Teenage Cave Man
|Directed by||Roger Corman|
|Produced by||Roger Corman|
|Written by||R. Wright Campbell|
|Music by||Albert Glasser|
|Edited by||Irene Morra|
Teenage Caveman (released in the UK as Out of the Darkness) is an independently made 1958 black-and-white science fiction film produced and directed by Roger Corman, that starred Robert Vaughn and Darah Marshall. The film was originally shot as Land of Prehistoric Women, but the title was changed by its distributor, American International Pictures. It wasn released on a double feature with How to Make a Monster (1958).
Years later, Corman stated in an interview, "I never directed a film called Teenage Caveman". Lead actor 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 land on the other side of a nearby river. They refuse to cross the river because of a law that 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 that tribesman with one of his arrows. The others gather around the now dead god and discover that the creature is actually a much older man 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; tThey are puzzled by this flat, thick object that opens and contains mysterious markings and vivid black, white and gray images that show an even stranger human world unknown to them.
In a surprising denouement provided by the ancient man after his death, the truth is revealed in voice-over as the tribesman page through his book: 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 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 in voice-over by the old man: Will humanity someday repeat its nuclear folly after civilization has once again risen to its former heights?
Teenage Caveman was budgeted at $70,000.
- 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.