At the Earth's Core (1976 film)

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Mahars gather for a sacrifice in At the Earth's Core (1976 film)...

At the Earth's Core (1976), AKA Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core


"4,000 miles to the center of the Earth... to a world within a world!" Based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. A Victorian-era scientist and his assistant take a test run in their "Iron Mole" drilling machine and end up in a strange underground labyrinth full of prehistoric monsters and cavemen, ruled over by a species of giant telepathic bird.



MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: PG (Violence, mild Adult Content and Profanity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; vaguely similar in tone)

Based on the work of pulp writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Hollow Earth setting full of amoral psychic monsters and remnants of ancient civilizations wouldn't be far out of place among the work of the "Lovecraft Circle".

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Scott Ashlin at 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting, (2.5/5 Stars) (link) - "The main advantage At the Earth's Core has... is lots of action... there's usually something going on in this movie, and that something is usually pretty exciting.... Sure, this is visibly a cheap movie, and a lot of the special effects look pretty threadbare.... And sure again, it’s probably about fifteen minutes too long, and insufficient attention was paid to some pretty important elements of the story. But experience has taught me to expect very little of a Burroughs movie, and whatever its faults, At the Earth’s Core really did deliver far more than I was prepared for."
  • Brian Trenchard-Smith at Trailers from Hell (link) - "...preposterous fun for the young at heart... cloaks the hokey science with period charm..."
  • Roger Ebert, (link) - "...Doug and the Professor sneak around one strange man-eating vegetable, and there's another one - which is the original vegetable, photographed from a new angle. Meanwhile, the telepathic parrots wander by, opening and closing their beaks by spring action. It's along about here we begin to really zero in on Dia's bodice. Let somebody else break up the rocks and clean up after the parrots."
  • Phil Hardy in the Aurum Film Encylopedia: Science Fiction (Pg. 327) - "...well mounted, if essentially frivolous film. ...with great gusto, if not quite the rugged charm of the original novel."
  • Richard Scheib at the Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (2/5 Stars) (link) - "At the Earth's Core has the finest opening of all the films in the series, a sublime evocation of what the Steampunk and cod Victorian science-fiction cycle is all about with the credits overlaid against moody red images of metal pouring from fiery forges and set to an epical score. The all-too-brief unveiling of the Iron Mole, a giant metal drillhead set on a wooden scaffolding pointed straight towards a mountain is great... ...something that fully conveys the sweep of British Imperial technological wonder that these films are all about. ... However, after such a fine build-up, At the Earth's Core goes completely downhill. It is ruined the minute the first monster bursts onto the scene, which rather laughably looks like a giant bird and has about the same conviction as the creature in the average Japanese monster movie or 1970s episode of Doctor Who (1963-89)."

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

Dr. Abner Perry, a British Victorian period scientist, and his US financier David Innes make a test run of their "Iron Mole" drilling machine in a Welsh mountain, but end up in a strange underground labyrinth ruled by a species of giant telepathic flying reptiles, the Mahars, and full of prehistoric monsters and cavemen. They are captured by the Mahars, who keep primitive humans as their slaves through mind control. David falls for the beautiful slave girl Princess Dia but when she is chosen as a sacrificial victim in the Mahar city, David and Perry must rally the surviving human slaves to rebel and not only save her but also win their freedom.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements

Sagoth from At the Earth's Core (1976 film)...
  • fiction: Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core and other Pallucidar stories
  • race: Mahars, intelligent, telepathic dinosaur-things
  • race: "Sagoths" ("cave men", compare to Gnophkehs, Voormis, etc.)
  • tome: a Mahar book written in Akkadian

Keeper Notes