USA / 1970
Director: Ted Post
Writers: Paul Dehn, Mort Abrahams (based on characters created by Pierre Boulle)
Cast: James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, Paul Richards, Victor Buono, James Gregory
Following Planet of the Apes’ commercial success (now that’s we call some spectacular monkey business), a sequel was bound to follow. Sure enough, just over a year later, a follow-up went into production. Although Charlton Heston is seen briefly, the protagonist this time is another astronaut, Brent (James Franciscus). Brent has travelled thousands of miles in search of Taylor and soon meets Nova (Linda Harrison), who’s returned alone from the Forbidden Zone. (Taylor has wandered off to explore the barren region.)
Experiencing the same sensations as Taylor before him, Brent is taken to a city in this surreal planet of the apes, where Nova plans to introduce him to Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall). The two humans are captured, however, and soon discover that the apes plan to march on the Forbidden Zone with the aim of wiping out any human life-forms that may exist there.
With Zira’s help, Brent and Nova escape and race ahead to the Forbidden Zone. Once there, they stumble upon a strange subterranean world – which turns out to be the remains of New York. Brent discovers a mutant race of humans who communicate telepathically, worship a live nuclear bomb and wear facial masks to cover their deformity. It transpires that the mutants have already captured Taylor, and lock Brent in a cell with him. From this seemingly impossible situation, the two astronauts must try and defeat both the mutants and the apes.
Fans of continuity errors should look out for Taylor’s dress code: at the beginning of the film he’s in a loincloth, yet following his capture by the mutant humans, he’s miraculously back in his original spacesuit. Neat trick.