Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968)

Roger Corman knows how to get the most out of a movie. He turned the Russian Planeta Bur into both Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and this movie. The former* has new scenes with Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue, but the latter has one major reason to watch: Mamie Van Doren.

The pedigree of this movie is pretty wild, because it was adapted by Peter Bogdanovich, who chose not to have his name credited on the final film. And let’s not forget that this all ties back — since Corman loved to recycle what he recycled — into the early Francis Ford Coppola cheapy and Mill Creek box set favorite, Battle Beyond the Sun.

Five male astronauts and their robot John land on Venus and are attacked by a pterodactyl and then an entire culture of women, including Van Doren. Amongst their number are Verba (Mary Marr, who would go on to edit Rolfe Kanefsky’s softcore movies), Twyla (Paige Lee), Meriama (Irene Orton), Wearie (Pam Helton) and Mayaway (Margot Hartman, who in addition to being in this movie, would go on to be the chairman of the board of the First Stamford Corporation, one of the largest privately held commercial real estate companies in the State of Connecticut; she also wrote and starred in Violent MidnightDescendant and The Curse of the Living Corpse).

Bogdonovich was asked by Corman to work on the film, as American-International Pictures wanted some girls in it, so he hired Mamie Van Doren and an entire cast of blondes, then went and filmed them for five days and did the narration.

Despite the fact that this had to be remixed together, you have to love the ending, where the robot left behind becomes the new god of Venus. Spoiler warning for a 52 year old film…

*Curtis Harrington adapted that movie.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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