Massacre in Dinosaur Valley first spotted me at this years FrightFest, from one of those DVD stalls that The Cinema Store put up every year. “Oi you,” it whispered, “check me out. I’m starring that guy from 2019: After the Fall of New York and written by the guy who wrote The Beyond and Bronx Warriors!” Really? That sounds like a ridiculous low-budget Italian combination made in pure cannibal heaven, it can’t possibly be true.
But after a few clicks around imdb.com (what would we do without it?), it was soon obvious that it wasn’t lying after all. Great, there’s half a Zombie Club right there, but what could go with it? Wait a minute, what’s this? Imdb.com says “If you like this title, we also recommend...”Treasures of the Amazon. Treasure hunts, breasts, gore, Donald Pleasance as a Nazi, and more breasts? Sold to the three smiling Zombie Clubbers in the corner. Hell yeah.
This evening’s cinematic adventure was brought to you by Jim in association with lots and lots and lots of breasts.
The Treasure of the Amazon (1985)
Plot Diamonds, cannibals and breasts.
Jim “It’s a true story, but set in a fictitious place?” quizzed Rawshark as some rather confusing captions rolled over the title credits. But what title credits though; luscious Amazonian landscapes, beautiful clear water, savage wild beasts that aren’t taken from stock footage, half naked natives, and an ancient looking steamboat driven by your standard issue “alcohol swigging captain” (thanks Rawshark). Welcome to the quite amazing Treasures of the Amazon.
“Oh, it’s a treasure hunt movie” exclaimed Rawshark, summing this movie up in a nutshell. You essentially have a few different groups of people hunting for hidden Amazonian loot, and hoping to find it before the over aggressive natives catch them first. The first group consists of aquaplane pilot Clark (the guy from Piranha), his mate Dick (pointless poor man’s Chuck Norris for this film) and their mate (and former Miss World would you believe) who we nicknamed Slut Barbara, as she has no qualms about drunkenly dancing around in front of both of them semi-naked. They’re here looking for oil or something, but that all changes when Dick finds a skeleton and a small bag of diamonds, and obviously concludes there must be more around here. Get-rich-quick fever sets in, and they soon become too busy digging to notice that those far off tribal drums are getting closer.
Meanwhile, would-be hero of the movie Gringo (”He definitely has the best beard.” - Zomblee) is reluctantly making friends with two idiot Latino hunters, Hiro and Zapato, aboard that steamboat from the credits, who themselves are following a few boxes of mining equipment which is soon to be picked up by an amazingly good value Klaus (Donald Pleasance) and his permanently topless sidekick Morimba. I wasn’t the only one who was impressed by the Pleasance in this movie either ”Is he German? A nazi? Ooooh, that‚s brilliant” Sure is Zomblee. ”I haff keeled miny Yankz wiv zis pistol!” he says to Gringo, and then he’s off, taking one route through the jungle, while Gringo’s team take another, and the Dick and Clark gang are already digging away.
So, who’ll get to the diamonds first? Gringo, Zapato and Hiro? Klaus and Morimba? ”Her breasts are hanging out again” or maybe Dick, Clark and Slutty Barbara? Or will the natives get to them first? Who will get out alive, surely not that idiot Hiro who talks like a dumber version of Rocky Balboa (yeah really) and complains about everything? Or Slutty Barbara with her incredibly high waisted and high-legged hot pants? Or will Dick get given the shrunken head treatment, prompting Rawshark to come up with Zombie Club’s worst ever gag? “He’s got a very small Dick-head!” Oh dear.
Anyway, all in all Treasures of the Amazon is a real find, and I imagine not widely know. Great stuff, and I haven’t even mentioned the death by crab scene, the native penis barbeque, or the thing that Zomblee thought was an anteater.
”Quality, they've got an anteater in it.”
Zomblee Well if it wasn't an anteater can someone please tell me what the bloody hell it was? That was one strange looking beast, folks. There's a lot of non-stock footage wildlife featured in this wild-eyed fusion of Indiana Jones and the video nasty. In fact when I said that I reckoned such footage must make up for about 10-15 minutes of the total running time, Jim quickly contested, "More like 45 minutes!" and he's probably right. But don't let that put you off. Well-shot scenes depicting a plethora or birds, monkeys, floppy-chested ox public transport, panthers and strange, truly bizarre (non-) anteaters abound here, amidst the plentiful massacring of the poor natives. It's an ultra-gory adventure story of the highest order. Forget Indiana and a pit of snakes, it's time to embrace the idea of men with great beards and vicious crabs that pull your face apart and rip out your eyes. Crabs always freaked me out (I don't trust the way the move), but now they're really on my shit list.
Essentially, Treasure... is a jolly good romp about finding treasure in the jungle, as you might already have worked out. But throw a few endearingly jungletastic ingredients (like Pleasance as a Nazi, some old skool gore and a general abundance of breasts) into the jungle stew and you get something rather special. Stuart Whitman (who sounds exactly like Nick Nolte) as Gringo is a steadfast leading man who only seems to get passionate during what Jim monickered "treasure talk". There's also a character called Dick who looks like a poor man's Tom Atkins (or maybe it's a rich man's Tom Atkins - he's younger, and better looking), as well as a welcome appearance by Sam Peckinpah regular Emilio Fernandez, the kinda guy you'd never, ever buy a used car from.
It was hard work keeping track of everyone's names in Treasure... ("That's Barbara isn't it?" - Rawshark) "Yeah...slutty Barbara" - You can always count on Jim to clear these matters up with such eloquence, even when performing demanding multi-tasking activities like watching naked tribeswomen wrestle whilst trying to write notes. One pre-requisite for Amazonian horror was sadly absent though; the machete hacking to clear the way through the jungle - "I see machetes but I see no hacking!" shouted a suspicious Jim as we witnessed the treasure hunters negotiating foliage with relative ease and a distinct lack of hacking. In the end though, none of this really mattered. You wouldn't believe what happens to "DP" (as Rawshark likes to call him) in the end - I'll leave that one for Rawshark. One thing though - why is it that when you're watching DVD jungle horror the wildlife sounds are louder than the actors' dialogue?!
"He found out you're into shafting the natives."
Rawshark There are simply not enough treasure hunt movies made, and certainly not many good ones. Ok, so there’s Indiana Jones, but for every Ark-hunting archaeology hero, there’s an Allan Quatermain hiding just round the corner. Treasures of the Amazon is by no means on the same level as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it is great fun, especially in the environs of a Zombie Club.
Try to ignore the mostly bad acting and awful sound, and sit back and enjoy the three groups of treasure hunters on their quest for diamonds, or as they call them, ”crystallised carbon”. Donald Pleasance’s Klaus is clearly the baddie of the film, an ex-Nazi officer who brandishes his Luger and hits women (”How could you slap a woman with her tits out?” - Jim). ”Gringo the Damned” is clearly the goodie saddled with two evil sidekicks, whilst Clark, Dick and Slutty Barbara are the borderline goodies / baddies (we first meet Clark the pilot ramming eagles in his seaplane!) and fill the ‘Will they or won’t they die?’ roles.
Along the way we are treated to lots of breasts, loads of leeches, decapitations galore and, slotting into Jim’s now regular “best I’ve ever seen” scenes, we have, as Jim stated, ”the best crab death I’ve ever seen”. Despite clearly ripping off Fulci’s spider attack in The Beyond, the prolonged death by crab scene is genuine squirm-factor of the highest order, and this scene alone should ensure the DVD a place on any true gore-fan’s movie shelf.
Add in naked native female wrestling, spider-eating locals, a mandatory quicksand scene, an attack by bees and a cool ‘fish hook through the tongue’ death for DP at the end, and what you have is a b-movie exploitation classic. With all the naked flesh on display though, I just can’t help thinking it really should have been called Treasure Chests of the Amazon. (Sorry…)
“This side is for women, and on this side - that one - this is for men.”
Director Rene Cardona Jr.
Cast Stuart Whitman
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
Runtime 104 mins
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Massacre at Dinosaur Valley (Nudo e selvaggio) (1985)
Plot Dinosaur bones, cannibals and breasts.
Rawshark Also known as Cannibal Ferox 2, Massacre at Dinosaur Valley throws us straight back into the savage jungle as a motley group of Westerners soon find themselves stranded in Dinosaur Valley following a brilliantly bad plane crash. Our hero this time around is blonde archaeology expert Kevin Hall (Michael Sopkiw), unwittingly accompanied by ex-Army loon John and his plastic-faced wife Betty, fashion photographer Robbie with model Belinda and the exceptionally beautiful Suzan Carvalho as Eva, the daughter of the Professor who dies in the plane crash.
Yes, it’s another ‘b’ movie jungle flick featuring cannibalistic natives, acres of naked female flesh (”Are you sure this shouldn’t be called Breast Night” - Zomblee), leeches, quicksand and severed heads. Although obviously a cheaper production than the first film of the night, Massacre… is just as much fun, as our intrepid plane crash survivors search for a way out of the cursed Valley of the Dinosaurs (don’t get too excited and make the same mistake as me though, there aren’t actually any real dinosaurs in the film).
Along the way the two girls have a waterfall wet T-shirt competition, Robbie has his leg gnawed to the bone by piranhas, John has his heart ripped out and eaten and Eva and Belinda are kidnapped by the natives before being stripped (“That’s the third ‘pants-taking-off’ scene of the film” - Jim) and subjected to a bizarre tribal ritual that was best described by Zomblee as “Green claw rips tit!”.
Make no mistake, Massacre… is essentially a non-stop sleaze tease (“That’s it girls, just keep running and running with your tits out” - Jim), with a bad / cool calypso music score and some passable gore thrown in for good measure. It may run out of steam slightly towards the end as our survivors reach the Oasis mine, but put your brain in neutral, disengage your logic chips. prepare to drool at the delectable Suzan Carvalho and you’ll have a great time.
“You couldn’t have landed us deeper in the shit if you’d had a map reference.”
Zomblee Tonight we had a little time left over to watch an interview with Michael Sopkiw who stated “I don't think I saw the script until I got to Brazil.” Don't you just LOVE Italian movies!?
From Sopkiw we have learned that:
a) Massacre in Dinosaur Valley was shot (at least partly) in Brazil. Cool.
b) There was a script for Massacre in Dinosaur Valley.
c) Michael Sopkiw says he “saw” it.
Reassuring. But I'd hope that if he'd have done the movie even if he had read the script while he was still in the States, because this is one laughably bad jungle romp from start to finish. Sexy models, cockfights, quicksand, fat miners, “smutty” lesbo action, fake pigs, “inverted volcano nipples” (thanks Rawshark), hard-assed army men who like to take control and, as Rawshark mentioned, a big green claw that rips off a tit somwehere along the line. Does it get better than Massacre in Dinosaur Valley? Well, yes probably.
Michael Sopkiw is pretty awful but you've got to have time for a man who's short acting career included 2019: After the Fall of New York (shameless but priceless Escape from New York rip-off), Blastfighter (poor man's First Blood coming to ZC in the very near future) and Devil Fish (which sounds fucking amazing if you ask me). He didn't have a long acting career but anyone who got to do Snake Plisskin Italian style gets my blessing anyday.
The hard ass army character whose name I forget was great value here. He even says stuff like, “I'll get us out of here don't you worry - I did three tours in 'nam”, a point at which we all started really loving this film. In another scene, he says “Get down!” to everyone else, and when everybody, well, got down, all at ZC pissed themselves laughing and i'm not even sure why. It's probably just because this film is awful, but in just the right kind of way. From time to time however it did drag just a little, prompting Rawshark to shout “Look, just get on with it! She's just had her tit ripped off!” Ah...Zombie Club...
My theory of 80's fashions seeping their way into movies from that decade usually from the '84-'85 mark onwards was confirmed in Massacre.... From time to time the female characters did actually have some clothes on, and i'm not just talking about the pants. Heck, even Rawshark almost hit the nail on the head with “They're wearing all the latest...” “Jungle fashions!” Jungle fashions indeed, Jim. See? Even the jungles didn't escape the 1980's.
Jim Yeah, that green clawed tit ripping scene was Zombie Club gold. Rawshark's “just get on with it!” was referring to Kevin (that's Sopkiw) and his hair brained scheme to slowly tip the gun powder out of shot gun shells and make grenades while a native with a ridiculous green rubber claw went for Belinda's breasts. Can you picture it? It's just as funny as it sounds, especially after a skin full of wine, and at Zombie Club.
And what's not to like? Rawshark worried me early on with “Hang on, there's not going to be any dinosaurs in it, I've just twigged...”, but several shots of gratuitous nudity and a brilliantly bad model plane crash later and he was soon loving it. In fact, he even went on to argue that it was “quite an intelligent movie...”, which of course had Zomblee in hysterics, what with all that talk of comparing Zombie Club to Apocalypse Now at Cheesy Chuck Night last time.
What is weird though about this flick is the complete shift two-thirds of the way though. One minute John and his plastic wife with the big hip flask (“Look at the size of that hip flask, it's more like a leg flask!” - Zomblee) are leading the bad crash survivors through the jungle, the next minute Kevin's fighting green-clawed cannibals, then they're held captive by a bunch of slavers lead by a “fat smelly evil bastard!” called China (“Me ol'China!” - Rawshark). But Kevin fights his way out of the pig pen (past the fake pig head) and finally wins the day with a spear throw ending that we officially decided was “quite good”.
So plentiful breasts, a bad model plane crash, rubbish cannibals, a sexually frustrated vietnam vet, a decent bit of gore (that photographer getting his leg knawed away by piranhas was cool) and a fake pig head. Thank you very much.
“Is the jungle giving you illusions of manhood, Johnny-boy?”.
Director Michele Massimo Tarantini
Cast Michael Sopkiw
Runtime 88 mins
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Perfect it was, a perfect Zombie Club line up. We had the serious-ish attempt by a Mexican film maker to do something memorable in the Amazon (directed by the guy who wrote Night of the Bloody Apes, who's also the son of the guy who made Rock 'N Roll Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy no less) followed by the not so serious mid-80s Italian effort starring that guy from 2019. Fantastic.
And the food was perfect too. “Notice how the burgers aren't too small for the baps this time?” said Zomblee as he presented us with our food at half time. He's still smarting from me remarking on his culinary skills back on Giallo Night. Let it go guy.
Next Week Christmas Zombie Club, and there are some real goodies there I can tell you.