Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women



Notes: Filmgroup, 79 minutes.
The Soviet ’50s film Planeta Burg was further ravaged by Roger Corman to serve as a foundation for this mix with footage of Venusian women added in.

Moana: Mamie Van Doren
Andre Freneau: Gennadi Vernov (in the Soviet portion of the film)

Screenplay: Henry Ney
Directed: “Derek Thomas” = Peter Bogdanovich, who also narrates.
Costumes: “Executed by Maureen of Hollywood”
Involved Somehow: Roger Corman

Summary/Commentary: As we see models of space stuff, a disembodied voice blabs sanctimoniously about “man’s greatest adventure: the exploration and colonization of space.” Ocean waves accompany the credits. Another voice, that of the character Andre, yammers, “Venus. Venus. The planet named after the Goddess of Love. This is where I left her, 26 million miles away. Because I know she exists. I know she does! I know it! All the time we were there I heard her. Her and that sweet, haunting sound she makes, like the sirens that tempted Ulysses. You may think I’m crazy back there on Earth — crazy and still intoxicated by the atmosphere back there. But, wait a minute, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you the whole story, all of it from the beginning and see what you think. You be the judge.”

Two years ago, in 1998, a voyage to Venus failed when a meteor hit the ship. Six months later, a second attempt involved two guys and a robot named John. “Marsha” was the control station on Earth. We see some space station footage. A back-up rescue team of three guys, including Andre, is on call. The astronauts lose contact and declare, “This is truly a prehistoric planet.” The rescue team must “blast off for Venus ourselves” to “complete the mission.”

On Venus, the original team encounters mud and little bouncey godzillas. The men shoot them, but the robot is unaffected by the gang attack. The rescue team lands on the planet and hear a haunting minor-third wailing. Andre gets caught by a tentacled monster-plant, but is rescued. The plant closes up, and the men see a dinosaur-like creature in the distance.

A rainstorm threatens the robot. One team hears the siren-song again. “A girl? Perhaps. Or a monster.” The Venusian women sleep on the rocks near the ocean, wearing hiphuggers and shell bras. Most of them are bleach-blondes. They walk into the sea and feed. A pteradactyl flies around and the women think it’s angry.

The rescue team is able to make radio contact with the robot. The robot reports that the other two men are not moving and receives first-aid instructions. The rescue team sees the flying reptile and uses an “astrogun” on it before submerging into the sea in their vehicle. The women find the corpse of the reptile, Tera. “What evil demon has destroyed our god?”

Underwater (behind an aquarium), the men discover a statue with the ruby eyes of a reptilian idol. Is there still a civilization on the planet? The women meanwhile give funeral rites to the pteradactyl. “You will be avenged.” The men underwater get the sense of being watched. The women throw the corpse into the sea and are informed by the swimmers that there are “invaders.” “They must die.”

The rescue team surfaces and builds a fire, chatting about possible Venusians. “To them we’re probably some kind of monsters.” Andre hears the song again: “a beautiful song and a beautiful girl” presumably. He has a sense of foreboding and finds a rock.

The women pray to a pit, starting a fire which initiates a volcano. The men wonder if they can see the lights of a city beyond the volcano. While the women chant “Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!” the robot team guys get trapped in lava rivers. Idiots. They “waited too long!” They climb on the robot, but when the temperature reaches 500 degrees as the robot wades through the lava, it announces that it has been programmed to eliminate excess weight under these cicumstances. The men shut off the robot and are rescued by the other team in its fire-proof vehicle. The robot falls into the lava.

One of the now five men preaches about evolutionary principles. Noting those “lizard men” (the mini-godzillas), he wonders about intelligent people. “If only there were some way to communicate with them.” The women awaken on the rocks and discover the fried robot remains. They pray to Tera for waters, which threatens the intended blast-off of the men. At the last minute, Andre discovers a rock with a face carved into it. The rocket blasts off, and the women realize “They are stronger than our gods.” The women stone the statue of Tera, remarking that “There is a stronger god.” They discover the charred robot remains and erect this as their new icon.