‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ or — The Reagan Doctrine With Added Tits?

I’m not a fan of the cannibal sub-genre of films. In fact, it could be my least favourite type of movie — I simply have no desire to see screaming people being torn apart in the jungle. However, I also always wanted to be a paleontologist when I was a kid so when I read that ‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ (1985) was less a cannibal film (it’s not) and more a dino-bone chasing Indiana Jones adventure with tits (it is) I figured it might have some artistic merit after all. Turns out it doesn’t in the slightest as ‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ is simply a low-budget excuse for some middling gore and plenty of nudity meaning the only question the film raises is whether or not you’ll switch it off before the end. The bar for success here is very low indeed.

A plane crashes in the Amazon jungle. On board is a dashing paleontologist named Kevin, an anthropologist with his sexy daughter, a glamour photographer and his models and a Vietnam vet with his over-bearing wife. Unfortunately they have crashed in the cursed Dinosaur Valley, a place of legend inhabited by flesh-eating headhunters. With a rescue party unlikely the only course of action is to follow the river and hope it leads to civilisation and safety before they are picked off one by one.

So what we have is a typical ‘people in peril in the jungle’ set-up and that’s all it is as we see members of the group meet various grisly, although not too gory, deaths as the cannibal tribe hunts them down or the local wildlife gobbles them up. There’s nothing new or interesting at all going on here and, after twenty five minutes or so, I was seriously contemplating turning it off. What keeps it watchable, however, is the vein of ‘comedy’ running throughout. Director Michele Tarantini said his brief was less to make a cannibal film and more a copy of ‘Romancing The Stone’ (1984) meaning the movie is going for sexy laughs way more often than shocking kills. Sure, it comes no where NEAR to having any of the charm of Zemeckis’ flick but I’d rather watch a low-rent, shoddy Jack Colton than nihilistic torture any day.

All this is helped by the fact that the characters here are, despite the acting, kinda fun to watch. The Vietnam vet and his nagging wife are daft and colourful and the group as a whole provide some decent entertainment. And when they are captured by the cannibals it turns out this tribe is actually a dinosaur cult controlled by a dinosaur priest complete with wings and a dinosaur skull head along with a green dinosaur claw for a hand which he uses to draw blood from heaving female bosoms — so this isn’t exactly Margaret Mead level of anthropological fidelity we’re talking about here, folks, but it’s fun.

Yet it’s also here that ‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ does something interesting (although that depends on your definition of the word) as only an hour in it suddenly hits what should be the logical end of the movie. The hero has saved the women and they’ve escaped the tribe leaving only the credits to roll. What are they going to do with the last half hour? How about throw in a climax involving murderous slave traders and a critique of the Reagan Doctrine of South America along with lesbian sex? It’s not especially deep and might not even be intentional but it’s another bone to gnaw on and certainly adds some variation as the film wraps everything up.

‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ is not a good film but it’s also not completely without merit. Sure, any merit the film does have it seems to have accrued purely by chance but combined with the fact it’s relatively good-spirited and aiming for fun over nastiness means ‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ is, at least, watchable… and for a film called ‘Massacre in Dinosaur Valley’ I guess that’s something you can consider praise.

--

--

--

Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

“Love, Victor”: A Precious Pride Month Gift

Dune Review: A masterclass of filmmaking that almost collapses under its own weight.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Colin Edwards

Colin Edwards

Comedy writer, radio producer and director of large scale audio features.

More from Medium

DUAL: The Trouble With Gillans

Film Review: “Men” (2022)

Paradise Found - “The Lost City” Review

Eskil Vogt’s ‘The Innocents’ Is A Must-See Child Horror Film [Review]