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Where Time Began (1978)             Encounters With the Unknown (1975)
 

Where Time Began: British vintage matinee idol Kenneth More stars as Otto Lindenbrock, a professor who decides to go to the center of the world to check out the sights. He encounters a big funky turtle, a groovy mushroom, a funky monkey, and some massive dinosaurs in this film made by horror mastermind Juan Piquer Simon (Pieces, Pod People). This is the longer euro-cut!

Encounters with the Unknown? Rod Serling narrates a shocking trilogy of UHF television level thrills! A vengeful mother out to get payback for her son’s death; an inbred son’s dog that goes to hell; a dead girl’s ghost that hitches a ride…All 3 terror stories are told and then retold at the end for those people that didn’t get the punch line the first.


(aka "Viaje al centro de la Tierra" or "Fabulous Journey to the Center of the Earth" or "Where Time Began")

 

directed by Juan Piquer Simón
Spain 1978

 

Professor Otto Lindenbrock (Kenneth More, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER) is tired of speculating on the make-up of the center of the Earth and finds a coded message in a supposedly fictional Swedish book about a journey to the Earth's core. He, his niece Glauben (Ivonne Sentis , CHINA 9 LIBERTY 37), and her suitor Axel (Pep Munné, LOVERS OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE) travel to the Icelandic volcano described in the book. They enlist the aid of shepherd Hans (Frank Braña, RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD) - who wants to be paid in sheep - and they descend into the dormant volcano, following the marking left by the books author. They run into mysterious explorer Olsen (Jack Taylor, THE GHOST GALLEON), who has been conducting his own exploration with the help of a mysterious metal box. They encounter dinosaurs, sea monsters, giant tortoises, and oversized apes. Spanish horror regulars Ricardo Palacios (PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK), Lone Fleming (TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD), George Rigaud (MURDER MANSION), Barta Barri (WEREWOLF SHADOW), and Luis Barboo (CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL) also appear. Although it departs from the Jules Verne source with the addition of Olsen and bringing Glauben (Grauben in the novel), Juan Piquer Simon's FABULOUS JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is actually an affectionate adaptation not out of step with Kevin Connor's mid-seventies Doug McClure quartet (AT THE EARTH'S CORE, THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT, PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT, and WARLORDS OF THE DEEP). Designer Francisco Prósper (VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED) and art director Emilio Ruiz del Río (PAN'S LABYRINTH) collaborated on the visual effects, which are affectionately cheesy as are the monsters. Both Taylor and Braña later appeared in memorable supporting roles in Simon's better known slasher PIECES.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: November 1978 (USA)

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DVD Review: Saturn Productions - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Saturn Productions

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:30:09
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.12 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Saturn Productions

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• B feature: ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNKNOWN (see below)
• Trailers for WHACKY TAXI, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, CHEERING SECTION, FABULOUS JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF
• THE EARTH, DRAGON VS. NEEDLES OF DEATH, and CHALLENGE THE DRAGON

DVD Release Date: 8 March 2011
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Although the cover refers to it under its American title WHERE TIME BEGAN, the progressive and anamorphic transfer bears the original FABULOUS JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH title. The print has a little damage throughout, but is generally clean and colorful. The mono audio is bold with only a little hiss. The film's theatrical trailer is included among the disc's other trailers. Although the double feature's cover is that of the Exploitation Cinema line, the menu used for the double bill is from the "Septic Cinema" line. The film was previously released by Code Red through Media Blasters under its original title with a still gallery and the US title sequence (sourced from video) as extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menu
 

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Harry Thomason
USA 1973

 

A not-even-remotely effective anthology of "eerie tales" narrated by THE TWILIGHT ZONE's Rod Serling (the opening and closing narration are handled by an unidentified stand-in, suggesting some post-production tinkering) revolving around the supernatural occurrences involving the residents of a certain cemetery while they were still living. In the first story, frat trio Frank (Gary Brockette, MARK OF THE WITCH), Randy (John Leslie), and Dave (Tom Haywood) inadvertently cause the accidental death of Johnny Davis (John Cissne) and are cursed to each die within cycles of seven days ("one by land, two by sky"). A week later, Dave is hit by a car and killed. Another week later, Frank boards a plane and confesses his fears to fellow passenger Father Duane (Bob Ginnaven, SO SAD ABOUT GLORIA), who convinces him that it is entirely coincidental. Father Duane gets off the plane at his destination while Frank continues on, only for the plane to explode before take-off. A week later, Father Duane, in order to remove his own sense of doubt, decides to contact Randy, only to be informed that he has gone skydiving... In the second story - set in 1906 - farmboy Jeff (Kevin Bieberly) is concerned when his dog goes missing and discovers the entrance to a cave that has opened up after the rain. His father Joe (Robert Holton) and the other townspeople are perturbed about the monstrous noises coming from the pit, but Joe decides to go down there anyway (just in case it might be his boy's dog)... The final story is a needlessly protracted version of the "stop me if you've heard this before" urban legend "The Girl on the Bridge," in which Senator (Michael Harvey, DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT) and his wife (Judith Fields) who pick up disoriented young Susan (Rosie Holotik, HORROR HIGH) on a bridge and agree to take her home. Of course, when they arrive there, Susan has vanished from the back seat and they learn from her father (Gene Ross, LOST HIGHWAY) that Susan died in an accident several years ago. The slim story is flesh out with flashbacks of Susan wanting to marry poor boy Paul (August Sehven) and her socially conscious father wanting her to marry into a wealthy family. The story is ponderously followed up by a near five-minute montage of Susan and Paul romping around the woods to a very folksly seventies vocal (not bad in itself). The most interesting aspect of the third tale is the trio of Harvey, Holotik, and Ross, who appeared the same year in the Grindhouse favorite DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT. The film is not content to end there at the eighty minute mark; rather, it takes us through a ten minute recap of all three stories with a mix of narration from Serling and the other unidentified narrator who adds some irrelevant (to the stories) information on witchcraft and the power of suggestion, and once again (for the fifth time, I believe) recycles the close-up of Mrs. Davis reciting her curse to the camera (which perhaps makes sense of the DVD label's decision to have her head sticking out of the outhouse on the "Septic Cinema" main menu screen). The film was cheaply lensed in Arkansas (producer Joe Glass is now the Arkansas film commissioner) by prolific TV cinematographer James Roberson (who photographed THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN in Techniscope with much more panache, and also directed SUPERSTITION with much more gore and gusto) and directed by Harry Thomason (better known for his TV work on such shows as DESIGNING WOMEN and THE FALL GUY).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 1 July 1973 (Canada)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Saturn Productions - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Saturn Productions

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:31:51
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.26 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Saturn Productions

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• A feature: WHERE TIME BEGAN (see above)
• Trailers for WHACKY TAXI, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, CHEERING SECTION, FABULOUS JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF
• THE EARTH

DVD Release Date: 8 March 2011
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

This anamorphic, interlaced transfer of ENCOUNTER WITH THE UNKNOWN is derived from a very worn source, although I doubt a negative-sourced transfer would make-up for the chalky night scenes and day-for-night scenes, and the heavily filtered flashbacks. Audio is in good condition with no noticeable splicing (suggesting that the narrator really did skip over some sentences in the opening scrolling text). The 1.78:1 framing rarely impedes the frame, although the tops of heads do occasionally graze the upper matte in long shots (although this may just be carelessness in the framing). The film actually ends at roughly the ninety-minute mark, but after a stretch of black Mrs. Davis pops up again to utter her curse to the camera backwards!

  - Eric Cotenas

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Saturn Productions

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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