The Lost Continent (1968)

One of my favorite rainy weekend movies, The Lost Continent also is one of the best ripe Hammer films of the Sixties.

A freighter is blown off course and finds itself in a fog-shrouded part of the ocean where the seaweed enjoys flesh and mutated creatures with claws scamper about. It’s a mild horror version of the Sargasso Sea and Bermuda Triangle. Eventually the surviving crew and passengers encounter humans who scitter around the seaweed with paddle-like shoes and balloons. The ship these people are from is a Spanish galleon several hundred years old, the crew of which survived and bred into the generations, evolving an Inquisition-like culture on board.

It’s really pretty good, thanks to the interesting ideas of seaweed that bites back and the evolved life on the Spanish ship, plus the skill of the two lead actors. And it has a great look. Eric Porter and Hildegard Knef were both heavyweights in the acting department. I’m not sure why they agreed to this film, but I assume the money was good. Porter is one of my favorite actors. He wasn’t handsome enough to make a career as a movie leading man, but if anyone doubts his abilities to command watch him as Soames in the original BBC Forsyte Saga. Knef had a so-so career as a lead actress in a handful of American and British films, but returned to Germany for better stuff. She was sexy and self-confident.