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It's a John Cleese reference.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

VHS Vednesday: Yor, the Hunter from the Future

YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983). Directed by Antonio Margheriti. Starring Reb Brown, Corinne Clery, and Luciano Pigozzi.

It feels like cheating to cover such a legendary bad movie that has already been reviewed all over the web, but I just watched this one the other day and I don't have time to find another one.
Yor, the Hunter from the Future opens with the titular hunter (Reb Brown, of the 1970s Captain America movies and the MST3K classic Space Mutiny) bounding across the barren prehistoric landscape with a vapid, carefree grin on his face, as a memorable (if near-incomprehensible) pseudo-Queen rock anthem blares his praises: "Yor's world, he's the man!" This theme will reoccur several times throughout the movie, whenever Yor accomplishes some amazing feat...or even when he fails to do so, as in one scene where he is rescued by his grizzled sidekick Pag (Luciano Pigozzi). That's got to be galling for Pag...his big moment in the spotlight, and the soundtrack insists on ignoring him to once more declare Yor "the man."
After the opening scene, Yor (who somehow manages to maintain his lustrous blond locks in a world without conditioner) comes to the rescue of the equally gorgeous and well-groomed cavegirl Ka-Laa (Corinne Clery) and her more realistically grubby father figure, the aforementioned Pag, as they are menaced by a triceratops. After slaughtering the dinosaur and drinking its blood (in an inappropriately cheery manner), Yor meets the rest of Ka-Laa and Pag's tribe...who are shortly thereafter attacked by a band of ape-men. Once again, it's Yor to the rescue!
MST3K fans...remember the scene in Cave Dwellers where Ator (Miles O'Keefe) invents the hang-glider? Well, Yor does him one better...he invents hang-gliding by killing a giant bat and using it as his craft!
After a number of episodic primitive adventures, the movie takes a sharp left turn when Yor and his merry band are attacked yet again...but this time by spaceships! Yes, this isn't a prehistoric world, but a post-apocalyptic one (thus explaining the title). Yor and Ka-Laa are abducted by the sinister Overlord (gaunt, angular John Steiner, hamming it up to beat the band), who intends to use them as "perfect genetic specimens" to create a new race who will obey him without question. Like that trick ever works...
To make a long story short (which, coincidentally, is exactly what the US distributor did by editing a four-part Italian TV serial into this mishmosh), Yor, Ka-Laa, and Pag escape safely, and the Overlord is destroyed (as if there was any doubt). As our heroes fly off into the sunset in their shiny new aircraft, a previously-unheard narrator attempts to wrap it all up by announcing Yor's new destiny to bring the world back to a civilized lesson. Valiantly trying to set up a sequel, he gravely intones "Will he succeed?" Well,'s Yor's world, and he's the man!
Yor, the Hunter from the Future was just one of a flood of sword-and-sorcery movies streaming out of Europe in the 1980s...possibly sparked off by the success of Conan the Barbarian (though I hesitate to give any one movie the credit for such a widespread movement). These '80s epics usually fell into two categories...those that tried to outdo Milius' picture in terms of graphic violence and nudity (such as Lucio Fulci's gruesome Conquest), and those that harkened back to the more carefree, family-friendly Hercules movies of the 1960s (such as, well...Luigi Cozzi's Hercules). Yor falls squarely in the "innocent fun" camp.
Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?
As a fan of Italian B-movies, I was delighted to see the omnipresent Luciano Pigozzi (usually credited as "Alan Collins" for American distribution) getting a sizeable role as Pag...and for once playing a sympathetic character, to boot! (Pigozzi has sometimes been dubbed "the Italian Peter Lorre," both for the physical resemblance and for his typecasting in sinister roles.) What's more, Pigozzi actually makes it through a movie alive for once (though there is a close call where it looks like he's going to go the "heroic sacrifice to buy time for the others' escape" route). Now that's really a change for him...



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