A tribe of cave men eke out a life in a rocky terrain with little life. Nearby, across the river, is a green and lush land filled with animals and plant life. Because of an ancient law the members of the tribe refuse to cross the river. According to the law a god who lives there will bring death on anyone who does.
Of course being a rebellious teen, one young man (Robert Vaughn) defies the law and crosses over into the strange land. Of course he’s being egged on by another tribesman, known as the Black-Bearded One (Frank Dekova) who has the hots for the same Blond Maiden (Darah Marshall) as the rebellious teen.
He manages to talk three other men into going with him. One of them gets sucked into quicksand. The other two run back to the tribe but the rebellious teen continues on. The young man’s father is the Symbol Maker (Leslie Bradley) of the tribe. He had been hurt during a hunt and did not know his son had defied the law and gone across the river. The Symbol Maker vows to find his son and return him to the tribe once he is well. Three days later he crosses the river, finds his son and returns.
As punishment the Symbol Maker’s Son is shunned until he is considered an adult. Once he is back in the tribe he takes the Blond Maiden as his wife but he is still looking across the river to the forbidden land.
Once again he crosses the river. His father goes after him again. The Black Bearded Man rouses the men of the clan against the son of the Symbol Maker. According to the law the young man must be killed. He goads some of the men in the tribe to go with him, across the river, after the Symbol Maker’s son.
“Teenage Caveman” AKA “Out of the Darkness” in Britain, was released in 1958 and was produced and directed by Roger Corman. It is an independent film released by American International Pictures. Originally the film was to be called “Prehistoric World” but was changed by AIP before distribution. Apparently Corman was not happy with the name change since in later interviews he is quoted as saying “I never directed a film called Teenage Caveman.” Robert Vaughn considered it to be the worst movie ever made. Corman thought it was pretty good.
The "monster suit" that is worn by the outsider was also used in “Night of the Blood Beast” (1958). Stock footage is widely used from just about every caveman, jungle and dinosaur movie ever made.
No one in the movie has a name but they do seem to have hair dressers, razors and speak perfect colloquial English. And for a forbidden land there seem to be a lot of people that go into it. The movie is basically a silly nonsense fifties caveman movie. There is an unusual twist at the end that I’m sure was astounding to 50’s movie goers but the camp of the preceding hour and one minute kind of dulls it. Meant to be thought provoking and symbolic the movie is still a Roger Corman film and can’t quite pull it off. It was a really good try though. It would have made a decent Twilight Zone episode and probably was. It wasn’t really great or anything but I did like the last five minutes.
Beach Dickerson plays four roles in the film, and dies three times. He is the light haired boy that drowns in quicksand, the stranger riding in from the burning plains, the bear that attacks the hunting party, and in the only part he doesn’t die, he plays a drummer during the funeral for his own character.