(Release Date: August 13, 1985 [Italy])
Another filoni knock off tradition was the quick combination of otherwise divergent genres into one ungainly hole-riddled whole. A detective thriller might suddenly have a flock of undead stumbling through its frames, a cannibal flick might have a tender romance scene within it, an action adventure might have a space ship appear for no reason and almost half the time the title of the flick had nothing but nothing to do with the story itself. Surely somebody would want to see something that had to do with something about the movie.
The mixing of genres was great for film makers, especially those who didn't have a whole lot of story in them to begin with. And the brief resurgence of Pulp Heroes on the screen was great for American Actors working and modeling in Italy.
Enter Massacre in Dinosaur Valley starring Michael Sopkiw, whom you may remember from such films as Blastfighter, Devilfish and 2019: After the Fall of New York! Okay, so his four films weren't exactly the top of the pops in the USA... or, really, anywhere else for that matter, even though they were released... pretty much everywhere. That's a shame because no matter how derivative his roles were or how bad the films he starred in might have been, Sopkiw is actually a very likeable and fun actor with a fine screen presence and a sarcastic wit.
Some of the same things could be said for Massacre in Dinosaur Valley. It's endearing in an exploitative trash kind of way and manages to hold the attention of viewers (at least those who would be willing to sit through this kind of film anyway). In fact, for the Cannibals-Chasing-Naked-Models-Through-The-Land-That-Time-Forgot-While-Action-Hero-Laughingly-Saves-The-Day subgenre, this is absolutely the best film you could hope to watch.
Which is not to say that it's a good film.
It's exploitation to a T, it is. After all, if the title Massacre in Dinosaur Valley doesn't scream Exploitation to you, the fact that the original Italian Title was Nudo e selvaggio (English Translation: Naked and Savage) should clue you in. In the other hand, if the fact that this was filmed in Brazil means anything at all, you can guess that the quality of nudity here will be off the proverbial charts. And it is.
Sopkiw is paleontologist Kevin Hall who arrives in Brazil with a big box of Dinosaur Bones (many of which are shattered when he's thrown off the truck by the angry driver). Too bad for him there's no room in the Inn. Even worse for him is the fact that the last plane out of there is also booked up. But lucky for him, both the last room and the last seats on the plane are boggarted by fellow scientist and Hall's long-distance mentor Prof. Pedro Ibańez (Leonidas Bayer) and his super, super hot daughter Eva (super, super hot actress Suzane Carvalho). Even luckier for Hall, and the audience, the other seats are taken up by a photographer named Jose (Jofre Soares) and his two nude model friends Monica (hot Brazilian Gloria Cristal) and Belinda (hot Blonde Susan Hahn). After accidentally, yet not regrettably, meeting Eva while she's completely naked, Hall manages to get that plane ride which, incidentally, has a brief layover in the VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS!
I would tell you that you can guess the rest as this flick devolves into an '80's remake of The Lost World with lots of female full frontal (and rear-al) nudity, but I would venture to bet that you couldn't. Director Michele Massimo Tarantini who wrote this thing along with an uncredited Dardano Sacchetti (quite possibly my favorite bad movie writer now) is all over the game board with this film. Sure there's a fake looking plane crash (you can see the string holding up the model) and a battle to escape a prehistoric wilderness, but it's not too long before they're attacked by cannibals who can perform ancient rituals to bring forth spirits of dinosaurs. This means, of course, that the ladies are soon wearing less than Margi did in Zombie Creeping Flesh! And I really wasn't offended by that. If that's not enough plot for you, check out the Brazilian Diamond Mining Camp run by Andy Silas' China (usually pronounced "Chee-Nah") and his savage Lesbian sidekick Myara (Maria Reis).
I hope I'm not offering up too many spoilers by telling you the title is just bait to put butts in grindhouse seats (or, more appropriately today, sell cheap DVD three packs). There are no dinosaurs here, with the exception of the one cannibal god, who is actually an ordinary Brazilian with a plastic triceratops skull on and some rubber reptile gloves tied onto his hands with red ribbons. Not exactly scary. There are a few fake pigs and crocodiles that look almost as real as the actual fake dinosaurs from Yor, the Hunter from the Future. But there is just about every other exploitation cliché here to give you your minimum deadly allowance of mirth and mayhem. Trust me, even if it doesn't live up to its Massacre in Dinosaur Valley title, it more than lives up to its Naked and Savage title. An edited version of this thing would be shorter than your average sitcom... with commercials zapped!
That's not all I like about this movie. Whether this was truly by intent or not, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley does come across with a very tongue in cheek attitude and not only expressed by the affable Michael Sopkiw. He throws a lot of it in there, though. That's really his voice, bad dubbing and all, and you can hear how he makes the most of an overall cheesed out screenplay. In many ways that's an attitude shared by the other players here, to the point that when someone seems to be taking things too seriously, they seem to be in the wrong damned movie. Aside from Sopkiw, the sense of humor can be seen in a lot of places, including things the models say and do and even Carvalho's mannerisms. There's even a pastiche of Mr. and Mrs. Howell from Gilligan's Island in this castaway adventure in the form of John and Betty Heinz (Milton Morris and Marta Anderson, respectively).
But all this can't change the fact that Massacre in Dinosaur Valley is a DOG! Intent or not, likeable or not, it's still the same old trash with just a sprinkling of new fun thrown on it. Hey, I love the movie, but that doesn't make it any good. Sopkiw on the other hand... that guy was cool as his female costars were hot! Don't cry for him, though, Dinosaur Valley. The truth is, though this was his last film, he never left us. The man is doing just fine in the private sector, perhaps never fighting dinosaurs or cannibals, but in certain circles if you call on "The Violet-Glass Guy", you know you're in good hands.
I know how that sounded, but I promise you... I wasn't being sarcastic. This dude is cool!
See you in the next Violet-Glass Reel.
Blastfighting Devilfish in the year 2019...
There's only one thing to do...
Click here for yet another bad review!
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