This Brazil-set cannibal epic from one of your off-brand Italian auteurs (Michele Massimo Tarantini) is an entry level one meaning that normal people will be repulsed by its sleazy smorgasbord of violence which includes people shot, impaled, gutted, raped, enslaved, drowning in quicksand, dying in plane wrecks, animal abuse and of course a breast scratched by a triceratops claw.
Regular viewers of such Amazon atrocities as Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust, and Eaten Alive! will likely view this film as a rather tame entry in the genre and I actually found myself wondering why it was so wimpy. (Only one brief scene of a guy having his stomach torn open? What is this? A savage-infested jungle hell or a Sunday School?)
At the local hotel, we meet a doctor and his daughter. The doctor is an expert in dinosaur stuff and his daughter is an expert in bra-less jungle adventuring. She also manages to squeeze in a shower scene before departing for the savage land, but that’s pretty much the extent of her character development.
The doctor wants to visit good old Dinosaur Valley, but it’s pretty cursed and is off-limits so it doesn’t take him long to convince an unsavory French pilot to make a stopover at Dinosaur Valley so that he can poke around some rocks.
The star of our movie is a bonehunter named Kevin and he’s literally just off the banana truck and laughably attempting to channel a little Indiana Jones with his outfit and humorous responses to difficult situations.
Also along for the ride is a Vietnam vet and his ex-wife. And just to make sure we have all the conventions of the genre covered, a photographer and two of his fashion models come along as well. Until I started watching these movies, I never would have guessed that the headhunter population of the Amazon was equaled only by the supermodel population.
Once everyone is loaded into the plane, it hits a little turbulence over Dinosaur Valley and crashes in an area inhabited by a bunch of Indians who eat people.
The Vietnam Vet assumes command and the group encounters the usual jungle related problems such as leeches and piranha attacks. After the photographer gets his leg shredded by some piranhas to the point where his ankle is just a bunch of bone with a little bit of hanging skin, Vietnam Guy stabs him to death with his machete.
Kevin takes exception to this even though it was clear that the photographer was just going to slow everyone down and whine about how he didn’t have a leg anymore. Kevin and Vietnam Guy have a big fight that eventually results in Kevin (or at least a dummy sort of dressed up like him) going over some pretty rough falls.
The doctor’s daughter and remaining model are taken prisoner by the cannibals following the demise of the others. Since this is Dinosaur Valley, it only makes sense that the captives would be sacrificed by the guy wearing the triceratops mask and armed with the triceratops claw.
And since Kevin is played by Michael Sopkiw of 2019: After the Fall of New York fame, it also only makes sense that a bumpy ride over some rocks wouldn’t stop him from showing up and shooting everyone in sight with his shotgun. Thank goodness he managed to hold on to it while he was bouncing off all those rocks in the waterfall!
Once their escape is completed, the savage cannibal portion of the film is over even though there is still about twenty-five minutes to go. Next on their jungle tour is a layover with the local slaver who runs some sort of mine full of precious stones.
He’s a lard ass who has a bunch of locals in chains and makes them mine the gems and he decides that Kevin’s girlfriend would make a nice girlfriend for his lesbian associate. (This must have been thrown in there to appeal to the “women in prison” crowd.)
The movie wraps things up with Kevin’s escape from his pig pen prison, his revenge on lard ass, his freeing the slaves, him blowing up all the bad guys, and his hijacking of the helicopter. Somehow, when you list it all out like that, it doesn’t sound as routine and low budget as it actually was.
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley won’t please the hardcore horror crowd very much since it minimizes the cannibal action. For those though who don’t need another movie that dwells of the finer points of guys getting their nads whacked off and their brains scooped out, things move along at a fair enough pace so that you aren’t pounded into numbed boredom by all the depravity these movies usually serve up. An Italian jungle film with training wheels.
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