Teenage Caveman (2002 – Review)

Teenage Caveman

Andrew Keegan as David
Tara Subkoff as Sarah
Richard Hillman as Neil
Tiffany Limos as Judith
Stephen Jasso as Vincent
Directed by Larry Clark

Larry Clark’s perv-tastic remake of the MST3K fodder original Teenage Caveman does what would be once thought impossible: Makes the original look better. Sure, it’s almost a given that remakes are inferior, but in this case the original was made in what seems like three hours, filming people wandering around a park. This one had a budget that would get you more than a used car, yet it still falls apart. Larry Clark is not known for making science fiction, or horror, or even anything that isn’t depressing films based on teenage kids swearing, doing drugs, and having sex. Why he became the natural choice for Teenage Caveman must be simply no one else was available. Instantly, the movie becomes a Larry Clark-type movie. The teenagers leave and instead of slowly getting killed off by dinosaurs or similar monster, they meet some modern kids in an abandoned city, and start up some sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

The original movie was one of Roger Corman’s earlier efforts, and rode the coattails of the 1950’s nuclear scare while simultaneously helping to jumpstart the message sci-fi movies of the sixties. The “shock” ending, where we find out the cavemen are living in the future after the apocalypse, was still a new invention back in those days. Clark at least realized this, and dumped the big reveal entirely. I do believe he did it just because he needed to get some modern sets and props in so the children could quickly start to get drug and shag everything that moved. So it could have been completely removed from the appearance of smoothing out the film that he intended to give. In addition, the movie claims that the future is 300 years from the end of the world, yet many things aren’t as devastated as one would expect from a whole three hundred years. It would have been better to just set it closer to one hundred years, that way the elders would have been the first generation born afterwards, and their knowledge of the horrors would have led to greater resistance to the thought of leaving the tribe and entering the outside world.

Now the Larry Clark version begins with a hunt conducted by angsty teenage cavemen and women, lead by an old guy named Nathanial, played by Clark himself. Clark soon ticks off super-angster Vincent, who “accidentally” spears him with a “No Skateboarding” sign he was using as a spear. Vincent is the type of kid who would be listening to Linkin Park and crawling in his skin while skateboarding in the real world. Sort like he does in the movie Ken Park, which is another Clark film with actor Stephen Jasso. Having seen Ken Park first, it was odd seeing this guy play the exact same character, just in the post-apocalyptic future and without onscreen erections. Actually, I was thankful for the lack of that last bit. Our main character was on the hunt as well, a fellow named David who is the son of the religious leader of the tribe. Religious Daddy is like Pat Robertson on steroids, raging against sin and teenage lust. He also likes to bone the teenage females in the tribe, including David’s friend Elizabeth. Daddy has set his eyes on David’s girlfriend Sarah, who is the traditional “good girl” type and doesn’t do the teenage lusting that every other hormone-addled youth seems to have.

David is less than pleased with his father’s choice, and they have a fight, which results in David stabbing his father in the eye with a cross, killing him. The tribe punishes David by tying him to a post to die of exposure. The Teenage Cavemen (and women) don’t stand for that, and they untie him and all run off together. Eventually, the group stumbles across the devastated ruins of Seattle, which they see briefly before a storm happens suddenly they’re caught, and all goes dark. Now, to give Clark some credit, he is consistent in setting up the outside world with a saturated look on the camera, with certain hues such as blue and yellow overdone, giving it an unnatural overwashed feel that does make the outside world looked changed some. It is a shiny spot in the otherwise dull film.

After the storm, our group of teenagers is seen lying in what could be some important executive’s office somewhere in a dotcom megaplex. They are all unconscious, and all in their underwear. Some of the males are bulging, and Larry Clark lets us get close up shots of said bulges, which is rather weird. Not that weird if you’ve seen Ken Park or Kids, though. It’s par for the course. They wake up to food, and quickly afterwards rock and roll! New guy walks in, dressed like he was attacked by a Salvation Army store. His name is Neil and he’s a rocker punk. His girl is named Judith, who is played by Tiffany Limos. She’s also in Ken Park, and is dating Larry Clark.

Neil is one of those characters you want to kill. Slowly and painfully. It’s odd, because the actor I remember from Bring it on and he wasn’t anywhere near this annoying, despite being the jerk boyfriend. I blame the director, for reasons I’ll explain at the very end of the review, as it’s based on the very end of the film.

Back to the movie. Neil explains that their location is solar powered, thus supplying power for 300 years. Again, that’s implausible that nothing has gone wrong and anything still works after 300 years, and say if they were just fifty years off, it could still be plausible. Instead, we just smile and nod, especially at Bill Clinton’s cameo. Hey, this came out after the next guy was president, something is odd. Perhaps three terms of Bill Clinton was what it took for the world to end. Or, Larry Clark likes Clinton because he’s a big perv, and Clark is a big perv. Birds of a feather. Ignoring Bill, we go on to something Bill Clinton would approve of, a co-ed group bath. The kids are hesitant at first, but one by one hop in to join Judith. Even reluctant Sarah jumps in. Everyone is naked, giving away the first plot point, teenagers naked. Judith shows off that she’s shaved (They still have razors after 300 years? I bet she had a few winters where she looked like she was wearing legwarmers.) They move on from the naked bath (why did I write “naked bath”? It is only noteworthy if they weren’t naked in the bath!) to getting new clothes, getting drunk, and getting it on. Except for Sarah and David. The final plot points are the teenagers sexing and drugging, thus making this an official Larry Clark film. I am glad he got to remake this instead of The Crawling Hand or Nabonga. They’re also doing cocaine, I was going to call foul here, but later Neil explains he makes it himself, so it’s probably crystal meth. Still, it’s something that also shouldn’t exist 300 years later.

That night, girl Elizabeth is sick, she staggers into the bedroom of Neil and Judith, but instead of finding aid, she finds that they are responsible. She tries to stab Neil, but he just laughs as a pen sticks out of his neck. She gets on the bed, writhing in pain, while Judith sets to watch her, while masturbating. She won’t let Neil touch her, either. The self-pleasuring comes to an abrupt ending when Elizabeth explodes. Yes, she pops like a gremlin in a microwave, with organs flying everywhere. Such a downer. Next morning, everyone is like “Where’s Elizabeth?” and Neil and Judith quickly say she’s sick. They let Sarah, and only Sarah, see her in a tent. Elizabeth is there, except it’s not really her, but Judith with blue eyes. Sarah notices at the end, but doesn’t know what is going on. This placates things for a while, but Neil has hit permanent PMS mode, and goes out to hunt. He’s joined by Teenage Caveman Joshua, who won’t live to make it back. Joshua enjoys talking about sexing Judith, which angers Neil to the point he punches right through him. Neil carries him back, blaming “predators.” The others ask what type of predators could have done that, and he just yells “Shut up!” There should be a simple explanation, just pop in a DVD of the movie Predator and use that as an excuse. But Neil cannot think, for he is full of pent up rage, sexual frustration, and high on the cocaine/meth thing he makes. Judith and Neil have a long fight, where the majority of it is ruined by Tiffany Limos’s sub par acting. The best line is from Neil, as he claims she’s from some “Bad B-Movie.” It’s nice the movie became self-aware at this point, good thing it didn’t have control over launching our nukes.

Neil is alone, slicing his wrist watching it heal instantly. It’s down, not across! Idiot. David comes in an joins him, but Neil smacks him up when he won’t do some of his cocaine/meth thing. David and Sarah talk, and come up with a plan to sneak into Judith’s room. There, David finds the video of Elizabeth exploding. The four surviving Teenage Cavepeople plan to escape. David gets some supplies while the two remaining girls stay alone, until the extra one (named Heather) explodes herself. Sarah runs to David and says Heather is dead, then they start making out and begin to do the deed. Sarah must be like Padme from Star Wars: Episode II where death gets her hot. Whoops! Sarah is really Judith! Sarah is captured by Vincent, who has turned into one of the superbeings. They pass the virus to each other via sex, and now David is infected. Hey, Larry Clark finally found a way to work sex into a plot without making it the whole plot. They give David an injection to help with the transformation. He finally turns, and is all “My eyes are open!” The new powers give him the strength to crush a baseball! It turns out it’s Mark McGwire’s ball! So they raided Todd McFarlane’s house as well, huh? Infected people cannot reproduce, so they plan to grab the rest of the survivors from the tribe, and lord over them. Neil pulls out a crate of guns, and we have to endure Vincent repeated asking “When can I shoot?” and “When can I have a gun?” Neil responds with his normal “Raargh!” David tells Sarah that he must use his powers over people, which causes Sarah to tell him that he’s become his father. When it’s time for her to get sexed, David distracts them so she can run off. Tara Subkoff, the actress playing Sarah, cannot run, and her feet flop out weirdly as she shuffles along.

Neil and Vincent chase her down, but Neil then punches Vincent’s head off. He lost his head over Judith! Literally. Neil brings in the head of Vincent expecting Judith to be happy, and she just starts crying and hits him. He punches through her chest, ripping out her still beating heart. Not over the top in the slightest. Neil starts whining “I’m so sorry, baby!” but Judith is still dead. Neil starts to mutate some, his head popping out with bumps. Neil hangs David up to die, then chases after Sarah. The supermonster Neil can’t seem to catch some funny-running girl, and he falls into the hot tub they had the group bath in earlier. Being submerged seems to mutate him into some even greater freak. David manages to get down and rejoin the fight, while Sarah flip-flops her way to the gun crate, grabbing a shotgun and a gas bomb. David uses the gun to blow a hole in Neil, while Sarah dumps the gasbomb in the hole, as the wound heals up around it. The gas builds up inside of Neil, who can’t get some Gas-X in time, and he explodes into a pile of goo. Hooray! David tells Sarah that he can’t be with her, because he’s a superhuman. That, and the massive amount of bloody dead bodies sets Sarah off (I guess she is turned on by murder, no wonder David didn’t think it was weird before) and they do the beast with two backs. The dis-bodied head of Vincent stares on…

The final scene, David shows up back at the cave, in the most idiotic, ridiculous, absurd outfit ever devised by mankind. He demands the kids, and him and all the children wander back to Seattle. What happened to Sarah? Did she blow up? Become a super human? Fall into a pit? We never know.

Bleah. At least this movie is supposed to be a B-movie. That doesn’t really mean anything, and definitely doesn’t help make the film any better. The movie knows it is exploitative, and at least works the sex into the plot. That doesn’t change that the film is junk, Larry Clark needs to stick to filming teenagers having sex and doing drugs, but leave out the caves. Skateboards trump caves, in Clark films. The superhumans don’t seem that super, they can heal quick and are strong, but they look like monsters, and they have terrible fashion sense. The fashion alone should be enough to ensure their demise. It’s bad enough that if they group from Queer Eye was brought in, they’d all faint simultaneously. The fashion is a direct representation of the film as a whole, damn terrible.

And now an Interview with Neil, the Superhuman survivor!

Greetings, and welcome to TarsTarkas.NET!
ROCK! shook all night and held her hand
Chocolate people well I’ll be damned
Land of plenty, land of fun
To find out I’m Nimrod’s son
Uh-huh… So, Neil, what’s it like to be a superhuman?
I’m better than all you! The power is like…ripping off some guy’s head!
Where did you get your colorful outfits?
I haven’t had sex with Judith in twenty years! A bottle of Jack and a different type of jack are all I do at night! I hate you!
Is Larry Clark as sleezy in real life as he seems from his movies?
SSNNOOOOORT! This is some kicking stuff! I make it myself! Have some…OR ELSE!!
I’m going to pass, and call this interview to a close…
RAARGH!! I’LL DESTROY YOU! MAURUGH!!! RAR!!……I’m sorry, baby!
Sorry, schmorry, I’m getting out of here before I’m attacked by your wardrobe. Until next time!

Rated 2/10 (No Skateboarding!, The Prez)

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