At the Earth's Core (film)

At the Earth's Core is a 1976 British-American fantasy-science fiction film produced by Britain's Amicus Productions.[4]

At the Earth's Core
Directed byKevin Connor
Produced byJohn Dark
Max Rosenberg
Milton Subotsky
Screenplay byMilton Subotsky
Based onAt the Earth's Core
1914 novel
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
StarringPeter Cushing
Doug McClure
Caroline Munro
Music byMike Vickers
CinematographyAlan Hume
Edited byJohn Ireland
Barry Peters
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
British Lion Films (UK)
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Release date
  • 1 September 1976 (1976-09-01)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States[1]
Budget$1.5 million[2] or $400,000-$500,000[3]

The film was directed by Kevin Connor and starred Doug McClure, Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro.[5] It was filmed in Technicolor, and based on the fantasy novel At the Earth's Core, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first book of his Pellucidar series, in token of which the film is also known as Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core. The original music score was composed by Mike Vickers.


Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing), a British Victorian scientist, and his US financier David Innes (Doug McClure) 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 (Caroline Munro) 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.



The film was made following the success of The Land That Time Forgot.[6]

Kevin Connor later recalled, "we tried to get the beasts bigger so as to interact better with the actors – more one on one. We had a somewhat bigger budget thanks to the success of ‘Land.’ The beasts were specially designed so that small stunt guys could work inside the suits in a crouched position and on all-fours. Needless to say it was very cramped and the stunt guys had to take frequent breathers. Some worked better than others – but we were experimenting and trying something different."[7]


The movie was popular, becoming the 18th most profitable British film of 1976.[6]

Amongst contemporary critics, however, The New York Times was not impressed: "All the money used to make "At the Earth's Core" seems to have been spent on building monsters with parrotlike beaks that open, close, and emit a steady squawling as if someone were vacuuming next door. Close up, the monsters look like sections of rough concrete wall and the decision to film them in closeup is only one example of the total lack of talent or effort with which the picture is made...the movie is a kind of no-talent competition in which the acting, the script, the direction and the camera-work vie for last place."[8] More recently, in more positive vein, BFI Screenonline said, "Extravagant, colourful and thoroughly preposterous, At the Earth's Core is utterly without pretension but has the exuberant charm of the best of its decade."[9]

The film was featured in the season finale of the revived Mystery Science Theater 3000, the show's eleventh season overall, released on April 14, 2017 through Netflix.

See also


  1. "At the Earth's Core". American Film Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. Brian Trenchard-Smith on At the Earth's Core at Trailers from Hell
  3. "Exclusive Interview With Legendary Director Kevin Connor". Horror Channel. 7 August 2012.
  4. Gary A. Smith, The American International Pictures Video Guide, McFarland 2009 p 16
  5. "At the Earth's Core (1976)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  6. Ed. Allan Bryce, Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood, Stray Cat Publishing, 2000 p 150
  7. Jones-Morris, Ross (7 August 2012). "The Studio That Time Forgot – An Interview With Amicus Director Kevin Connor".
  8. "'Earth's Core' Monstrous". The New York Times. 28 August 1976. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  9. Mahleb, Eric. "BFI Screenonline: At The Earth's Core (1976)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
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