In the far, far distant future of 1987, Captain Jackson, son of Professor (now Director) Jackson, is on a mission to Mars. He and lieutenant Elliot arrive on Mars and discover a lush jungle…er…midwestern wooded area and Lieutenant Elliot ends up a prisoner of warrior cavewomen.
Elliot is desperate to get back to his spaceship as he finds himself catapulted between rival cave woman clans. While both are really disdainful of men, you can tell the good Cave Women from the Bad Cave Women because the Bad Ones wear leather and have dark hair, while the Good Ones wear cloth outfits and are blonde.
The film uses very simple coding (not uncommon for the era that inspired the film). Part of the amusement in the films of Mihm is the archaic ideas of the sexes. These are not presented as the “Good old days when men were men and women were women”. I have noted that Christopher does not mock the horror and sci-fi of the 50’s and 60’s. But that is not entirely true. He pokes a lot of fun at the silly mentalities (Girl scientists?! Girls with opinions?!) of the time. In this film, the portrayals of independent woman as hating men is the target for mockery. The Cave Women are so over the top in their talk about how inferior men are, the oppressive matriarchy comes off as the fevered nightmare of Rush Limbaugh.
Visually, you start seeing some growth. The monster looks a little better. There is some nicely done green screen that manages to still give that old movie set look. And the portrayal of Mars is a lot like those early films that imagined other planets looking vaguely earth-like…but you know…rockier. Also, the space suits are in that great line between looking cobbled together and being a little futuristic.
There were a few points where the film drags, but at the same time, this is not that out of character for a lot of sci-fi and horror of that era. Setting it in the future of 1987 (so “far” from the 50’s, but well in our “past”) creates it’s own humor with the visuals of how far and advanced we would be. Of the first three films, this one, in some ways, feels the closest to the sci-fi films of the 50’s.