B Movie Challenge: The Incredible Petrified World

Every so often there comes a time when we film lovers (or haters depending on the movie) must do our best Jacques Cousteau impression and dig up something so rotten, it stinks like leftover dinosaur farts! Oh sure, for every classic you unearth, it has attached to it several others that suck so much they might as well be on the end of an octopus’ arm! We are now confronted with another pile of rocks, The Incredible Petrified World, from the most wanted archeologist of Cinema Stock, producer/writer/director/con-man Jerry Warren, because give this guy forty-five minutes of stock footage, a day’s work from master of macabre John Carradine, and about five dollars and fifty cents worth of set pieces, Warren will have you glued to your seat in the theatre (or desperately tripping on Milkduds tryin to run out of the theatre). 

Often on digging sites, people will mistake rocks or fossils for coprolites. In case you are wondering what these are, they are the petrified turds of ancient animals, long since dead, but still leaving behind a legacy (like most of us will) of a giant pile of CENSORED! The feeling they must have when they crack open the hardened crap is the way I feel with Warren whenever I see his name across the (more often little) big screen. It’s not that they are terrible films per se (although some are real relics), it’s just whenever I see a Jerry Warren production I feel it is a cheat because Warren only directed a small percentage of it. The rest is a compilation of stock footage, mountain climbing (or cavern diving in this one) of animals filmed in fish tanks, and borrowed (or stolen) films Warren bought from overseas. Too bad these movies didn’t sink into Davy Jones’ lockers crossing the seas before Warren’s scissors got to them! The actors do their best, the sets are just plane dodgy at best, and poor John Carradine, who though earned his money for his day’s work, deserves better than these kinds of films, although, like Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi, they did make great a legendary B grade (more like Z grade) shlocky shocky team!

Opening the film with stock footage of a shark fighting (and killing) a real octopus (take that Sharktopus!), Professor Wymann shows the film to entice people to invest in his high (or low) sea expedition (probably in a similar manner Warren showed stock footage to get potential investors). It works and he sends two girls and two boys (I’d call them adults, but they wine way too much throughout) down to the bottom of the ocean floor for discoveries. Unfortunately, their vessels breaks loose from the ship helmed by Captain Carradine and they must exit immediately. With their scuba gear, they find an abandoned cave where they await rescue from above. Yet is the cave truly abandoned, and will they be rescued before the cave collapses, trapping them forever? Find the answers by deeply diving into the murky waters of stock footage spelunking!

Excavating your way at a rocky sixty-seven minutes, and dynamited together by Warren (who gave us classics like House of Black Death and Frankenstein Island), if you pay attention closely you can hear some of the same stock music library cues made famous in Night of the Living Dead. Like most Warren classics, you can find this pretty much everywhere due to copyright issues, but if you do happen to snag the Something Weird VHS it can go sometimes for hundreds on the market (that’s some major bones to pay). So the next time you pay lots of bivalves for a stone-cold classic like The Incredible Petrified World from the ashes of an ancient Ma and Pa video store, take a big whiff because that moldy VHS might smell worse than a mummified underwater old man poopie!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

View all posts by Ian Klink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.