Archive for Sid Haig

The Mystery of Atlantis

Posted in FILM, MUSIC, Television with tags , , , , , , , on June 7, 2021 by dcairns

Another mystery solved!

I had this memory of seeing a movie at the Odeon, Clerk Street, when I was a kid. It was a terrible movie. One of many seen at that venue. At a certain point, though, the audience started laughing hysterically during a fight scene.

If you’re British, watch the scene now. If not, read on.

I asked my brother why they were laughing.

“The music,” he said.

What about the music?

“It’s The News at Ten.”

I was small and probably hadn’t seen The News at Ten, which was ITV’s 10 pm news show, as the name implies. But the ridiculousness of a fight scene being scored with news show music stayed with me. The trouble was, I couldn’t remember anything else about the film. Recent Googling of “News at Ten fight scene” got me nothing. The only development in the nearly fifty years since seeing the film was that I figured out that the cheapskates at ITV must have used library music, and the same library music must have been bought up by the makers of the dimly-recalled fantasy thriller.

I searched dumb Jesus Franco movies and whatnot. I had a suspicion this might have been a Philippines-set movie.

Finally — as a result of quasi-enjoying BLOOD THIRST, I was researching the local genre and came across what was described as one of the very few family-friendly Philippine fantasy flicks, BEYOND ATLANTIS. This seemed promising — and the promise was fulfilled.

John Ashley clutches his pearls

Mind you, I’d remembered two guys fighting on a beach, and this movie has two girls fighting in a pond. But it’s definitely the movie. There are beach fights with guys also, but the music cue is played during the underwater catfight. If you didn’t grow up with The News at Ten I can only suggest you watch and mentally substitute whichever news programme soundtrack is most familiar.

Apparently the filmmakers — old unreliable Eddie Romero directing, from a story by Stephanie Rothman — originally planned to have all the Atlantean babes be topless, but then they hired Pat Wayne as leading man and that meant it all had to be PG. But the story is inescapably sleazy and adult — it has Sid Haig as a pimp — so there’s a weird mismatch. No wonder I was baffled by it aged six or however old I was. But had the filmmakers stuck to their original plan I’d never have seen it and been haunted by that curious cue.

Pretty crazy that the same tune would be thought appropriate for the evening news and a battle to the death between two sexy girls, but news shows always try to make everything sound serious and urgent, therefore making the audience stressed out and crazy, so it does actually make sense.