1989 / Director. Albert Pyun (credit removed) Movie #8
& Rusty Lemorande
With respect to Albert Pyun, it's important that I acknowledge the fact that he voluntarily removed his name from this movie. This is another example of studio interference completely wrecking a film and it is yet again another moment in Albert's career when he was never given the respect he deserved. JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH was not the original working title and Albert had made the film as a sequel to his popular ALIEN FROM LA. Before he was able to complete it Cannon Films snatched the project from his grasp and spliced it together with a similarly themed film, which was being directed by Rusty Lemorande. What WERE two individual, fully envisioned & highly conceptual adventure movies ended up being mashed together and morphed into a steaming heap of shit. There is absolutely no coherent or tangible storyline whatsoever. It begins in Hawaii where a British woman finds herself stuck in a cave with two brothers and their little sister. Trapped when a volcanic eruption seals the cave entrance they are forced to move deeper into the twisted subterranean caverns. Eventually they fall into a gateway which leads them to Atlantis, the setting from ALIEN FROM LA. Suddenly the older brother and younger sister are absent from the rest of the movie. They simply cease to exist and the two remaining characters are unexpectedly set aside to make way for a new storyline about Atlantis planning a full scale attack on the surface world. Watching JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH made me angry. Not only had CANNON wronged two deserving filmmakers but they had also demonstrated an absolute contempt and disrespect for the audience. Weird dream sequences attempt to make use of extracted footage with weird monsters, trolls and goblins appearing from nowhere, contributing NOTHING to the story. Emo Phillips even appears for all of 30 seconds, which was a HUGE mind-fuck for me... I love the guy but seriously - WTF? The bulk of the footage used was taken from Albert's film and for what it's worth it looks great. He recaptured the same post-punk, grungy wasteland that made the first movie awesome and the subterranean characters are wonderful. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see Albert's intended sequel in it's entirety because he clearly had a vision. I can only imagine the heartbreak of having a project you've laboured over being ripped from underneath you and bastardised beyond recognition. Albert was right to disown the film, but out of respect for his craft and the work he put into it I feel that it's important to include it in this retrospective series.