15 May 1978

In “Warlords of Atlantis”, Michael Gothard plays Atmir, a minor dignitary and spokesperson for a race of alien Nazis from Mars, whose space-ship crashed on Earth, and who, from their network of monster-infested cities under the sea, are trying to manipulate Earth’s human population, so that it can one day supply the technology to get them home again.

Charles Aitken (Peter Gilmore), Greg Collinson (Doug McClure), and the treacherous crew of their expedition ship, are dragged to the bottom of the sea, where they are captured by Atmir and his fish-headed guards, who aim to enslave them, and – due to Charles’ high IQ – make him the brains behind their operation.

During an attack by what look like some kind of plant-eating dinosaurs, and the help of one of the slaves, Delphine, who has already developed the gill-like structures that will prevent her returning to the surface with them, they escape. Atmir sends his fish-men after them, and bombards their diving bell with unspecified explosives, or possibly thunderbolts, but they escape back to the surface.

“Warlords of Atlantis” was filmed on Malta, Gozo Island, and at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, and is generally regarded as one of those B-movies to be enjoyed because it is so preposterous in both concept and execution.

Reviews

Jacob Milnestein on 2012 Movies


Finding themselves beneath the waves, the crew of the vessel are mystified to encounter a hidden underwater realm, a pocket of oxygen and sunken land surrounded on all sides by the water and various encroaching monsters.

Greeted by Atmir (Michael Gothard), who is dressed almost exactly like one of the Thals from the Peter Cushing Doctor Who films … the survivors learn of the fate of the missing civilisation, and of the remaining crews of countless other lost ships.

Split up from the others, Aitken (Peter Gilmore) is taken before the monarchy of Atlantis and learns that he is to become one with the collective brain that powers their culture … From here, the film takes a momentary break to dwell on the science gone wild trope, as the former captain of the Mary Celeste … reveals the genetic reconfiguration needed to survive beneath the waves for a prolonged amount of time.

The Atlanteans are then revealed as aliens … intent on returning to their home world and predominantly indifferent to humanity save for their use as resources ...

… Warlords is perhaps one of the finest films Amicus left us with. Far from perfect yet still capable of holding its own against anything Hammer put out at the time, this film deserves to be a lot more popular than it actually is.

Full review


MacReady on Love Horror

After attacks by a giant octopus (Thrilling!) and what seems to be the Loch Ness Monster (Heartstopping!), Aitken, the American and the crew are dragged down to the underwater city of Atlantis (Unbelievable!) to meet their fate.

As it turns out, their fate arrives more than a little resembling Flight of the Concords Jemaine Clement’s impersonation of David Bowie. His name is Atmir, and he is a badass. Unsurprisingly Atlantis isn’t the friendliest under the earth and the whole thing turns into one big nightmare from here on in.

The group are split up and enslaved (Boo!), everyone is threatened with gill-related surgery (Hiss!), and the rulers of Atlantis turn out to be little better than Nazis from Mars (Genius!).

Full review


Blogomatic

… Another nice addition to the cast is Michael Gothard who is quite adept at playing menacing roles, although his character is not exactly menacing in Warlords of Atlantis he still has that ability to instil a sense of authority as the spokesperson for the Atlantean aliens.

Full review


Shaun Anderson on The Celluloid Highway

Apart from a few unimpressive and stodgy monsters which can barely move, their main threat is the preposterously attired Atmir played by a very embarrassed looking Michael Gothard.

Gothard’s descent into low class and low budget mediocrity in the wake of his startling performance in Herostratus remains one of the most perplexing misuses of a career in film history.

Full review

Speculation

Shaun Anderson's comment is a back-handed compliment if ever there was one …

Perplexing, it may be, but it was not always easy to get work in the 1970s and 1980s. Oliver Tobias, who starred with Michael in "Arthur of the Britons", has spoken of how he often had to work abroad after that series ended.

In any case, it seems unlikely that Michael Gothard’s gut-wrenching performance in "Herostratus" under Don Levy’s harsh tutelage has provided anywhere near as much genuine enjoyment to cinema audiences, as "low class and low budget" cult favourites such as “Scream and Scream Again”, “Warlords of Atlantis”, or “Lifeforce.”

IMDB entry
WoA (6) WoA (2)

The stranded expedition party is greeted by Atmir.

WoA (8) WoA (9)

He looks upon them with little favour.
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