Cannibal Women in the avacado jungle of death DVDDirector: J.D. Athens
Screenplay: J.D. Athens
Starring: Shannon Tweed, Adrienne Barbeau, Karen Mistal and Bill Maher
Year: 1988
Country: USA
Running Time: 85 mins
BBFC Classification: 15

Dr Hunt (played by the ever sexy Shannon Tweed) is approached by government ‘grey’ men to work on their behalf and make contact with a tribe of dangerous Amazonians, affectionately known as the Piranha women, who have been decimating their crack troops sent in to safeguard the avocado harvest, or something like that! At first she’s reluctant to get involved and then, at the mention of an old mentor’s name, another feminist who’s gone missing, she decides she will go on the mission.

After recruiting a scatty bimbo called Bunny and a clumsy mercenary who she once had a one night stand with (lucky man!), she heads off into the Californian jungle to try and persuade this ferocious tribe to relocate and take residence in government sponsored condos in Malibu.

After being attacked by a hippo (which we don’t see) and having a close encounter with a tribe of men who co-exist with the cannibal women by being more feminine than them, our merry little missionaries finally make contact with the Piranha women and, more importantly their leader, who turns out to be Dr Kurtz, the feminist who our heroine is really looking for.

Suffice to say things don’t go too well with Dr Hunt struggling to convince Kurtz to give up her rather masculine menu of spare ribs, while poor Jim gets pushed into a big pot to marinade with some assorted vegetables and spices. As for Bunny, well she decides she wants to be a cannibal woman because she likes their dress code!

As you can tell by this brief synopsis Cannibal Women doesn’t take itself seriously at all and riffs on a range of other more superior movies such as The Princess Bride, Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone and even 2001: A Space Odyssey. While it tries to emulate those respected films it actually comes closer to matching the standards of Carry on Up the Jungle! Having said that I’m a big fan of the Carry-On films and quite enjoyed this comedy adventure yarn despite its many short-comings.

Cannibal Women in the avacado jungle of death

Its gag hit rate, for example, is pretty high with some genuinely funny lines and sight gags littering its cheesy way. The bit in the bar where Jim tries to convince the good doctor that he’s her man is pretty amusing and there’s a nice line of banter between these mismatched characters throughout. Another enjoyable scene has Dr Hunt agree to join the Piranha women, but saying that in deference to their customs she doesn’t mind having sex with her would-be sacrifice, but she won’t kill him, to which Dr Kurtz (played well by the lovely Adrienne Barbeau) replies: “You can’t have your cake and not eat it”!

The characters are likeable in a goofy way and Ms Tweed and Karen Mistal, who plays Bunny, are both very easy on the eye, as are plenty of the assorted Amazonians!

What tends to let the film down is the pacing, which slows down too much at the ‘Donahue’ camp, and the lack of budget; although this does look pretty decent compared with some Full Moon productions. It’s pretty obvious that a lot of the film is set on the edges of some Californian golfing range rather than in the deep jungle and some of the costumes look pretty cheap.

Carl Dante’s score feels like it should be accompanying another much bigger budgeted film and is amusingly bombastic even during some of the less action filled scenes. The acting is pretty average, although I did enjoy the performances. Plus you can’t really hate a film with a ‘python wrangler’ in the credits! Although I do wish film makers would stop trying to make out that Boa Constrictors are rattlesnakes…

All in all this is an enjoyable slice of jungle-clad hokum, and is a pleasant enough way to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Reviewer: Justin Richards

Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by 88 Films as part of their ‘Grindhouse’ collection. The special features on the disc include a fun trailer for the film and the usual Full Moon trailer park with a selection of film trailers from the Full Moon stable including a few of the Puppet Master films, Castle Freak, Tourist Trap, Skull Heads, Strippers Vs. Zombies, The Dead Want Women and Stuart Gordon’s version of The Pit and the Pendulum. It’s a pity there were no behind the scenes documentaries as I reckon this would have been a hoot to make.

About The Author

Justin Richards is a journalist by day and a scriptwriter by night. His work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not sitting hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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