tribe. Mom instructs Engor where to find the women and the captive men. Engor takes off and is charged by an elephant with enormous tusks. The brave and mighty Engor hides behind a rock. Knocking some rocks together to replace his lost weapon, Engor discovers fire, a phenomenon with the “power to inflict injury.” He immediately uses it against a python.

The women swim in the evening. Elsewhere, Engor catches a horrifying glimpse of the giant. The noble and fearless Engor hides up a tree until Guadi picks a fruit and lumbers off. The women, aware of Engor’s presence, use one of themselves for bait. When Engor emerges the rest appear and take him to their village, or copse. The other captive men greet Engor from their platforms, but some jealousy erupts between Tigri and Arva over this new guy.

At night, Engor tries to escape, but another panther serves as a guard dog. Tigri meaningfully assesses Engor afterwards. Hmm.

When morning comes it’s time to feed the men. Tigri and Arva still are contentious, and Tigri shows the mighty Engor how to move a rock with leverage. The moon grows; tomorrow will be the marriage ceremony. The women dance while the men “look on with mixed emotions.”

Next morning, the men are shaving with stones and an attempt at the old fire-making trick is underway. Suddenly, a flying dragon terrorizes the tribe! (It looks as though someone threw a scrawny chicken in the air and they filmed it in slo-mo falling back down.) Tigri falls but Engor drives away the horrible chicken with fire. A men’s rebellion succeeds when the panther too retreats from fire as a weapon. So the “tables [have] turned” and “The dominant male is happy and contented.” The “women wait on him as if he were a king.” Oppressions ensue during tiger-killing. Engor invents cooked meat accidentally “and civilization progresses another step.”

Tribal members escape Guadi by hiding in a cave whose entrance is too small for the giant. Guadi tries to topple rocks to create a cave-in, but torches are created and a circle of fire is made. (Instead of just burning the giant to death, they decide to risk the entire ecosystem.) Engor is trapped inside the ring temporarily, and Tigri admires him now. Engor decides not to return to his own tribe but to live with Tigri.

Now everybody is eating burnt meat. O happy happy day. The old woman is happy at the pairings and the prospect of peace and increase. Tigri and Engor exchange blood as part of their marriage ceremony. All dance again, and the “eternal battle of supremacy between woman and man” is settled temporarily through romance.

Suddenly, puke covers the entire tribe! (Oh, no, that was me getting up to turn off the tv.)

Comments: I suppose the function of this kind of movie resembles a sort of backward aphrodisiac: that is, the film is so stupid that it was automatically preferable to make out at the drive-in.