MASSACRE IN DINOSAUR VALLEY (a.k.a. Cannibal Ferox 2) **** Italy / Brazil 1985 Dir: Michele Massimo Tarantini. 88 mins
A belated but engaging addition to the Lenzi-led jungle exploitation sub-genre. A mismatched ensemble set off for the famous “valley of the dionosaurs” – led by bone-hunting American adventurer Michael Sopkiw, an arrogant, somewhat bumbling womaniser in the Bruce Campbell mould who’s as cool as anyone called “Kevin” can possibly be.
Within 15 minutes, Sopkiw has had the shit beaten out of him by two locals and shagged the hottest of the two fashion models in the group – all prior to his plane crashing in the Amazon. Cock-fighting, leech attacks, wet T-shirts and rampaging head-hunters follow. A very groovy, infectious synth score (partly cribbed from BLASTFIGHTER) adds to the golden-age Italian feel, as does the plentiful full-frontal nudity and a moment in which the obligatory Vietnam veteran, without flinching, shoves a machete through a hapless dude whose leg has been chewed to the bone by piranha fish. Fans of predatory, wound-kissing black lesbians get their money’s worth, and Sopkiw is a terrific leading man, committed enough to his art to be distracted from the heroine’s bared boobs by a dinosaur footprint and memorably confronting the loathsome, grinning slave-trader villain with a defiant: “You’re a fat, smelly, evil bastard…!” It also has one of the great corny climactic lines of Italian exploitation: “It’s a Brazilian helicopter…it’s got built-in rhythm!”
Review by Steven West