Battle Beneath The Earth

By Brandon Adamson

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

They’ll Huff and They’ll Puff and They’ll Blow Your House Down

By Brandon Adamson

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“What was the name of that movie we watched where the teenagers go around and do bad things and stuff that baby carriage in the trash can?” an ex girlfriend from years ago called me up to ask. She was talking about “Just For the Hell of It,” the 1968 Herschell Gordon Lewis I made her reluctantly sit through one time. For some reason it stuck out to her, and she wanted to show it to some dude she was hanging out with.

The movie itself is an interesting piece of art, basically it features scene after scene of teenagers terrorizing people just for kicks. There is a plot of course, but I’m not here to talk about the film, really. I just wanted to mention that the intro/theme song is yet another underrated classic among forgotten movies.

It’s “Destruction,” performed by Tary Rebenar, a late 60’s early 70’s folksinger. He apparently later died of AIDS in 1989, which he was said to have contracted from a blood transfusion he received for a prior surgery for skin cancer. In the early 70’s he released an LP called “Just a Dream Ago,” which is hard to find.

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From that photo, he resembles the actor credited as “Steve White,” who appears in several of Lewis’ movies, usually in a musical capacity. They may have been the same person. It is very difficult to keep a lot of these things straight the way so many of these bands and actors in this era went under multiple aliases. Aside from legends like Ray Sager, most of these types seem to have disappeared without leaving much of a trace of information available.


Brandon Adamson is the author of “Beatnik Fascism