Robert Vaughn stars as a 35-year-old teenage caveman with styled hair who seeks to discover what is in the uncharted jungles beyond his tribe's campsite. It is against the Word (and the Word is the Law), but he breaks it anyway. Soon he discovers a strange creature that kills with its touch. We later learn that this is not a prehistoric tale, but a post-apocalyptic tale, and the strange creature is a 500-plus year old irradiated scientist in a radiation suit.
For the Mystery Science Theater 3000
version, please go to the episode recap page
- After the End: Though we don't learn this until scientist starts his post-mortem narration.
- Ain't No Rule: When The Black-Bearded One protests The Symbol Maker's Son making a sleeping barrow outside of the caves for him and The Fair-Haired Maiden, the Elder basically shrugs and says "There's no law that says he can't."
- Dawson Casting: Vaughn is closer to a thirtysomething caveman, to be honest.
- Follow the Leader: The plot would be semi-recycled for Battlefield Earth.
- Nameless Narrative: Everyone is referred to by job (The Symbol Maker), relationship (The Symbol Maker's Son) or physical appearance (The Black-Bearded One, the Fair-Haired Maiden)
- No Name Given: Outside of the Symbol Maker, his son and a couple of minor characters, no one is called by their designated names, on screen.
- Old Shame: Vaughn claimed this was the worst film ever made after he did it. He probably realized that was far from the truth, because he later guest-hosted a Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day introducing the film.
- Poisonous Friend: The Black-Bearded One starts the moving encouraging The Symbol Maker's Son to challenge The Law, then rats him out the moment he actually takes his advice. He spends the movie after that as a Smug Snake antagonist.
- Roger Corman: Is responsible for this.
- Stock Footage: Wouldn't be a Corman movie without it!