Review: Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985)

Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #781

Also known as Cannibal Ferox 2, Naked and Savage
Number of Views: One
Release Date: August 13, 1985
Genre: Adventure
Country of Origin: Italy, Brazil
Running Time: 88 minutes
Director: Michele Massimo Tarantini
Producer: Chris Rodrigues
Screenplay: Michele Massimo Tarantini, Dardano Sacchetti (uncredited)
Special Effects: Waldir Cota
Cinematography: Edson Batista
Score: Fabio Frizzi
Editing: Michele Massimo Tarantini
Studios: Doral Film, DMV Distribuzione
Distributors: Lightning Video, 88 Films (DVD)
Stars: Michael Sopkiw, Suzane Carvalho, Milton Rodríguez, Marta Anderson, Joffre Soares, Gloria Cristal, Susan Hahn, Maria Reis, Andy Silas, Leonidas Bayer, Carlos Imperial, Samuka

Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫

[1] Was (Not Was)Walk That Dinosaur”

[2] Fabio Frizzi “Blastfighter/Massacre in Dinosaur Valley”

[3] The MerrymenFeeling Hot Hot Hot”

[4] Kid Creole & The Coconuts “Don’t Take My Coconuts”

I have always had an intense fascination with dinosaurs. Back when I was a boy, before horror movies entered my life, I got my kicks from all things prehistoric. Films such as Don Chaffey’s One Million Years B.C., Val Guest’s When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Kevin Connor’s The Land That Time Forgot further fueled my fixation and I prided myself on being able to list dozens of different species without a moment’s hesitation. It was hard to pick an outright favorite and Tyrannosaurus Rex appeared to be the popular choice but, given that I always rooted for the underdog, I was all about the Triceratops. Weighing in at around five tonnes, the Triceratops boasted bony neck frills, a pair of solid brow horns and another on its snout to aid with self-defense. They may have been strict herbivores but many of their carnivorous cousins learned the hard way that Triceratops were not to be taken at all lightly.

Alas, my knowledge of dinosaurs is no longer what it used to be and it doesn’t help that I have never actually watched a single Jurassic Park movie from start to finish in one sitting. Shameful I know, but what have dinosaurs done for me lately? It’s been 65 million years since they last graced us with their presence and, even if they did decide to make a comeback, chances are we’d have precious little to talk about. Despite my gradual drop off in interest, I still have fond recollections of the time we spent together and hope to one day run into them again in The Valley of Gwangi. Indeed, my pointed elbows curiously resemble the joints of a pterodactyl, although I couldn’t possibly attain the same magnificent wingspan.

During one of my recent expeditions to my local DVD stockist, I unearthed a shiny new copy of Michele Massimo Tarantini’s 1985 curio, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley, lovingly restored by the good folk over at 88 Films. Astonishingly, I’d never so much as heard of it previously although, what I failed to realize, was that back then it paraded in the UK until its alternative title, Cannibal Ferox 2. My interest instantly piqued, although just shy of $20 seemed a tad extortionate for a film I had barely any knowledge of so I scuttled off home to investigate further.

Imagine my delight then, when I read numerous kind words about this forgotten low-rent gem and the general consensus was that it was both a hoot and a holler. After cursing my indecisiveness for a full thirty seconds, I fired up my chariot and headed on back to the excavation site to procure myself a copy. The snazzy reversible sleeve kept me amused for all of five minutes; but I knew what had to be done and it entailed dashing back to my man-cave with considerable haste and only minor trepidation to provide this flavorsome looking fossil a run-out.

Italian cinema was in decent health during the eighties and, after the colossal worldwide success of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of The Lost Ark, it appeared to make shrewd business sense to crack a whip or two of their very own. It just so happened that they loved themselves a mash-up and, while they already owned the monopoly on exploitation and schlock, a dash of hearty adventure tossed in for good measure was sure to get the cash registers ringing. By combining otherwise divergent genres, they appealed to a far wider demographic, or at least, that’s how it played out in theory. While proposing a bonkers blend of cannibals, dinosaurs and scantily clad Amazonians sounds like a winner on paper, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley never ventured into my local video store.

It wasn’t as though it didn’t boast a big name as a main draw. Dashing Connecticut-born action hero Michael Sopkiw was on something of a roll back then, with the likes of Blastfighter, Devilfish and 2019: After the Fall of New York! already tucked into his utility belt and his fast ballooning popularity, in Italy at least, ensuring just the kind of press Tarantini’s film needed to stand out from the ever swelling crowd.

With Cannibal Ferox gaining all kinds of notoriety across the pond, there seemed no harm or foul in “borrowing” its title and playing his film off as a sequel for additional curiosity points. Needless to say, the two films share as much in common as E.T. and Xtro and there’s barely the faintest slither of anthropology going down in Dinosaur Valley so not the most triumphant of starts then.

Our journey begins on an overcrowded bus travelling through the lush greens of Brazil, where renowned paleontologist Pedro Ibañez (Leonidas Bayer) and his incredibly hot daughter Eva (Suzane Carvalho) are minding their own business and preparing to arrive at their destination. Temperatures are soaring and, unfortunately for Eva, a couple of undesirable natives appear to have picked up the scent of her sodden panties and are desperate to catch a glimpse.

Given that they’re seated behind Eva, she has her legs firmly crossed, and isn’t clutching a hand mirror, I’m not altogether sure what they hope to achieve. But the most important thing is that we have set the tone for the next 88 minutes.

If there was any doubt, then one look at the other holidaymakers sharing their hotel should offer a fair clue as to where things are headed. First up we have fashion photographer Josè (Joffrey Soares) and his models Belinda (Susan Hahn) and Monica (Gloria Cristal), neither of whom are quite so prudish when it comes to the upskirt. Moreover, they both appear to be suffering from a severe allergy to linen, which I’d imagine has something to do with the brand of fabric softener they use.

Also in attendance are grizzled war veteran Capt. John Heinz (Milton Rodríguez) and his ball and chain Betty (Marta Anderson), who curiously resembles Marilyn Monroe after a six-month stint on crystal meth. Bickering is their strong suit and something they do extraordinarily well. Something tells me that, should Betty find herself up to her turkey neck in quicksand any time soon and in desperate need of a hand, then Johnny’s enthusiastic round of applause would echo all the way to Peru as his wilted wife sinks without trace like phlegm in a teacup. Which reminds me, anyone for a cuppa?

No time for that right now as you’ll never guess whose crate of dinosaur bones just dropped off the back of the banana truck. Like Pedro, Kevin Hall (our poster boy Sopkiw) also has an interest in paleontology and is keen to hook up with his mentor and send an offer his way that he couldn’t possibly refuse. He heads straight to the professor’s chamber, only to find Eva taking a nice soapy naked scrub down with the bathroom door gaping wide and the old coot in the very next room for additional wrong points.

Kevin’s barometer is set to fine and he hasn’t the vaguest idea where to point it. Actually scrap that, Kevin knows precisely where to point it as he’s used to traversing thick undergrowth and Eva’s sporting something of a dense lady thicket.

Never mind that shenanigans, there are a pair of greased-up hoons waiting patiently in the tavern for a good old-fashioned bar room brawl and it would be positively uncouth for a seasoned brawler like Kevin not to humor them. The tables have been set, stunt bottles positioned, and with the fighting prowess of Allan Quartermain to fall back on, Kevin couldn’t possibly lose this bout, could he?

You’re darn tooting he could but, to his eternal credit, at least he takes his thorough pummeling with a shit-eating grin on his face. Better yet, the aroma of man sweat has managed to attract one of Josè’s slags and there’s one bone that didn’t shatter during the unfortunate banana truck incident plus 206 of hers to rattle.

Regrettably, Kevin’s luck is about to run out as he has unwittingly wrangled a seat alongside his fellow tourists; on a charter flight set to leave for the infamous Dinosaur Valley come dawn’s early light. While this may appear a distinct positive for a bone man such as he, we all know it’s going to end in some kind of elaborate plane crash, for effect you understand. Let’s hope it’s a doozy.

It’s certainly something, I’ll give Tarantini that and, in the history of botched aviation, I’m not entirely convinced I’ve ever witnessed such bladder threatening wreckage. Should you have had the guilty pleasure of either Gary Nelson’s Allan Quartermain & The Lost City of Gold or Lucio Fulci’s Manhattan Baby, then you should already be aware that flight can’t be achieved without strings. If birds and bats can’t achieve altitude by themselves, then what hope does a model airplane have, really?

However, inside the felled vessel, shit is getting very much real, very much arriba. Now that the numbers have been trimmed of anyone not deemed pivotal to the plot (including one of Josè’s bitches, I’m disgusted to report), it looks like it’ll be left to the rest of us to argue incessantly until which time as the cannibals ambush us and things quite literally go to pot. On the upside, his mentor Pedro has also snuffed it, which means Kevin now has a shot at boning his daughter, without the old fart’s sagging balls suddenly dangling into eyeshot.

And on that note, shall we adjourn? I’m reasonably certain that the pilot shit in his denims when the nose went down and it’s a hot day, that’s all I’m saying. Besides, poor Betty just prolapsed. Tuck it in as best you can dear and let’s get skedaddling shall we? Naturally Captain Johnny should take the lead, given that he’s survived three tours of ‘Nam and all. With his vast jungle expertise to fall back on, we should be back playing soccer on the beach with a coconut by nightfall.

First on the agenda will be getting rid of any excess baggage and it turns out that my earlier quicksand quip was actually a premonition as Betty is currently up to her neck pearls in the stuff. It shouldn’t take any great exertion to haul her sorry ass out of the bog as she is holding quite possibly the tiniest suitcase I’ve ever seen. Whaddya reckon Captain? Do the honorable thing?

There’s no time for such heroics as the rainforest is no place for stilettos and his leadership skills are about to be called into action once again. Belinda’s heels will have to go and what better way for Johnny to grieve his dead wife than by dashing to the aid of a damsel in distress.

Belinda has enough to worry about now without blisters as the her panties are soaked right through and getting moister by the second. Blisters are one thing but a sudden outbreak of Fallopian fungus would be a nightmare right now as there’s no Vagisil in the deepest jungle. If I were you sweetheart, I’d get a little fresh air between your thighs. No immediate rush, please take your time and, if you wouldn’t mind terribly making it sexy, that’d be grand.

I just had a thought. Well, two thoughts if I’m brutally honest, although one isn’t appropriate for printing. We are in Dinosaur Valley right? Is it just me or does the place seem a little light on the dino front? Aside from one gargantuan footprint and a school of murderous piranha, I’ve spotted neither hide nor hair of anything whatsoever Jurassic and I’m starting to suspect this whole tour has been a sham. Perhaps we could ask the local tribespeople for their take. I’m sure they’ll be able to shed some light and maybe they’ll invite us for dinner.

What do you want first? Good news or bad? Good? Okay, so a three course meal is indeed on the menu and there should be ample cuts of breast and thigh to go around. Another distinct positive is that the natives know a sure-fire way to conjure up our prehistoric pals and already have their ceremonial gear on, set to commence. As for downers, well I’m gonna miss you girls.

That’s as far as I can take you I’m afraid as natural light is fading and I’ve got a model plane to help reconstruct. I can tell you this for free however. The cannibals will eventually lose interest in our visitors and our intrepid adventurers will have dodged a poison blow dart or two in the process. However, if Kenny thinks he’s done enough to earn himself a bullwhip, then he’s got another thing coming. You see, a few clicks south, is obstacle number two and, while a visit to the nearby diamond mining camp doesn’t entail having your flesh ripped from the bones or being sacrificed to a T-Rex, it’s a far cry from the Hilton.

Fret not as slave trader China (Andy Silas) and his salacious second in command, Myara (Maria Reis), will ensure that your stay is leisurely. Just to be clear, China can’t be held responsible for molesting any remaining females, although it’s actually Myara you have to watch out for as she appears to prefer her Eves to Steves that one.

I’m sure things will all work out fine and dandy in the end and, should you happen across a Triceratops on your travels, please be sure to send it my regards. I’d love to stay and quietly whip up some relish in the corner but I really must be getting back for our debrief. Toodle pip.

Massacre in Dinosaur Valley is a little like a pile of freshly laid horse manure – it stinks pretty bad but does yield a rather bumper harvest nonetheless. Sopkiw is simply marvelous as the Indy of the piece, exuding effortless charisma and endearing himself to us at every turn. The script, which none other than Dardano Sacchetti had a hand in (but unsurprisingly wished to keep on the down low), is strictly of the Camembert variety and, while your eyes will spend the entire duration perpetually rolling in their sockets at the goofy dialogue, Tarantini could never be accused of being stingey with his buffet.

Whether or not you enjoy your time in Dinosaur Valley depends largely on your feelings towards Italian exploitation and sleaze. If you struggle to suspend disbelief and roll with the cinematic punches, then it’s gonna be a long, hard slog through the reeds and vines. However, should you be able to overlook the slipshod editing, lousy dialogue and diabolical dubbing track, or better yet, embrace these three things, then prepare yourself for a rip-roaring ride quite unlike any other. Now about those dinosaurs I was promised.

Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 6/10

Grue Factor: 3/5

For the Grue-Guzzlers & Pelt-Nuzzlers: You certainly couldn’t fault Massacre in Dinosaur Valley for lacking variety when it comes to the kills. Breasts are slashed, bodies riddled with arrows, and legs gnawed off by ravenous piranha – although it’s mostly fairly middle of the road in the grue department I’m afraid. That said, while there’s precious little tear and share going around, a still beating heart being pulled from a man’s gaping cavity and snacked upon should fend off those tummy rumbles. With regards to skin, I honestly haven’t the faintest clue where to begin but I guess the countless sneaky upskirt shots would be as good a place as any. Eventually the ladies tire of cinematographer Edson Batista’s unrelenting roving lens and strip butt naked instead. If you can’t beat ’em right? 

Read Cannibal Ferox Appraisal
Read Cannibal Holocaust Appraisal
Read The Green Inferno Appraisal
Read Anthropophagus: The Beast Appraisal

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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