It’s time for another slice of ropey 1960s ‘classic’ SF courtesy of Fabulous Films, as they release Ib ANGRY RED PLANET Melchior’s THE TIME TRAVELERS on UK DVD.
A group of scientists led by Preston Foster (1932’s DR X) open a time portal that takes them just over a hundred years into the future. The landscape has become scorched and barren (some very effective location filming - California has rarely looked as alien as this).
Pursued by mutants the team take refuge in a cave, which turns out to lead into the underground base of all that is left of human civilisation following a nuclear war (which we see via stock footage). Leader John Hoyt explains that, as well as building rather peculiar-looking androids with numbers written in shaky marker pen on their chests, the underground community is busy building a rocket ship. Earth is no longer able to support life and the only option is to escape the planet.
Everything goes wrong. The rocket gets destroyed. Our heroes rebuild their time portal and return to 1964 only to discover they’ve got that wrong as well - because of a mistake their earlier selves are still in the laboratory but moving very slowly. The ending suggests that they are trapped in a time loop.
THE TIME TRAVELERS has a pretty downbeat ending for a 1964 science fiction film. Despite having a tiny budget, it boasts ideas used a few years later in Irwin Allen’s TIME TUNNEL TV series, as well as the third season 1968 STAR TREK episode ‘Wink of an Eye’.
It’s all rough and ready fun. Sadly, unlike ANGRY RED PLANET or REPTILICUS there are no giant monsters, but THE TIME TRAVELERS is actually better made and a bit more interesting than either of those. Fabulous Films’ DVD boasts a pretty good print with vivid colours (director of photography on this was a young Vilmos Zsigmond). There are no extras.
Ib Melchior's THE TIME TRAVELERS is out on UK DVD from Fabulous Films on Monday 11th July 2016