Thursday, January 17, 2013

Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (Michele Massimo Tarantini, 1985)

As I sit down to type words pertaining to my impromptu screening of Massacre in Dinosaur Valley, the Brazil-set jungle adventure film directed by an Italian, Michele Massimo Tarantini of Women in Fury fame, and starring an American, Michael something, the word "upskirt" is bouncing around inside my head like a superball. The reason being, I want to make sure that I remember it as I go forward with the word typing. It plays, as you will soon find out, a vital role when it comes to the film's overall distribution of enjoyment and other enjoyment-related products. You're joking, right? How could anyone forget to mention the word "upskirt"? I know, you'll probably come across millions of essays and dissertations that tackle this film that don't even bother to mention the film's flagrant upskirt abuse. But you have to remember, the people who wrote those articles are not normal. I, on the other hand, ooze normalcy. And not only that, I am able to spot upskirt abuse with my eyes closed. Upskirt abuse: What is it? And how does one spot it? Well, the former is easy, as it simply refers to the view you get when you look up a woman's skirt, or a man's skirt, or a skirt on a transwoman, for that matter (everyone wears skirts nowadays). Hence, the slapping together of the words "up," meaning something that is up as supposed to down, and "skirt," which is, to quote Lattis from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, a kind of "inverted cloth funnel." Okay, that solves the upskirt part of the equation. But what about the abuse? When does that occur? Discounting videos that are designed to cater directly to the upskirt community, I'd say upskirt abuse occurs somewhere around the third upskirt. Just the third? I thought you were gonna say, oh, something like, the sixth or the seventh. Oh, no. No, No, No. One upskirt is just that, one upskirt. Enjoy the view. Two upskirts is, well, that's probably an accident (or an "upskirtccident" as it isn't called). When you spot the third upskirt, you know something is up (no pun intended).
Somewhere out there a deeply flummoxed Michael Sopkiw (the American I alluded to earlier) is probably wondering to himself: Why on earth is this guy talking so much about upskirts? I mean, I wield a shotgun and have sex with Brazilian women, and not even in that order. Patience, Mr. Sopkiw, patience. I'll get to you in a moment. And besides, can't you see that I'm trying to make a point (one that could be viewed as salient) about the amount of upskirt abuse that takes place in this film.
Okay, where was I? Oh, yes. Something is definitely up when you spot a third upskirt. I'm curious, actually, I'm dying to know, how many upskirts are in Massacre in Dinosaur Valley? Are you sitting down? Oh, and before you sit down, make sure to cross your legs. You wouldn't want some pervert to catch a glimpse of your freshly laundered panties, now would you? But seriously, are you sitting down? All right, I counted a total of eleven upskirts. Eleven?!? You heard me, eleven. It's not even funny. Eleven. Are you sure about that? Let me see, one, two, three, four...yep, eleven.
How many upskirt shots does Star Wars have? I'll tell you how many: Zero. Okay. And how many upskirt shots does Massacre in Dinosaur Valley have? Say it with me: eleven. Yeah, but Princess Leia wears a gold bikini in the Return of the Jedi. Really? Well, how 'bout this, eleven.
Someone who, surprisingly, doesn't have a single upskirt moment in this film is Suzane Carvalho, the lead actress from Michele Massimo Tarantini's Women in Fury. Why's that? It's a simple matter of physics, really? Yeah, but you're a complete dumbass who knows nothing about physics. That's true. I am a dumbass. But I'm smart enough to know that even the most resourceful pervert is going to have trouble getting the upward view he or she desires when the subject's legs are in a post-crossed state. Sure, you could wait for them to be un-crossed. But look at you, you're sitting behind the subject. How are you supposed to get a glimpse of her panties from that angle? You can't. Unless you have partner who is willing to hold a mirror, you're not seeing any panties on this day.
Anyway, Eva Ibañez (the name of Suzane's character), the daughter of famed paleontologist Pedro Ibañez (Leonidas Bayer), who is sitting next to her on a hot, overcrowded bus traveling through rural Brazil, is minding her own business, when, all of a sudden, she notices that two passengers sitting behind her are scoping her legs, which, like I said, are firmly crossed. Realizing that they won't be catching a sneak of peek at her soaking wet crotch, thanks to her employment of the leg cross method of sitting and their overall proximity, she lets out a sly smirk.
Arriving at the hotel with her box intact, Eva and her father eventually go to their room. They would have had separate rooms were it not for Robbie (Roberto Roney), a fashion photographer, and his models Belinda (Susan Hahn), a vision in a blue dress, and the sultry Monica (Gloria Cristal), who ended up taking one of their rooms (they had reserved two rooms). Also arriving at the hotel is Kevin Hall (Michael Sopkiw), an American bone hunter (he collects dinosaur bones), who shows up on the back of a banana truck.
Who else is in this movie? Oh, yeah, a bickering couple, Betty Heinz (Marta Anderson, Bare Behind Bars), who looks like a demented Marilyn Monroe impersonator, and Captain Johnny (Milton Rodríguez), a grizzled veteran of the Second Indochina War, who we meet at a cock fight. A cock fight? Don't tell me, both birds die horrible deaths. Actually, the birds seemed fine. On the whole, I was surprised by the lack of animal cruelty in this film. Kudos to Mr. Tarantini for not killing animals in order to tell his story.
Hey, man, not killing animals is great and all, but what about those upskirts you were talking about earlier? Oh yeah, the upskirts. Well, five or six upskirts occur during a fashion shoot by the side of the road. Wow, five or six. In just one scene? That's right. Though, technically, you're going to have to watch the deleted scenes to see one of the film's best upskirt shots. It involves the gorgeous Susan Hahn–but then again, ninety percent of film's upskirt moments involve Susan Hahn–getting into the car, and it's a thing of beauty. I don't usually watch deleted scenes, but something compelled me to do so in this case. At any rate, a flurry of upskirts take place during the roadside photo shoot, as local models dressed a tribespeople poke at Belinda (black panties) and Monica (white panties) with their spears. And in doing so, create a...yep, flurry of upskirts (which amounts to something like, oh, let's say, five separate upskirts).
Upskirt six belongs to Monica. Now this is her last upskirt, so make sure you take the time to enjoy it. The situation surrounding its implementation is actually quite comical, as a drunk (Paul Sky) at the aforementioned cock fight grabs the bottom of Monica's dress and proceeds to lift it up with an untoward hiking motion. Taking exception with this bit of public molestation (the drunk is slobbering all over her miracle of Brazilian booty engineering), Kevin Hall steps in and throws the drunk into some tables. Only problem being, his decision to take exception with the drunk's lewd conduct has caused the drunk's musclebound brothers (Paolo Pacelli and Norton Kays) to take exception with Kevin's exception. Don't feel sorry for Kevin, though. Sure, the drunk's musclebound brothers beat the crap out of him, but was their misguided heroism rewarded with sexual intercourse with a Brazilian model at the end of the day? I don't think so.
As a result of machinations I don't feel like getting into, Kevin, Captain Johnny, Betty, Robbie, Belinda, Monica, Eva Ibañez, Professor Pedro, and their French pilot all hop abroad a plane to a remote corner of the jungle. Okay, I understand why Kevin and Professor Pedro want to go to "Dinosaur Valley," but why are the rest of them going? How 'bout this: Who gives a shit? That works for me. Crammed into the small plane like a bunch of sardines, the travelers busy themselves with various activities: Kevin eats a banana, Belinda and Monica brush their hair, and Eva and Betty exchange nasty looks.
Suddenly, the plane hits a patch of turbulence and starts to hurl toward the earth. As the dinky aircraft bounces around in the sky, so do the passengers. And no one more so than Belinda, who steps up to the upskirt plate to knock upskirt #7 and upskirt #8 out of the park (wee, I just used a baseball metaphor, woo-hoo! yay!). Struggling to remain in her seat, Belinda thrashes about like a rag doll, and in doing so, gives us two peeks up her light peach dress.
After they crash land, the survivors debate whether or not to stay with the plane. Having served three tours in 'Nam, Captain Johnny announces that he's in command, and that they're leaving. Trekking through the jungle to sound of techno pop, the survivors follow Captain Johnny, who says he's leading them to a river (don't blink or you might just miss upskirt #8 - Belinda flashes some internal skirt material while walking over a giant log). I'm telling you, this Johnny fella doesn't know what he's talking about it. I mean...Quiet. It looks like Belinda is having trouble with her shoes. Yes! It would seem that her heels are slowing her down. Say what you will about Captain Johnny's leadership skills, he sure knows how to cobble on the fly.
Sitting her down on a log, Captain Johnny grabs Belinda's shoe and proceeds to slice off the heel with his trusty machete.
Instructing her to take off her other shoe (it only makes sense to alter both of them), Belinda lifts up her leg and slips it off her foot. In doing so, she sets in motion the events that will lead to upskirt #10.
The sight of her white panties pressing tightly against her sweaty undercarriage causes Captain Johnny temporarily lose focus on the task at hand. Noticing that Johnny is starting to lose focus, Betty says, "Enjoying the view, Johnny boy?" Oh, that Betty. Her emasculation skills are first-rate.
After cutting her heels down to size, the group continue through the jungle, where they come across a bunch of heads on sticks, encounter snakes, leaches and piranhas, and engage in an epic power struggle; well, Kevin and Johnny engage in an epic power struggle, the rest just sort of watch from the sidelines.
Saving the best for last, upskirt eleven, that's right, eleven, occurs when the group comes across a pool of fresh water. Diving into the water with a reckless form of abandon, the survivors splash around for awhile before eventually taking a much needed rest. Uninterested in decorum, Belinda sits in a manner that allows the world to see how her panties are holding up. And by "world," I mean Johnny, who gets a second dose of Belinda's succulent drawers (lucky bastard).
Was I sad when Belinda was finally forced to remove her weatherbeaten light peach dress and her put through the ringer white panties? You could say that. However, I thought Susan Hahn's innate gorgeousness, no matter what she was, or, in most cases, wasn't wearing, managed to shine through the humid haze that is Massacre in Dinosaur Valley. Reminding me of Naomi Watts, Susan Hahn must have been a real trooper, as she is captured, re-captured, groped by a frizzy-haired lesbian, chased through the jungle, rescued by Michael Sopkiw (a shotgun wielding badass if I ever saw one), almost sacrificed to a dinosaur god, shot at by a slave trader with a beer gut (Andy Silas), and has her panties are leered at multiple times by a piggish Vietnam vet, and, not to mention, Carlito (Jonas Dalbecchi), a tubby fuck who drives the models to and from their photo shoots. Speaking of Carlito, make sure to check out the aforementioned deleted scenes on the Shriek Show DVD, as they help flesh out the characters, especially Carlito, a little more.


  1. "Directed by Michael E. Lemick"

    Oh, I don't think so.

  2. Dude, I was like, "Hey, that chick in the first picture looks like Naomi Watts!" :D

    dissent is watching the Fright Night remake. It's quite terrible. The Roddy McDowall character is now played by David Tennant, who is doing a really bad impression of Russell Brand.

    Did you see the AV Club's write-up on Pump Up the Volume?

  3. @ido: 90% of movies I watch nowadays were made by people who use fake names.

    @K.A.: Susan Hahn is the Brazilian Naomi Watts. Actually, I'm not sure if she's even from Brazil. Either way, all I have to do watch Cheech and Chong's Sill Smokin' (Hahn is credited as "Hotel Maid") and I will have watched, according to IMDb, all of Susan Hahn's movies. But don't worry, I ain't watching it. :D

    I did, however, reluctantly watch the Fright Night remake. :(

    Say "Hey" to dissent for me.

    I just did. No mention of Samantha Mathis' striped tights and it takes a slight dig at Some Kind of Wonderful. Uncool, man. ;)

  4. @yum-yum: that trailer kind of shows the entire film, too. To bad they were filming this on such a low budget. Otherwise, they could have had some dinosaurs.

  5. Yeah, that trailer is pretty ridiculous when it comes to revealing the entire movie; sorry about that.

  6. nicely done with the Negativland "time zones" reference!