"This gun converts my armpit funk
into deadly rays. No one will stand in my way!"
There are a few films that aren't admired or enjoyed by anyone. These films are constantly mentioned as being the worst ever made, they show up in the imdb bottom 100, and they become cherished episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yor, the Hunter from the Future is one of those films. This is one movie we can tear apart without worrying about some fan group sending us an angry letter. Even the film's director isn't a fan. When asked about it, Antonio Margheriti said, "I mean, look at it, it's so bad!"
Yor (Reb Brown, who threatened to soil Captain America's image with those two TV movies he made) is a suspiciously blond and well-groomed savage living a brutal life in a prehistoric wasteland. We first meet him when he saves a suspiciously well-groomed female savage (Corinne Clery) from being eaten by a dinosaur whose skin suspiciously resembles papier-mache. Naturally, the other members of the woman's tribe (who are neither blond nor well-groomed) wonder certain things about Yor: Where did he come from? What is that shiny medallion that hangs from his neck? How does he get his whites so white?
Robin Williams between projects.
Yor, too, is mystified about his own origins, but when one of the tribesmen identifies his medallion as identical to the one worn by the local desert goddess, he decides to set off on a quest to find out about his past. Unfortunately, the path to the continuing plot is blocked by a long and pointless conflict with a group of ape-men. They kidnap Ka-Laa (the woman who was almost eaten by a dino) and throw Yor off a cliff. The End.
Unfortunately for those of us actually watching the movie, that's not the end, but you can't blame us for a little wishful thinking. Yor somehow survives his trip to the bottom of a ravine and returns with Ka-Laa's adopted father, Pag, to beat the crap out of the monkey-men and continue on his quest. One boring adventure leads to another, Yor dabbles in a bit of polygamy, and finally we discover the truth: Yor was once named Flash Gordon, and after his battle with Ming the Merciless, he accidentally crash-landed on this primitive planet and was struck with severe amnesia.
Wait -- we got sidetracked into making up a more interesting movie. What we actually learn is that Yor is the son of an advanced civilization which is now dominated by the evil Overlord. Personally, if we ever meet someone named Overlord, we'll try to have him done away with, because it's just not healthy to keep a guy like that around. But these Logan's Run rejects didn't realize that, and so Yor must help them throw off their shackles and escape back to their homeworld. Or something like that.
What sets Yor apart from the average bad movie is its ambition. This movie features no fewer than three dinosaur attacks, a super-scientific city, an army of androids, numerous laser battles, and a spaceship. All of these effects are accomplished on the cheap. The dinosaurs are stiff full-sized mock-ups that would not be out of place at a high-school play and the super-scientific city is played by a couple of bare sets, what looks like the interior of a church, and, most of all, the basement of a power plant.
"Darth what? Emperor who?"
Occasionally the movie becomes so goofy that even we had trouble believing our eyes. During Ka-Laa's imprisonment in the cave of the ape-men, Yor hangs around outside until some sort flying dinosaur, which actually looks more like some kind of bat-man, attacks him. Yor kills the hairy menace, then uses its (somehow) instantly rigor-morits ridden body to hang-glide into the cave. If the whole movie were as silly as this, it would at least be watchable. But most of Yor is darned boring, as we are forced to watch cave people walk around the Turkish landscape, waiting for something to happen.
We think Pag summed it up best when he said: "We will need a lot more hemp before we're through." Amen, brother.