Monday, February 15, 2010

Dinosaur Valley Girls (1996)

Directed by Donald F GlutStarring Jeff Rector, Denise Ames, Karen Black


Don Glut was one the original "monster kids", that noble breed of American youth who grew up during the country's golden age of pop culture in the 1950's and 1960's, when rock n' roll, UFOs, drive-ins and monster-mashes held sway over the nation's collective imagination, and you could survive an atomic bomb blast by simply hiding under your desk. Glut began his film-making career in his own backyard, making super 8 monster movies with his friends and a handful of rubber masks. He also played in a garage rock band, wrote comic books and fanzines and children's television shows, helped create the Masters of the Universe toyline, wrote the novelization for Empire Strikes Back, and the list goes on. Suffice to say, Donald F Glut is a very accomplished gentleman.

It was inevitable that Glut would eventually graduate from home-movies to fully-fledged film productions, and after dipping his toes into directing with a couple documentaries - including, fittingly enough, one on dinosaur movies - he wrote and directed Dinosaur Valley Girls, a light-hearted, lightweight homage to fur bikini romps like One Million Years BC (1966) and Eegah (1962).

The awesomely named Jeff Rector (Doctor Hackenstein) stars as the Bruce Campbell-esque B-movie hero Tony Markham. Markham has it all -fame, money, women - but he is haunted nightly by visions of a rampaging dinosaur and the prehistoric beauty said dino plans on chomping.

One day, halfway through an interview with a cynical local reporter, Markham visits a paleontological museum on a hunch. A frail-lookling William "Blacula" Marshall (RIP) runs the joint.

He shows Markham some cave drawings, and after some mumbo jumbo, Markham ends up time-travelling to Dinosaur Vallley,where he meets the girl in his dreams, Hea-Thor (pretty Denise Ames) and her fur-bikini clad tribe.

Karen Black, of all people, pops up as Ro-Kell, the matriarch of the girl-tribe. Although it's a tad alarming to see this legendary actress hamming it up with plastic bones and spouting cave-people gibberish, her then 57-year old gams and heaving bosoms still looked delightfully tasty. So that was something.

Anyway, there's a warring male tribe and a (puppet) dinosaur to battle. There's also a sex scene and a music video and some decent gratuitous cave-boob. Mostly, however, there's people shouting "Ooga Booga" or whatever and thrusting plastic-tipped spears at one another on rickety backyard sets. And that's pretty much it.

There's not enough monstery bullshit for this to qualify as a creature feature. Nor is there enough skin to lump it with some of Glut's latter day eroti-horror romps. And it would be way too generous to call it a comedy. So what is Dinosaur Valley Girls, really? Well, it's a headache, mostly. But it does have a couple of ace tunes - by Glut himself - two wonderfully weird celebrity cameos, and half a dozen pairs of bouncy cavegirl boobs.

Is that enough for the 94 minute investment?

Sure. If you're planning on living forever. Otherwise, I'd stick with Glut's recent Mummy/Dracula/hot chicks mashups. Like Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood, for example.

And a "Tukka, tukka" to y'all.

Availability: Glut's own label, Frontline, has recently released a two-disc, extras-packed edition of Dinosaur Valley Girls. If you're going to get it, that's the one to get.

-Ken McIntyre

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