Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983)

Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983), directed by Terry MArcel, written by Terry Marcel and Harry Robertson, starring Kay Lentz, Richard Hatch, John Saxon, Peter O' Farrel, Ray Charleson, Kenneth Hendel, Philip van Der Byl and Dawn Abraham 

Prisoners of the Lost Universe is not a good movie. It's not terrible by any means, but it's not a good movie either, despite it is quite an enjoyable b-flick on its own right. In all counts, Prisoners of the Lost Universe is one of those small budget, pulp fiction infused sci-fi/fantasy flicks to the core, to the extent of that it uses the commonplace trope of where the main characters are whisked from our reality into an another that is at the same time familiar but also a bit alien, but not too much.

Carrie (Lenz) is a reporter for a shlock science show, that is on her way to meet a scientist called Dr Hartman (Hendel), who has invented a device capable of sending matter to a parallel universe. To the misfortune of them both, a series of earthquakes send them through a portal to the said universe, Hartman first, Carrie a bit later after a kendo fighting electrician Dan (Hatch), whom she already met earlier, arrives at the house to seek assistance because of his car troubles and ends up sent to the parallel universe as well.

Carrie finds herself alone from a strange world that looks like South Africa, but with trees with paper plates as flowers. The first thing Carrie manages to do after arriving is to save a colossal man (Van der Byl) from a sand trap. More of him later. She then stumbles on to find Dan a bit later, whom with she saves a greenman (Charleson) from some black and white, flashy red-eyed midgets.

Their new friend, who's a bit more talkative than the giant Carrie rescued earlier, tells them things of the world they are in, Vanya, because as luck has it, Vanyan sounds like English. The greenman feels that he owes them something and after he returns the favour, he lefts them on their own means, which ends up badly after a power-hungry war chief  Kleel (Saxon) shoots Dan and takes Carrie as his prisoner. After a pint-sized thief Malachi (O' Farrell) finds Dan and agrees to lead him to Kleel's fortress, the whole cast is assembled, as later on the giant (see, I said there'd be more of him) and the greenman join Dan's rescue mission get Carrie from the clutches of Kleel.

Oh, and then there's the final twist of Dr Hartman being the warlock that has entered into Kleel's service, providing him previously unseen technology in the form of gunpowder and some flintlock guns, which have made the war chief a formidable power, that could take over the whole Vanya, if Hartman manages to provide him with nitroglycerine.

In the end, as Carrie and Dan realise the threat Hartman has created, they end up putting the villainous man out of business for good with the help of their new friends and some well-placed explosives.

As far the story goes, the movie is pretty much as you'd expect it to be: silly, a bit over the top, but reasonably fun in a stupid way. It's not a long flick either, only around 90 minutes, but during that time it exhausts most of the cliches the genre has to offer. You can't blame it from trying to be original, that's for sure.

If you're into 80's pulp fantasy, Prisoners of the Lost Universe is not a bad choice, despite its obviously low production values and actors hamming it up on purpose. As a movie, it belongs among those, that you need to watch in a certain mindset and with a level of appreciation towards them as if you watch it expecting to see something mindblowing, you'll just be disappointed, as these days enthusiastic amateurs can produce better-looking stuff on YouTube.

Also, as another note, you'd also better not expect to see the movie that is shown on the poster, as it exaggerates things quite a bit. The highrise demolishing earthquake that it portrays is nowhere to be seen in the movie itself and Dan definitely doesn't run around with a machine gun (though that also might be a podgun, which he doesn't use that either expect in one scene, as it is the greenman's weapon) in his hands.

And that's Prisoners of the Lost Universe, from where we learn that Kleel's law is just, hard but just. And the soundtrack is surprisingly good as well. So despite Hatch, and I doubt any of the cast does so either, apparently didn't like the movie that much, I'd still say it's worth the watch, if not for anything else, but for the many stupid sound effects it has going on.