Terror in the Jungle (1968)

Oh God! What have I gotten myself into? Where do I even begin with this one? The acting is horrible. The dialogue is terrible. The music is awful. The plot, well there isn’t an adjective suitable to describe the plot, so I’ll just say this movie is plain bad.

We begin our journey into madness with little Henry, a 7-year-old boy going on a trip to see his mother in Rio. This child, Jimmy Angle, God love him, is the worst actor in a sea of bad acting. Unfortunately, we are subjected to his constant, dubbed wailing throughout the entire picture. I feel bad for the kid though. They put him in some legitimately precarious situations, and a number of times the poor thing is manhandled roughly. Those tears are real. Kid must’ve been terrified during the entire shoot. He’s a long way from home, he’s being poked and prodded by strangers, having his arms nearly ripped out of their sockets, and being dropped into rivers and ponds. I’d be crying too. Henry goes through the wringer in this film, but fortunately and weirdly, comes out nary a scratch.

tiger-01
I feel ya, kid.

Henry and his stuffed tiger boards the plane, sans father because he just couldn’t be bothered I guess. Boarding with him is a colorful cast of characters: an actress struggling to find good work, a woman that probably killed her husband, a group of bad Beatles knock-offs, and some nuns carrying the casket of a fellow nun that has passed away. Is this starting to sound a little like Airplane! yet? It will soon. As the plane takes off, a message appears onscreen telling the audience that the movie was filmed in the Jivaros Regions of the Amazon Jungles of Peru, and the film crew wishes to thank the Government of Peru. Normally this is something you’d see before or after a film, not within the film itself.

On the flight, some time is spent developing the characters. The actress speaks to a man about her career troubles, and there seems to be a romance kindling. The woman that probably killed her husband laments to a nun about everyone accusing her of killing her husband. Suddenly, there is an impromptu music performance from the Beatles knock-offs, Actress Lady dances provocatively down the aisle, strangely pleasing one of the nuns. It gets weirder.

Just after the bad music video, the plane hits a storm. One of the pilots asks the passengers to pitch any luggage, they are willing to part with, out the plane. Not really sure a little overhead luggage will improve the drag, but that doesn’t stop the pilot from opening the freaking door. But don’t worry, it doesn’t depressurize the cabin. Everyone is safe, all except a nun that falls out the door. Good plan, opening the door of a plane at 30,000 feet in the air. Like I alluded to, this film gets as much wrong about planes unintentionally as Airplane! did intentionally. Opening that door and pitching the luggage along with a nun solved exactly zero problems, because now the plane has run out of fuel on top of everything else. These people can’t catch a break. The plane crashes into the Amazon river. Most of the passengers die. Of course, Henry is completely unscathed. The remaining passengers jump into the river. They are all eaten by alligators, except for the miracle child Henry that is sent down the river in the casket of the dead nun. Anybody still on the plane perished when the plane exploded. So, yeah. All that time spent developing those characters was a complete waste of time. We aren’t even halfway through this POS movie yet.

crash-goingdown
Reaction of the audience after seeing this movie.

I’ll spare you by just breezing over the rest of the film because apart from some random asides, everything with Henry are the only parts that matter. Henry is captured by an Incan tribe. Because of his blond hair, he is basically declared the son of their god. One tribesman is not so impressed with blondie and convinces the king that the kid needs to be sacrificed. Before the sacrifice, a civil war breaks out, and with the help of a woman the kid escapes. The Incan that wants to sacrifice Henry pursues him, and just as he is about to kill him, Henry’s stuffed Tiger transforms into a living, breathing. . . Leopard? Okay. The leopard kills the Incan, and the miracle Jesus boy survives yet another brush with death with minimal to no scratches. The boy’s father finally finds him, and there is some message about how God works in mysterious ways.

I just don’t know what else to say about this movie. One of the doomed airplane passengers said, “If there is anything worse than pornography, it’s badly written pornography.” I’ve seen badly written pornography. This is worse. I only recommend watching this film if you hate yourself.

 

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