Slave Girls aka Prehistoric Women is a 1967 British prehistoric fantasy film written and directed by Michael Carreras. The film stars Martine Beswick as the main antagonist and stage actor Michael Latimer. Steven Berkoff has a minor role at the end.
David Marchant, a British explorer, along with Colonel Hammond and a guide are pursuing a leopard on an African safari. The Colonel takes aim but misses and only wounds the animal. With nightfall warned by the guide, David decides to follow the party back to camp whilst he puts the beast out of its misery.
He passes various trees with a picture of a white rhino but ignores them. Finally, he shoots the leopard, just as the weakened animal attacks him. No sooner is the creature dead, David is ambushed and captured by a primitive tribe. They accuse him of disturbing the spirit of the white rhinoceros and take him to their leader’s temple. Just as he is about to be killed for his trespassing and disturbing the spirits, David touches a white rhino statue and there is a flash of lightning that opens a giant crack in the cave wall.
Marchant makes his escape and finds himself in a lush paradise jungle within a large valley. Hearing a noise, a terrified fair-haired young woman (Edina Ronay) tumbles out of the bush growth. David tries to help her but the woman bites him and runs off where she entered.
Following her, David tackles her to the ground. But they are both attacked by dark-haired women. David is escorted with them to their village whilst the fair woman is bound and taken with them. Entering the settlement, David finds the fair-haired woman serving the dark-haired woman, who they themselves are ruled over by the beautiful Queen Kari (Beswick), who immediately takes interest in David and chooses him as her mate, but he is appalled by her cruelty and spurns her advances…
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“…[Beswick] was cast as Queen Kari in the film Prehistoric Women, a sort of follow-up to the successful One Million Years BC. As the seductive and deadly leader of a tribe of lost amazons, Beswick had one of the great roles of a lifetime. Unfortunately, the production was plagued by indifferent direction, a low budget, and the fact that it was following up a gargantuan worldwide box office hit …” Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Films and Television, 1962-1973
“Idiotic Hammer Film in which the Great White Hunter stumbles into a lost Amazon civilization where blondes have been enslaved by brunettes. Honest! Nevertheless, it has developed a cult following due to Beswick’s commanding, sensual performance as the tribe’s leader.” Leonard Maltin’s 2010 Movie Guide
“As in all of Hammer’s exotica films, there is a slim to fairly silly plot. However, Martine Beswick takes the opportunity to camp the role up to the hilt and gives it her all, be it draped seductively across her bed, commanding cruelties and heatedly debating the idea of equality.” Moria
“Hammer was often old-fashioned, but what makes its better films so well-loved is that they would find ways to bring them up to date: make them bloody, sexy, exciting, classy, and intelligent. (Slave Girls was released on a double bill with The Devil Rides Out, which is all of those things.) Carreras’ film throws everything into the mix except for what it really needs to spark everything to life, and as a result, it tumbles over into unintentional hilarity.” Midnight Only
“The cheerful silliness of Slave Girls is rather endearing in a way that an over-budgeted, over-long and over-produced behemoth like Avatar could never be. It might have a reputation as one of the worst Hammer films ever made but it is never less than entertaining.” Bruce G Hallenbeck, Hammer Fantasy & Sci-Fi: British Cult Cinema (Hemlock Books)
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Cast and characters:
Martine Beswick as Queen Kari
Michael Latimer as David Marchent
Carol White as Gido
Steven Berkoff as John
Edina Ronay as Saria/Sarah
Stephanie Randall as Amyak
Alexandra Stevenson as Luri
Yvonne Horner as First Amazon
Sydney Bromley as Ullo
Frank Hayden as Arja
Robert Raglan as Colonel Hammond
Mary Hignett as Mrs Hammond
Louis Mahoney as Head Boy
Bari Jonson as High Priest
Danny Daniels as Jakara
In the UK, the film was released on a double bill with The Devil Rides Out.