Caveman (1981) Blu-ray

120989_frontNow this movie here is a one I had seen around the time we first got cable and then completely forgot about. I didn’t even recall it until Olive Films mentioned they were releasing it on disc. But now that I remember it I also now remember this was one of those movies kids in school talked about. And I also remember now this was a movie I watched a lot once it hit cable, Of course back then cable was still in it’s infancy and you could watch, say, Clash Of The Titans ten times a day on either HBO or Showtime. Basically after hearing of the Olive Films announcement I was eager to see if it holds up.

I remembered it starred Ringo Starr but totally forgotten before-they-were-famous Dennis Quaid and Shelly Long were in it. I didn’t notice Quaid till he starred in Dreamscape (1984), and my earliest memory of Long is from Night Shift (1982). Caveman probably never stuck in my mind because those two actors didn’t really make an impression on me until those two aforementioned movies.

Now that I’ve seen the movie last night, yeah, it still holds up. I enjoyed it and it will now get absorbed into my ever-growing DVD collection. I’m still amazed at how young Quaid and Long looked back in the early 80s.

You know someone must have looked at One Millions Years B.C. (1966) and thought, ‘hey, you know, I bet we could do a comic version of that.’ The caveman comedy sub-genre is so small I can only think of one of other caveman flick that revolves around the cavemen eking out a comic existence in their respective time frame and that’s Year One (2009). If there are any others I cannot recall them. I do remember Encino Man (1992) but I’d put that in a sub-category of the Caveman comedy sub-genre since the caveman is a Neanderthal out of time in modern day L.A. Yeah, I’m anal like that when it comes to categorizing movies.

As I mentioned before Ringo Starr is the focus of the movie as he plays misfit, Atouk, living with a group of more alpha male knuckledraggers led by Tonda (the late ex-football star turned actor John Matuszak). Tonda has a main squeeze. Her name is Lana (of the big boobies) played by Barbara Bach (The Great Alligator, The Unseen, Island Of The Fishmen) and pretty much the entire motivation of Atouk throughout the whole movie is proving he’s better than Tonda so he can get with Lana.

A particular untoward and comic event occurs between he, her and Tonda that gets Atouk kicked out of Tonda’s clan. He then partners up with old buddy, Lar (Quaid), and tries to make a life for himself. Eventually they meet Tala (Long) and the old, blind man she cares for, Gog (Jack Gilford), and then eventually a whole other band of not-so-alpha knuckledraggers that instantly becomes Atouk’s new clan. Tala has the hots for Atouk but he can’t get past the fantasy of big-boobed Lana.

I have to say most of the well-known “points of evolution” are touched upon in this 91-minute live action Looney Tunes-ish flick. The cavemen “evolve” by learning to stand up straight, thanks to an accident between Atouk and Lar that cracks their backs, now everyone they meet afterwards gets their backs cracked by them so they can “walk like a man.” Fire is discovered thanks to a lightening strike on a branch and in the final act they journey into a land where an ice age is occurring, highlight of which involves an abominable snowman (Richard Moll in disguise), and the use of tool making is realized as Atouk’s clan goes to war with Tonda’s clan.

Like One Million Years B.C. the major highlight for me in this flick was the excellent stop motion animation by the late and renowned FX artist, David Allen, of the few dinosaurs the cavemen encounter, which include a prehistoric horned chameleon-type, a T-Rex and a Pteranodon. IMDB states FX artist, Jim Danforth, did some uncredited dino work on the movie too, and while watching the end credits last night I was amazed to also see FX artists, Randall William Cook (The Gate, The Gate II) and Chris Walas (Piranha, Humanoids From The Deep, Dragonslayer, The Fly II) mentioned. Apparently Walas created the Abominable Snowman.

Olive Films released Caveman on separate editions DVD and Blu-ray on February 17th.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio—no subtitles. The transfer looked pretty damn good to me. I was very satisfied with how this blu-ray came out. Colors and clarity are quite good.

There are no extras other than the theatrical trailer.

Recommended if you’re a Gen-Xer who remembers this from their childhood, or like me who forgot about it and was pleasantly reintroduced to it decades later. Either way you can’t lose.


About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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