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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Teenage Caveman (2001)

"This is the old world, and it's gone. God destroyed them for their sins."
- The Shaman (Paul Hipp)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: July 21, 2002

Stars: Andrew Keegan, Tara Subkoff
Other Stars: Richard Hillman, Tiffany Limos, Stephen Jasso, Crystal Grant, Shan Elliot, Hayley Keenan, Paul Hipp
Director: Larry Clark

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexuality, substance abuse, language and violence, all involving teens
Run Time: 01h:29m:57s
Release Date: July 02, 2002
UPC: 043396073661
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- CA-A- C-

DVD Review

Stan Winston, renowned for his special effects and animatronics creatures, continues to mine the old AIP catalog for materials to remake. This time out, he's taking on one of the most notorious pictures of all time, the 1958 Roger Corman opus Teenage Caveman. Retaining little beyond the title, however, the film is given a vicious edge by director Larry Clark.

In post-apocalyptic tribal America, teenage caveman David (Andrew Keegan) is in rebellion against his shaman father (Paul Hipp). When dad decides to take David's girlfriend Sarah (Tara Subkoff) as his concubine, that's the last straw and dad gets a cross in his eye for his trouble. When David is strung up to die, his friends rescue him and they head off for parts unknown. There they meet Neil (Richard Hillman) and Judith (Tiffany Limos) who have survived the plagues through genetic experimentation. But they seem to have a sinister agenda of their own. Will the last remnants of humanity succumb to something worse?

Larry Clark is probably best known for Kids, one of the most terrifying films in recent memory. His adeptness with teen sexuality and drug use is put to good use here as the teens are a randy bunch (learning to read from old issues of Penthouse Forum), and Neil and Judith are truly bad role models. Sex equals death in this world as well as that of Kids, for there is a ghastly sexually transmitted virus roaming in the background. Despite the exploitative wallowing in the sex, drugs and foul language, at heart this is really a reactionary film.

While the effects are generally decent, including some memorable gore sequences, the final transformations of Neil are unconvincing rubber appliances that clearly were done by new apprentices in the Winston workshop. The acting is okay, though the requirements are fairly limited. David doesn't really come to life, and Subkoff is mostly called upon to be frigid, but Hillman and Limos take their over-the-top roles and really run with them. They definitely have an edgy nastiness that's effective overall. Stephen Jasso as the obnoxious friend Vincent is amusing in a comic role that has some dark edges.

All in all, this isn't an horrific effort, but I rather expected more from Clark. Tons of nudity and teen sexuality are present, if that's important to you. Just try not to think too hard about the plot holes, such as where Neil gets his post-apocalypse electricity and gasoline, both in plentiful supply. The running time is a full ten minutes shorter than indicated on the keepcase.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks very nice overall. Detail is sharp and crisp and black levels are solid, though a bit lacking in shadow detail. There are some stylistic choices that might look defective, such as segments of extremely heavy grain, and others where most of the colors have been bleached out. But these are clearly intentional cinematographic choices and they come across admirably. The second layer includes a pan & scan version that deletes significant chunks from the side of the picture.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The soundtrack sounds properly clean. There are deep bass and vivid surround effects during a storm sequence early on. Dialogue is clear throughout and has nice depth. There's decent directionality though it's not hugely pronounced.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bram Stoker's Dracula, Urban Legends Final Cut
1 Featurette(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Still gallery
  2. Creature Features promo
Extras Review: The best extra on this disc is an extensive stills and photo gallery, with over 80 pictures and monster concept drawings. Some of the behind-the-scenes shots are rather too dark to make out, but there's some interesting material here, particularly in the drawings segment. A 2m:24s "behind the scenes" sequence offers little beyond studio fluff and nothing of substance. Besides two widescreen trailers for Bram Stoker's Dracula (nonanamorphic) and Urban Legends Final Cut (anamorphic) , there's also a video trailer for the Creature Features series of films. A set of filmographies for Clark, Keegan and Stan Winston round out the package. It's better than nothing, but it's not much.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

A tarted-up revisioning of the Corman classic, with some good moments but the climactic makeup is surprisingly lacking. A lovely transfer in all respects, with a few okay extras.

 


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