10 June 2013

Yor: The Hunter From the Future

Italy, 1983
Director – Antonio Margheriti
RCA/Columbia Home Entertainment, VHS, 1983
Run Time - 1 hour, 28 minutes 

We first posted Yor's nifty tab/flap RCA box way back HERE, but it seemed time to give it a more thorough treatment and by chance, our friends over at Ed's Pop Culture Shack did the same thing....

Not content merely to skim the profits off the still cooling carcass of the sword and sandal cum caveman cycle, Italian director Anthony M. Dawson or Antonio Margheriti as he was sometimes known, decided to weave his ridiculous half-baked story arc into another popular genre, this one culled from the tattered edges of an epic space opera franchise that would later be consumed by a giant evil mouse.

Utilizing the last-minute-generic change of heart for which the Italians held a peculiar affection, Dawson does his countryman and contemporary Bruno Mattei one better by filming a kind of what-if version of Planet of the Apes in which Taylor hits his head during the crash and wanders the planet searching for his identity. (The opening scenes of Beneath the Planet of the Apes suggest that this is precisely what happened since the first film.) Of course, its nearly twenty years and four sequels late, but so were Yor’s special effects, resembling more the homemade, rubber-bat stylings of another late sixties sci-fi television franchise than anything out of the relatively more technological 80’s.

But that’s par for the course with Yor. Even the man behind the mullet-wig, Reb Brown himself was a couple of decades out of step, detouring through European cinema just like Bronson, Eastwood and others did when jobs were scarce in the States. Again though, that was in the late sixties, and those guys had comebacks in the 70's and 80’s when tough-guys were in style along with the president. So those jobs weren’t scarce in the 80’s, Reb just never had what it took to be a tough guy. He’s hard not to love as the scenery-chewing whatever he’s playing, but in spite of his paucity of emotion, he’s simply too cuddly to cut it. His jaunt across the screen as Captain America in the 70’s being perhaps his most memorable domestic role, was nevertheless laughable because the guy lacked the steely ex-paratrooper chutzpa that the character demanded. That’s probably why they deliberately wrote him as the son of the original Captain; plausible deniability.

Yep, its Luciano Pigozzi, the old guy from ExY3K
So too is Reb as Yor, way, and I mean waaaaaaayyyyyyy behind the times. Ostensibly a caveman in the Fiction-olithic era, the film opens with a bang, but quickly devolves into a monotonous whine. By the end we discover that indeed, like its better known simian predecessor, Yor’s planet shared the same fate, and a present that looks like the past is actually a dystopian, post-nuke future. By now, precisely thirty years after Yor’s release in the States it would be superfluous to describe or validate the film, nor do I feel masochistic enough to try. Others have already done so, and better. People familiar with the type of product Margheriti produces, Last Hunter, Cannibal Apocalypse, will not be surprised by Yor’s rambling, sleep-inducing middle act. For the blissfully ignorant in search of something so-bad-it’s-good (as I was, many years ago when I found Yor,) it should be noted that euphemism is highly subjective. Legendary among fans of bad and Italian and particularly bad-Italian, which is a distinct flavor, Yor represents a particular depth of ridiculously inept filmmaking. I can think of other shitty movies that I enjoy more, but few that try so hard.

This French poster art comes courtesy of www.golobthehumanoid.com. I could be wrong, but it looks very much as if it was painted by master comics artist Philippe Druillet.

Other image credits from top:
That's my VHS box

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