The Incredible Petrified World

September 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm (2 Heads, Incredible Petrified World) (, , , , , )

The Incredible Petrified World – 1957 – United States

The Incredible Petrified World was produced and directed by Jerry Warren, responsible for 10 obscure quickies in the 50s and 60s. Petrified World was released with Warren’s Teenage Zombies as a double feature. Sadly, Petrified World is tough going even beside such bubble-headed trash.

“This is the sea, as old as the world itself.” So starts the pseudo-educational narration in Petrified World’s stock footage opening. Watching a shark shred an octopus is interesting, but I think I’ve seen the clip before. After 5 minutes of that, 2 square-jawed scientists go deep sea diving in a newfangled diving bell. With them are a quiet lady scientist and a bitchy lady reporter. Something screws up and the party is trapped inside some volcanic caverns. They wander, fight, and fall in love before encountering a homicidal hermit. His presence is never explained before he is anti-climactically smashed by a rockslide. Eventually, another diving bell is built and rescues everyone, leaving you to wonder what’s the point?

Mixing nondescript sets with crusty stock footage, Petrified World is another unbelievably cheap seafaring adventure—like Devil Monster (1946) and Omoo-Omoo the Shark God (1949), but 10 years later. Scenes shot in Tucson’s Colossal Cave look cool but don’t amount to anything but walking around and jabbering.

Petrified World proudly features John Carradine but he isn’t given much to do. Instead, the main characters are a pair of chipper fellows who seem ambivalent to their own life and death struggle. While all old flicks are somewhat sexist, Petrified World is especially so. Of the two women, one is demure and subservient to her boyfriend and the other is a sniveling witch with lines like “There’s nothing friendly between two females,” and “We don’t need any help, not as long as we have two men around us.”

Petrified World is basically awful. Aspiring filmmakers might find pointers on how to make a flick with no money and effort—but Devil Monster’s virtuosic use of stock footage is a more inspiring example. All but the very curious should flee from this crap.

Rating: 2/10 Shrunken Heads. Not incredible.

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