Battle Beneath The Earth

By Brandon Adamson


This is a highly creative movie, that is underrated in my opinion. You know that old saying “are you trying to dig a hole to China?” Well, the central plot of the film is that the Chinese have advanced technology and are secretly tunneling to the US to detonate nuclear bombs under America’s cities in order to take over the country. The US military figures out the plot after they are alerted by one of their own ex soldiers who is thought to be crazy. Anyway, there ends up being a huge battle in these tunnels to determine the fate of the country.


The reason this movie is considered to be “bad” by most is that many of the Chinese are played by white British actors who are made up to look Asian. The PC busybodies of today would probably ban this film if they actually had any curiosity that would lead them to be aware of the existence of obscure classics like this. Anyway, the actors being made to look Asian is a little bizarre and distracting, but it makes sense given that this film was made in 1967. At that time, China was mostly cut off from the western world and Western countries did not have good relations with China, especially after the Korean War. Britain in particular(where the film was made) had bad relations with China because of the dispute over Hong Kong. In fact, China had secret plans to invade Hong Kong the very year that this film was made but opted not to. So it follows then, that the film makers would not have had access to a pool of popular or known Chinese performers to fill these leading roles.


Since China was so isolated, it left a lot of room for the story to speculate on China having some kind of advanced technological capabilities, since the nation was such a mystery. Who knew what sort of secret weapons the Chinese might have or what they could be up to?


If you can get past the casting choices and makeup, Battle Beneath the Earth is actually an imaginative and fun little movie. I’ve probably seen it over 30 times. It never really gets boring, and it offers a unique glimpse of how the Chinese were perceived by the West at a tumultuous period in history, just before they began to open themselves up to the world.

Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism

On a Summer Weekend in 1963 in 1990 – A Tribute to Shag

By Brandon Adamson

Shag 1989

The 1989 movie “Shag” was one of those likely forgettable films that always seemed to be on HBO when I was a kid in middle school sitting around waiting for my mom to drive me to basketball practice. Despite being a bit of a throwaway “chick flick”(a phrase I find to be kind of cringeworthy after seeing it used on so many girls’ dating profiles,) I always had a weird appreciation for it. It’s kind of an obscure gem illustrating the beauty and innocence of 1960s Southern teen culture. In many ways my nostalgia for nostalgic films of this era is a longing to recapture my own innocence from this time period(late 80’s-early 90s.)

I haven’t seen Shag in a long time, perhaps over 20 years. A couple of years ago I saw it and Half Priced Books in the used dvd section for 5 dollars but ended up not buying it. Apparently I really missed an opportunity. The “Shag” dvd seems to be quite rare now. Copies of it range from 40 to 80 dollars, quite a lot to cough up for a movie that I recall as being fairly mediocre. Still, the chance to see Phoebe Cates and Bridget Fonda in their prime within the context of an early 1960’s, southern belle/Jackie Onassis aesthetic might be worth the trip down memory lane.

Shag had a decent soundtrack as well, which was available on vinyl.

Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism

Because It’s Boss

By Brandon Adamson

Mondo Freudo(1966) is another great “fake” documentary from the Mondo series of the mid to late 60’s. Mondo Mod is of course my favorite, followed by Mondo Bizarro. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy of Mondo Teeno for years. Unfortunately I’ve only found one guy on the entire internet that claims to be selling a copy…and he doesn’t respond to emails and hasn’t updated his site for years.

Anyway, though Mondo Freudo and the others aren’t authentic documentaries, they do a fair job of portraying the 1960s Southern California youth culture in their own way, ┬ájust through the footage and the entertaining narration which accompanies it.

Here’s a great sequence of a portion of the Sunset Strip as it was in 1966. Take me there.