Beyond Atlantis (1973)

Beyond Atlantis - Studd

A fisherman (the always amusing Vic Diaz) heads to the big city to sell some rare pearls to the local pimp/dealer/criminal of all trades East Eddie(trash cinema king Sid Haig). Smelling more money where that came from, Eddie rounds up a crew for an expedition to the source of the gems. Fence Logan (John Ashley), scuba diver Vic (Patrick Wayne) and a lovely lady scientist Katherine (Lenore Stevens, who is quite beautiful) head off in search of this island for fame, career advancement(Katherine) and a small fortune in pearls (everyone else).

The island is populated by some laughably bug eyed villagers(their “eyes” are masks/headdresses that look like they belong in a primary school Halloween parade) ruled over by the slinky blonde Syrene (Leigh Christian)who spends the entire film amply filling a brief bikini. They are accommodating of the outsiders initially, because they need Syrene to mate with one of them to insure the survival of the fish/half mer people/whatever.

Folks get greedy, natives get suspicious and betrayal, mayhem and general silliness ensues.

The underwater photography is of better quality than you’d expect, both female leads are attractive in skimpy sunwear, John Ashley is kept to a minimum of stinking up the joint, and Sid Haig gives us his usual delightful scene stealing.

In addition, for a PG film, “Beyond Atlantis” manages to hit a lot of exploitation touch points ( abundant skin showing, a Syrene vs. Katherine catfight, some piranha action, explosions, a giggle inducing underwater “mating” scene and Sig Haig’s sleazy heavy delivering goofy machismo camp with style).

Lightweight and by no means a classic with a rather unsatisfying ending, “Beyond Atlantis” is still a fun little trifle of the drive in era, and worth watch if you have a few hours to spare