Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DVD Review: Skin Eating Jungle Vampires (2011)

I am very pleased to put up the first in a series of guest DVD reviews from none other than Christopher Kahler of THE 42 STREET DRIVE-IN podcast. I would hope your familiar with the podcast, it's definitely one of the most entertaining cult and exploitation podcast going right now, and that's a fact. The show is hosted by Chris and Shawn Hunt with a steady parade of awesome guest hosts that have included repeat appearances from Vaughn from MOTION PICTURE MASSACRE, Patrick from SCREAM QUEENZ, and El Goro from TALK WITHOUT RHYTHM among others. Their recent 10th episode was a bonus sized Dusk Til Dawn show covering Amando de Ossorio's  BLIND DEAD movie series. So check out the podcast, subscribe through iTunes and enjoy the review: http://www.wix.com/42ndstdrivein/the-42nd-street-drive-in


Label: Chemical Burn Entertainment
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Rating: Not Rated
Duration: 80 mins
Video: 1.33:1Fullframe
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Director: Timothy Green Beckley
Cast: Carla Anderson, Violet Sweet, Persephone, Jenifer D. Jackson, Linda Martinez, Soozee, and Mellissa
Tagline: First Class Exploitation Film in Every Bite

There are good movies, bad movies, and then there are the "so-bad-it's-good" movies whose guilty pleasure viewing over a beer on a Friday night is a class all it's own. Something titled 'Skin Eating Jungle Vampires' screams that kind of weekend entertainment to me and I was looking forward to this review. Unfortunately, after viewing it, a new category of "why was this even made and released ?" came to mind.

The majority of this movie is compiled from 4 different sources: 1) Someone's house and backyard where the "jungle vampire" scenes take place 2) The lead actress's vacation footage from Costa Rica 3) Wild life footage from a National Geographic type series 4) Still photos of outer space where a plastic toy UFO is moved across to show interstellar space travel (I am not making this up). If any 2 of these worked together at any time, the movie might've been a bit of fun, but it felt like I was watching 4 bad movies consecutively.

The movie opens with a series of beautiful footage of Costa Rica and it's wildlife. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to their layout since some shots are at sundown while others are midday. The only thing certain is this footage was pulled from a VHS tape because the tracking static on the bottom of the screen. Suddenly a Betty Page looking girl stumbles out through the plant life that looks nothing like any of the Costa Rica vegetation. (I should also point out this footage has a particular blur along the screen edges common from zooming in while using a wide angle lens and is going to be the plot footage that was actually shot to tie the movie together). The girl has some plastic toy she dials and is immediately set upon by a pack of 5 savage women (all of whom look like they are from a local burlesque show by their outfits, haircuts, tattoos, etc). They attack her by pinning her down, spanking her, and generally pawing at her. It sounds sexy, doesn't it ? It's not. The attackers are dubbed in with lion growls, take turns mugging for the camera, and unintentionally giggle before carrying away their "victim".

The title sequence explains that Mr. Creepo and his band of women had to escape their doomed planet of Clitoria (complete with a plastic toy UFO !) and they crashed into the jungles of earth where they became vampires. We're treated to some of the women rubbing blood on each other and rehashed footage of them mugging for the camera with added video fx straight out of an 80's music video.

Next is 2 of the most painful minutes of improv to suddenly explain the entire plot of any movie. A blond woman (Carla) explains to a friend that her sister Tiffany (the Bettie Page girl) had a stalker, is now missing in Costa Rica, they have a psychic bond, they have matching tattoos, her mother's maid is Costa Rican, the maid's friend there is a shaman, she got some weird mask art from Costa Rica, and her plane leaves tomorrow to find Tiffany. I apologize for the bad run on sentence structure, but it still flowed better than the actual dialogue. Carla now sleeps on the plane where we see flashback footage of her and Tiffany comparing their tattoos.

We are now in beautiful Costa Rica where most of the footage actually shot there has a dark curve around the corners from an inexpensive wide angle lens. Carla gets a mysterious note explaining there is danger so she takes a dip in the pool, frolics along the beach, enjoys the view, and sunbathes. Most people would consider this vacation footage, but that is not the case here (supposedly) as Carla's voice over narration explains her thoughts and this is all done while looking for Tiffany. Oddly, Tiffany's inner thoughts sound like they were recorded on an answering machine from a missed telephone call.

There is a lot of driving footage filler to establish her in Costa Rica (which is broken up with a flashback of her sister in a cheerleader uniform sans bra) before she ascends a hill in the jungle. The next shot, she walks up to a house that is quite obviously where the stateside footage was done (thanks to the recycling bins in the yard). This is the shaman's home because a sign that says "shaman" is hanging on the wall. Another of the burlesque women answers wearing a Xena costume and another painful scene of improv ensues.

Meanwhile, back at the volcano where Tiffany is being held captive, the vampire queen roughs her up, then communicates to her via telepathy (and bad dubbing) that she will be a sacrifice. Carla has some drinks back at her hotel, Mr Creepo sneaks into her room to put an obviously fake snake in her bed, and the next day it's a lot more of the same driving/ vacation/ answering machine voice over nonsense for the next 40 minutes. A few National Geographic wildlife shots or the "vampires" are inserted to attempt to break up the monotony to no avail.

Carla manages to get to the volcano and is captured as well. The Clitorians force her into some sort of bloody incestuous get together with Tiffany and Mr Creepo arrives to announce telepathically that he is the God of The Underworld, Lord of Darkness, Last of The Males from The Planet Clitoria, etc, etc, ad nauseum and will choose one of the sisters to be his bride. Why he doesn't repopulate with any of the Clitorian women isn't explained and thinking it would be was wishful thinking on my part since nothing in this movie makes sense (ie "why am I still watching this ?"). He chooses both and a floating Mexican Dias de Los Muertos mask appears to announces more nonsense about sacrificing the 2 virgins to put their plan into effect. The sisters break out into laughter since neither are virgins. The volcano erupts, the sisters escape, and Mr Creepo's UFO flies past some outer space stills. The End. Seriously. That was the whole damn movie.

DVD Special Features:

Behind The Scenes Outtakes - Mostly footage of the Clitorians women that was a lot more fun than the actual movie itself.

Blood, Blood, and More Blood! - A trailer reel of Mr Creepo has lot of shots of naked women covered in blood with outlandish movie titles. This ends with 2 women taking a shower together while squirting a blood on each other from a hospital IV bag.

Verdict: I'll be honest - this movie is a disaster on every level and I won't recommend it. Had 'Skin Eating Jungle Vampires' stuck with the Clitorians and National Geographic footage, it would likely pass as some hokey fun I'd expect from the title. Even the cheesy David 'The Rock' Nelson like UFO sequences would be tolerable at that rate. However, I got no joy from watching the mass amount of badly shot vacation footage and using it with slapped on voice overs to try to convince me this was the actual movie is just an insult. I know this was done to try to add some production value, but it was all just padding that made an already bad movie completely unwatchable. Why this movie got a re-release after it's initial 2001 run is beyond me. 0 of 5 stars