Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Stone Age Genocide

Outside of Forteana, one of my main interests is bad films and occasionally the two crossover. While watching the 80s cave man/Conan knock off Ironmaster, one particular scene caught my attention. The film revolves around a tribe of cavemen who discover iron and use this to wage war & conquer their less advanced neighbours. In one scene, they chase down some apemen into a cave, pile up firewood and suffocate them with the smoke.
Interestingly, this parallels tales told about what have been interpreted by some as relict hominid populations. Possibly the best known is the Ebu Gogo, a diminitive race said to have dwelt on the island of Flores in Indonesia (and linked by some to Homo floresiensis). They would occasionally raid villages for food, and eventually, so the legend goes, islanders trapped them in a cave and set fire to palm fibres piled inside, exterminating the remaining population.
Similar legends are attached to the Nittevo of Sri Lanka.
So how did this end up in an early 80s Italian exploitation film? Is this a wider spread archetypal tale than we realised? Was the writer familiar with these legends? Co-incidence?
If you're interested in tracking down a copy, it's not had a dvd release, so you may need to track down a vhs copy (or it's easily available on file sharing websites). I would warn you that it shares many of it's contemporaries cavalier attitude to animal cruelty, which is a shame as otherwise, the film's a hoot, Gerorge Eastman is great as the despotic tribal chief. There's a trailer on youtube, with a clip from the scene in question around one minute in.
I may need to do a post on Sasquaplotation films, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

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