Film Review: Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985)

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SYNOPSIS:

A plane crashes in the Amazon jungle, and its passengers must battle their way through cannibals, slave traders, wild animals and murderous piranha fish to safety.

REVIEW:

Massacre in Dinosaur Valley is also known as Cannibal Ferox 2, although it shares little in common with the previous film except for the fact that they’re both set in the jungle, feature white people pursued by cannibals, and fall into the nasty Italian films of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Since the film was directed by Michele Massimo Tarantini, you can kind of get the idea of what kind of film Massacre in Dinosaur Valley will be – just scanning the list of films the man directed, like Confessions of a Lady Cop, Women in Fury, and Taxi Girl, it’s pretty obvious that much of the film will be devoted to sleaze in some form.

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To be quite honest, that’s much of Massacre in Dinosaur Valley in a nutshell. A group of people, including paleontologist Kevin Hall (Michael Sopkiw), Professor Ibanez (Leonidas Bayer), and his daughter Eva (Suzane Carvalho), head out on a plane bound for Manaus, but everyone decides they’d like to make a trip to Dinosaur Valley to explore potential findings in the jungle. It’s a bad idea all around – there’s talk that the valley is cursed, but even worse are the natives that like to capture and eat people who don’t belong.

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It isn’t long before their airplane plummets from the sky, leaving everyone stranded in the jungles and prey for piranhas, native cannibals, and perverted white men mining for valuable jewels in the Amazon. Kevin takes control of the situation, but that doesn’t mean all of the group survives.

Most copies of Massacre in Dinosaur Valley have minutes cut from their runtime because of multiple gratuitous scenes. All of them have to do with nudity in some way, though; sex scenes and graphic shots of kempt vaginas are really all that’s been edited from the film, and the cuts don’t have any effect on the film whatsoever. There’s more than enough nudity to go around, Tarantini assures, because of the multiple breasts and butts that are depicted throughout the movie.

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However, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley is quite tame in comparison to its brethren. There’s a lot of nudity but only some of it is tasteless; there’s a rape scene and some lecherous men, yet the film makes little use of either. The violence is uncharacteristically missing from this Italian nasty, and many viewers will wonder why Massacre in Dinosaur Valley was worth plodding through.

It’s a slow film for sure, one that starts out strangely comedic for a story full of sleaze and murder. One of the funniest scenes involves a barroom brawl with Kevin and a couple of musclemen; one man takes a chair to the chest without problem. The tone remains upbeat until about halfway through, when the cannibals finally appear. There’s one scene of cannibalism in Cannibal Ferox 2, but it’s secondary to piranha and crocodile attacks.

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Most interesting about Massacre in Dinosaur Valley, though, is the comparisons the film draws between the “uncivilized” natives of the Amazon and the white men who want to dominate the land. Andy Silas’ role as the villain China isn’t what you’d call minimal; he chews scenery in every shot. And while the film is never deft at metaphor, China is probably as close as the film comes to making a statement.

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Heart of Darkness the movie is not, but at least Massacre in Dinosaur Valley manages something from its scattered plot. If humanizing natives isn’t your thing, there is at least a boob in nearly every shot in the last hour of the film, and at times Massimo seems to be catering to the male market by condoning chauvinism – even if you nearly get the girl killed by being a dick, she’ll still love you as long as you save her. Still, be warned – there are more bouncing breasts in Massacre in Dinosaur Valley than there are cannibals, making it a fairly unsuccessful horror movie.

Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985)

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About Ryne Barber

Along with doing reviews for HorrorNews.net, Ryne also writes for his own horror blog The Moon is a Dead World (http://www.themoonisadeadworld.net).

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