Italy National Day: Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985)


Film: If you have read anything on this site before, you’ll know I am a big fan of Italian films of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Amongst that, I also have somewhat of a fondness for the Cannibal film made by Italian filmmakers of the period. I think I saw Cannibal Apocalypse first and was stunned by the story and brutality of it, and whenever I hear of one I’ve not seen I seek it out.

This was one I hadn’t seen of until it’s release by 88 Films this year and I was pretty excited to watch it as I could tick off another Cannibal/ Green Inferno film off my list, and actually from the period and of available releases it might be my last one, or very close to it.

This film was written and directed by Michele Massimo Tarantini who also gave us Sword of the Barbarians and Women in Fury is of the second wave of Cannibal films of this time, others being Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story and Cannibal Holocaust 2, which aren’t as good as the first wave, which included the original Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox.


Massacre in Dinosaur Valley tells of the misadventures of archeologist Kevin Hall (Michael Sopkiw) who has journeyed into the Brazilian jungle in search of dinosaur bones. When he gets there, he decides to hitch an airplane ride with Professor Ibanez (Leonidas Bayer) and his daughter Eva (Suzane Carvalho), along with a slightly mad ex-Viet Nam veteran, his annoying wife, a photographer and two models.

Unfortunately for them, the plane crashes (in some of the worst special effects ever seen) and the survivors of the crash have to find a way to make their way out of the jungle, but with just a few people up against cannibals, piranha and evil illegal diamond minors, will any of them get out safely?

First I must point out that this is an edited version of the film as due to animal cruelty laws in the U.K., some cock-fighting scenes at the beginning of the film have been excised from this release so it isn’t a ‘complete and uncut’ version, but realistically the film doesn’t suffer from it and it’s not a story point, though you do hear that the competition is going on in the background.

It’s a quirky film for sure. Sopkiw plays his role like a mysoginistic jerk-off that the women seem to love, but it’s done with a great air of comedy too, not sure if that’s intentional or not, but it does add something to the uniqueness of the film. One case that particularly makes for a laugh is some hilariously ill-fitting music over a sex scene. No Barry White for this guy!


The special effects are pretty amusing in general too. Most acts of gunshot violence don’t result in a blood spray, the aforementioned airplane crash is clearly a model plane and the scenes of hogs attempting to eat Sopkiw’s leg are less that spectacular.

The film is entertaining but it doesn’t have the weight that the films of the earlier batch of cannibal films, so it comes across a little more like a Romancing the Stone film with a bit of blood and violence.

Score: ***


Format: Considering the age of the film, it looks pretty good! There is an occasional artefact, but in general, this UK, region B, 88 minute bluray release is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with a decent LPCM 2.0 audio.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Now I’m not sure if you count this as an extra or a special feature, but the film is able to be watched in an English dubbed, or a subtitled version. Oddly, the Italian language version is a shorter film!

In addition to that, we also have a theatrical trailer of the film, and a bunch of deleted scenes, some of which have no audio due to the nature of the scenes not being finished for the final presentation of the film, so their removal must have been decided well before any recording of audio was done.

There is also a discussion about the Cannibal sub-genre with well known U.K. Horror enthusiast Callum Waddell called Location Location Cannibalisation. It’s an interesting look not just at this film but of Cannibal films in general.

There is also a special thanks section where those who donated money to the release of the film get a note of thanks.

This bluray release also has a reversible cover featuring alternate artwork for the film.

I’m going to gauge these extras from the point of the alternate version of the film being an extra feature.

Score: ****

WISIA: It was entertaining but I can’t see myself watching it too frequently, not when films like the aforementioned Cannibal Holocaust, Apocalypse and Ferox exist.

Countess Perverse (1974) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Countess Perverse aka La Comtesse Perverse(1974)

The Mondo Macabro cover of Countess Perverse


Film: I love films about humans hunting humans: Turkey Shoot, The Most Dangerous Game, The Hunger Games… you name it, I love it! Add to that the themes from cannibal films like Cannibal Holocaust, or Cannibal Ferox and I’m even more attentive. Throw in a handful of 70s nudity in a European environment and I am 100% sold.

Mention Jess Franco though, and I’ll temper all that excitement, just in case: I’ve been stung more than once before! 

Now I am no expert of Franco though I know that he loves his nudity and on occasion, the movies can be overlong due to a lavish amount of attention spent on scenery shots.

… and Countess Perverse is no exception.

Countess Perverse tells of a young woman, Silvia (Lena Romay) who escapes an island where Count Rabor Zaroff (Howard Vernon) and his wife Countess Ivana Zaroff (Alice Arno) has been sexually abusing her and feeding her strange raw meat. She washes up on another island’s beach where she receives assistance from Tom (Robert Woods) and Moira (Tania Busselier), but she finds their relationship to be an open one and very soon she has moved in as a guest/ in house concubine.

Countess Perverse: Lina Romay


What she doesn’t realise though is that Tom and Moira are pawns in the Count and Countess cruel games, and very soon Silvia is once again trapped on their island, but this time, she is issued a challenge’ survive a hunt where she is the prey, and she is free to go…

Will she survive? Does this film contain nudity from some stunning 70s actresses? Am I sexist to mention it?

This film had a troubled release, with additional porn scenes added in various countries, and the suggestion of cannibalism left a nasty taste in some people’s mouths, making it a difficult sell when it was presented at Cannes. This edition is labeled the ‘original director’s cut’ in which the hardcore additions have been excised, and considering those scenes were performed by different actors, it’s for the best. Thriller: A Grim Film suffers for its added porn scenes, in my opinion, and I imagine the same would have been here.

European and Franco film fans should take note of the appearance of Alice Arno and Lina Romay here, for me it’s always nice to see them appear in these films. Fans of 70s bush will be pleased to know that there is an abundance of it in this film, actually, more bush than an episode of Russell Coight… speaking of which, there’s a bit of coight too!

Countess Perverse: Alice Arno eats some meat


Essentially this is a sexy redo of The Most Dangerous Game, which also had problems when being sold due it’s themes. The soft core sex in this film isn’t particularly sexy, to the point there are a couple of lingering lesbian kissing scenes which looks like the actresses are really forcing themselves to perform. The last ten minutes of this film (the actual hunt) are interesting though. 

The are a few lingering low points in the film where Franco, as I mentioned above, does seem to spend a long time looking at the scenery of where this is filmed. It’s not the scenery is awful, is just could have done with a minute or three worth of editing to speed the proceeds of the film up. The houses used in the film are dizzyingly fantastic and must be seen to be believed!

Score: **1/2

Format: The edition of this film reviewed was the Mondo Macabro Region-free DVD with runs for about 79 minutes. It is presented in an OK 1.33:1 video with a similar stereo audio. Nothing special, but clear enough to see the beautiful European locations and their regularly nude denizens.

Score: **1/2

The Mondo Macabro menu screen of Countess Perverse


Extras: There is a few interesting extras on this disc, including a text ‘About the Film’ piece which tells of the film’s production and difficulty finding a distributor, some more text Cast and Crew Profiles, an interview with actor Robert Woods, and one with film historian Stephen Thrower.

There is also a Mondo Macabro release roll which shows a bunch of other releases from the label. For me, it’s become somewhat of a shopping list!

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: I can honestly say I’ve never been so bored whilst watching beautiful naked women but when the action gets started towards the end, it gets interesting, unfortunately just quickly enough for the film to end with its ‘moral’ resolve. If I do watch this film again, I’ll probably just go to the final chapter!

The Count’s house in Countess Perverse

Jungle Holocaust (1977) Review

Today is the first day of our Italian Festa Della Repubblica celebration, and for the next three days we’ll have a film representing a colour of the Italian flag. The first colour is, of course, green, and what better way to celebrate ‘green’ Italian cinema than with a cannibal/ jungle film…One from the to watch pile…

Jungle Holocaust aka Last Cannibal World (1977)


Film: Also known as Ultimo Mondo Cannibale.

I became a cannibal film fan late in my love of horror films. During the VHS era I was more interested in zombie films and American stuff, though I had seen Survive and Cannibal Apocalypse. It wasn’t until DVD that I saw Cannibal Holocaust for the first time, and was completely won over by what I magnificent film it was, not just as a genre/ horror/ exploitation film but also as a thriller about how no matter where you walk on earth you have an effect, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. This of course led to to pursue other cannibal films, and even though I have had this in my collection for a while, I had never actually watched it.

It is directed by Cannibal Holocaust’s director Ruggero Deodato, from a script by Tito Carpi, Gianfranco Clerici and Renzo Genta.


Robert Harper (Massimo Foschi) travels to Malaysia to visit a group of employees, but the airstrip has gone to ruin and his plane crashes upon landing. Soon, the pilot and his female companion are killed by a local tribe of natives, and Harper finds himself separated from his companion Rolf (Ivan Rassimov).

Harper is quickly captured by the locals and is tortured and humiliated by the tribe, though one girl, Pulan (Me Me Lai) offers him sympathy… And a hand shandy ( I guess that’s why her name is ‘Pulin’).

Of course, he is desperate to escape, but will he? Is he forever trapped?


I have to say I’m luke warm on this. This film came before Cannibal Holocaust and a lot of this feels like a testing ground for what comes after. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but occasionally it is hard to make a proper judgement on something when seen out of release order. I am sure if I had seen this before the others my opinion would be different.

That’s not to say it doesn’t tell a great story about the jungle environment, and what men might do to survive, and the three leads are quite good in their roles, and Me Me Lai isn’t too hard on the eyes at all!

I will point out, if nudity, or particularly male nudity, and I’m talking full frontal, sack up close nudity either offends or threatens your masculinity, avoid this film. There more sausage in this film than at a German butchers.

Also, animal cruelty is present in this film, though Deodato claims, in an introduction, that he was not responsible for it. If you have a tender sensibility or a weak stomach, boy oh boy is your constitution gonna be tested.

…aaaaand as far as feminism is concerned, well the offence may continue. I don’t admit to knowing anything about it, but I am sure a native girl who suffers from penis envy, and falls for a guy after he slaps her around and then rapes her isn’t a feminist icon.

Ok, so if your offended by nudity, a vegan or a feminist, you probably shouldn’t watch this.

For me this is far from the best cannibal films around, but I am glad I have now seen it as I can add it’s viewing to my list of cannibal films.

Score: **

Format: This review was done using the apparently uncut, 2001 Shriek Show release on region 1 DVD. It runs for approximately 88 minutes and is presented in a 2.35:1 video with Dolby 2.0 stereo audio. The picture is quite clear, but occasionally a touch soft and has a mild amount of tiny artefacts here and there. The sound though is pretty damn good.

Score: ***


Extras: Not a bad amount of extras can be found on this disc, including Memoirs From The Jungle which is broken up into Materials Archive, which is a series of promotional posters and lobby cards for the film, an interview with Massimo Foschi, some personal snapshots of the film taken from Foschi’s collection and another interview, but this time with Ivan Rassimov.

The original trailer is also here (though as Last Cannibal World), as well as text pieces of the director’s filmography, and Talent Biographies of Deodato, Foschi, Lai and Rassimov.

There is also a director’s commentary performed by Ruggero Deodato, though he does it in his native Italian, with English subtitles, and wow, he comments on everything. Fascinating!

There are also trailers for Beyond the Darkness, Zombie Holocaust, Nights of Terrors (sic) and Eaten Alive.

Score: ****

WISIA: In a world where Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Apocalypse and Cannibal Ferox exists; I probably won’t watch this again.