Teenage Cave Man
|Teenage Cave Man|
|Directed by||Roger Corman|
|Produced by||Roger Corman|
|Written by||R. Wright Campbell|
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Edited by||Irene Morra|
|Distributed by||AIP (1958, original) Lions Gate (2006 DVD)|
Teenage Cave Man (in the UK called Out of the Darkness) is an independently made 1958 black-and-white science fiction film produced and directed by Roger Corman, starring Robert Vaughn and Darah Marshall. The film was originally shot as Prehistoric World, but the title was changed by its distributor American International Pictures and then released on a double feature with How to Make a Monster.
Years later in an interview, Corman stated "I never directed a film called Teenage Caveman". Lead actor Robert Vaughn stated in an interview that he considered Teenage Caveman to be the worst film ever made. It was later featured on the mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
A tribe of primitive humans lives in a barren, rocky wasteland and struggle for survival, despite a lush, plant-filled environment on the other side of a nearby river. They refuse to cross it because of a law which evolved from an ancient tale warning of a god lurking there who brings death with a single touch.
A young man of the tribe challenges the law and is eventually followed by other male members of his tribe, who fearfully cross the river in order to bring him back. They soon encounter the terrible god, a large, horribly burned but strangely human-like creature. Despite the young man's peace overture to the god, another tribal member, out of fear, lays a trap and stones the creature to death with a large rock; the young man then shoots and kills the tribesman with one of his arrows. The others then gather around the now dead god and discover that the creature is actually a man but much much older and with long white hair. He is wearing some kind of strange unknown outer garment with a fearful hood. They find another strange thing in the old man's possession: a book. They are puzzled by the black-and-white photos it contains of an even stranger, unknown human world.
In a surprising denouement provided in voice-over by the ancient man after his death, the truth is revealed: He was actually a survivor of a long ago nuclear holocaust who was forced to live for decades inside his now ragged, discolored, and bulky radiation suit (which is implied to have once been covered with deadly radioactive fallout). The ancient man has wandered the land for decades while the now primitive remnants of a devastated human race have slowly increased their numbers, his frightening outer appearance causing them to fear and shun him.
A final, cautionary question is asked by the old man in the voice-over: Will humanity someday repeat its nuclear folly after civilization has once again risen to its former heights?
The film was originally known as Land of Prehistoric Women.
Teenage Cave Man was released to DVD by Lions Gate on April 18th 2006, as part of a two-disc set, with Viking Women and the Sea Serpent as the first disc.
- Survival film, about the film genre, with a list of related films
- Warren, Bill. Keep Watching The Skies Vol II: 1958–1962. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1982. ISBN 0-89950-032-3.