Saturday, April 30, 2022

Perawan Rimba (1983)

... aka: Jungle Girl
... aka: Jungleritualer (Jungle Rituals)
... aka: Jungle Virgin Force
... aka: Jungle Virgin Force - Le assassine nude di Giacarta (Jungle Virgin Force: The Nude Killer of Jakarta)

Directed by:
Danu Umbara

Vine-swinging jungle gal Jelita (Lydia Kandou) lives so deep in the jungle (on some uncharted island in between Australia and New Guinea) that she's never made contact with any other tribe, let alone any civilized man. All she's had is her pet monkey to keep her company. That finally changes when she sees a half-dozen young women from another tribe bathing topless under a waterfall and saves them from a crocodile attack by leaping into the water and stabbing it to death. The thankful women befriend her and then take her back to their tribe. The tribe's queen decides that since Jelita is in possession of a glowing talisman (the "symbol of holy powers") that proves she was sent their by the Gods. The queen (Rita Zahara) attempts to make her their new ruler and protector, but a faction of detractors led by evil high priest / witch doctor H.I.M. Damsyik, decide to overthrow them. During a fight filled with plenty of stabbings and spearings, many of the tribes people get killed and the queen is stabbed and thrown over a cliff. Jelita however manages to escape back into the jungle.

Meanwhile in Jakarta, a group of college anthropology students; Haydar (Harry Capri), Larasati (Esther Sumampouw), the hot tempered John (Torro Margens) and comic relief Mat Solar (Mat Solar), plus journalist and photographer Maya (Nena Rosier), are organizing an expedition to the island. Even though their professor (Hadisyam Tahax) has already tried to discourage them from going (after all, it's located in the "triangle of death" and only a handful of explorers who've dared gone there have returned), he agree to help them with maps and such, so long as they don't tell anyone about the island's location or attempt to take a treasure that's rumored to be hidden there. The professor also hooks them up with a guide: A hunter named Bunyan (Alwi A.S.), who's spent years searching the jungles looking for his daughter, who's been missing since a plane crash there years earlier. I'm sure you already know who THAT is...

John's lover rats him out to an unscrupulous group of criminals headed by Doris (Enny Beatrice) and her blonde, FILA shirt-sporting sidekick Piet, who have also heard about the treasure. She and her men head on over to the professor's place to get the details and end up killing him, but Larasati gets hold of the map and runs off with it. A brawl ensues and then a car chase, which finds one of the cars crashing through a horse drawn buggy wedding caravan (!) and then blowing their car up. The students manage to catch their plane and fly off. They first make a pit stop at another island to meet up with Bunyan. From there, it's a long boat ride to the uncharted island, where they're immediately greeted by dangerous water rapids, crocodiles, snakes, tigers and, of course, the evil tribe. Doris, Piet and their group, who've paid off the pilot friend of the students to bring them there, show up soon after.

After everyone has arrived, the evil tribe start capturing and killing everyone off. After falling into some rapids and into the tribe's clutches, Larasati is tied upside down on a "torture pole," has her stomach sliced open and is then decapitated with an axe. There's also death by spear, boulder, arrow, shards of rock, someone falling into a pit of spikes, arms chopped off, a native woman melting down into a pool of what looks like strawberry jam and much more. One guy is shot with a laser, ripped apart and becomes the main course for a cannibal feast.

With everyone getting killed left and right, you'd figure the characters would have other things to worry about than their relationships, but no such luck. Jelita discovers that Bunyan is her father right before he dies from a spear wound. He's set plenty of money aside for her and his last wishes are for Haydar and company to take her back to civilization so she can get educated and live a normal life. Haydar finds himself falling for Jelita, which doesn't sit too well with Maya, who's also in love with him. John thinks this leaves an opening for him to put the moves on Maya. However, she's not interested, so he tries to rape her instead. Hoping to exploit this fracture in the group to get the map, Doris tries to seduce Haydar and her men get in good graces with John, whom Doris also tries to seduce, though successfully this time. Despite his earlier transgression, Maya eyes a possible partnership with her attempted rapist. Lots of backstabbing, fist fights and cat fights follow.

While all that's going on, the evil and mostly male black magic / cannibal tribe and a faction of mostly female outcasts splintered off from the original tribe but now under the guidance of a white magic practicing priestess, are at each other's throats. The high priestess and her girls conduct a ritual dance to weird electronic music that concludes with a snake getting its head cut off and a voodoo doll popping out of a bubbling pool of blood. The doll is then used to make the cannibal tribe's "general" (Jeffry Sani) spit out his tongue and fall over dead. And that means all-out war between the two groups, which finds lots of men (many of whom have sprouted large devil horns due to a spell!) and women running around in loincloths and fur bikinis fighting and killing one another. The city folks get involved and nearly everyone is killed either during the fight or when things start blowing up everywhere!

Too much going on? Too many characters? Too many side plots that never really get resolved because they should have never been included here to begin with? Yes, yes and more yes. Thankfully, the rapid pacing, energy and overall weirdness keep you from caring all that much. Putting aside the female Tarzan wannabe and the black magic stuff, this very much resembles one of those 70s / early 80s Italian jungle cannibal flicks at times, which makes perfect sense seeing how they were still churning those out around the same time this was made. There's a very high body count, a wide variety of different kills and lots of blood and gore being flung around, though nothing nearly as gruesome as what can be found in the more extreme examples of this genre. This also lacks the gratuitous nudity (the topless bathing scene is optically censored, leaving only a couple flashes of bare male ass) and real animal killing / torture (though there's a scene where an already-dead goat is butchered) of those films, and tonally comes off as more of a light, silly jungle horror adventure.

IMDb and many other websites currently have this title listed as a 1988 release, though that's clearly not the case. Film Indonesia lists it as a 1982 production and the copyright date is 1983. This was also out on home video in certain countries well before 1988. In 1984, it was given a VHS release in Denmark courtesy of Video International and under the new title Jungleritualer ("Jungle Rituals"), plus there was an 80s era VHS release in Japan by TCC Video. Japan also received an English-language DVD release with Japanese subs, though the print quality is terrible. Actually, per my knowledge ALL of the available prints for this film are bad.

And speaking of terrible quality, this made its inauspicious U. S. debut on Videoasia's Tales of Voodoo: Volume 1 two film set in 2006, where it was paired with the Indonesian women-in-prison film Hell Hole (1983; aka Escape from Hell Hole). In 2014, bootleggers Mutant Sorority Pictures also released a DVD that they claim is "digitally remastered" (not sure about those claims) and which lazily steals the poster for the Eva Arnaz rape-revenge vehicle Barang Terlarang (aka Commando Wild Cat aka I Want to Get Even aka Lady Exterminator aka Violent Killer).


Primitif (1980) [filmed in 1978]

... aka: Apodrasi ap' tous kannivalous (Escape from the Cannibals)
... aka: Death Cry of the Cannibals, The
... aka: Der Todesschrei der Kannibalen (Death Scream of the Cannibals)
... aka: L'île de l'enfer-cannibales (The Island of Hell - Cannibals)
... aka: Primitiv
... aka: Primitives
... aka: Savage Terror

Directed by:
Sisworo Gautama (Putra)

Working on their thesis, college ethnology students Robert (Barry Prima, in one of his very first roles), Rita (Enny Haryono) and Tommy (Johann Mardjono) hire seasoned guide Bisma (Rukman Herman) to take them deep into the Indonesian jungle to visit the Pangayan tribe. The tribe, who are primitive yet friendly to visitors (granted you bring them gifts!), introduce the students to their daily lives, customs and rituals. A village doctor sucks puss directly out of wounds (mmm!) and pops boils with a fire-roasted blade. There's face-painting, ritual dancing and gyrations around a fire, crawling through the mud between native women's legs and, finally, drinking a tasty little concoction made from the village witch doctor's blood. Not content with just that experience and needing something new and "mind blowing" (apparently there's already a lot of research available for the Pangayan tribe), Robert proposes the idea for them to venture even deeper into the jungle so they can meet some "real primitives." Knowing the dangers of the area, Bisma refuses at first, but it's an issue waving a wad of cash in front of his face can easily remedy.

The following morning, the students, their guide and superstitious local Lahang (Jafar Pree York), a former Pangaya tribe member himself, set out on their raft. They unexpectedly hit some rapids and everyone is thrown overboard after their raft breaks apart. Robert, Rita and Lahang manage to make it to shore, but Tommy, who hits his head on a rock, and Bisma are washed far downstream. After some mismatched stock footage of a python eating a Komodo dragon, a search for the missing two members of the group on land uncovers an abandoned, ravaged camp belonging to a professor and his colleagues, who all disappeared there a year earlier. Seeing how night is fast approaching, Robert, Rita and Lahang camp out there for the night. Meanwhile, Tommy (who has a head and leg injury) has reached shore somewhere else. He stumbles upon human skeletal remains and a man's diary detailing his capture and escape from a tribe of nearby cannibals.

Robert, Rita and Lahang make it through the night but are stalked around the jungle by the cannibal tribe as they venture on the following day. After finding a bunch of skeletons and maggoty corpses in a cave, a panicked Lahang runs off and gets killed when he hits a trip wire, which sends a tree branch smashing into his stomach, knocks him into a bunch of wooden spikes and then hangs him upside down. Robert and Rita (whose industrial-strength drawn-on eyebrows, eyeliner and eye shadow manage to stay in place for the entire film) are then captured and dragged back off to the tribe's bat-filled cave home. There, they're tied to a giant rock and natives poke at them, grab them, sniff them, try to eat a necklace, smash a portable radio and start ripping their clothes off. Prima's entire outfit is stripped off save for his black briefs while the well-endowed female star has her long sleeve shirt and pants reduced to a tattered crop top and shorts. Robert is further humiliated whenever he's untied, forced onto all fours and rode around like an animal by naked kids and a fat guy.

Over the next few days, both Robert and Rita face numerous indignities. He's thrown into a cage and gets pissed on by some of the kids. She's kept tied to the rock and almost gets raped by a pervy old tribesman, who promptly gets his genitals smashed with a rock for this transgression. As for dinner, well, I hope they enjoy globs of raw, bloody entrails and decomposing snake filled with maggots and worms! Nom nom. Eventually, Rita gets to join Robert in the cage where they witness such lovely sights as an orangutan getting clubbed over the head with a stone age axe (which is fortunately faked) and alligators being speared in the head, sliced open, gutted and skinned alive (which is unfortunately not).

We occasionally cut back to the jungle to check on the other two guys and random some natives. Bisma is unharmed and hiding out in the trees. Even though he's supposedly this expert survivalist, he runs around in the jungle shooting his rifle into the air and screaming at the top of his lungs ("Come on ouuuuut! I'm not afraid of yaaaa!") Not fairing nearly as well, a delirious and starved Tommy stumbles upon a tree covered in apple-like fruit. He chows down, but the fruit turns out to be poisonous, which causes him to puke up blood and pass out. Amazingly, he does manage to out-survive Bisma, though, after the guide gets eaten by an alligator. After witnessing a native woman giving birth in the woods (she bites through the umbilical cord then licks the bloody baby clean), Tommy follows her back to the cave and tries to help his friends escape.

Though the on-location jungle filming does give this an air of authenticity, other elements are pretty preposterous... and I'm not even talking about opening the film with Kraftwerk's electro-disco classic The Robots, either! The most egregious of its faults, which has some real competition considering there's a heavy stone axe that defies every known law of science by acting as a boomerang (!!), is its silly portrayal of the cannibal tribe. They've all been instructed to ooh, ahh, hoot, holla, grunt and make animal noises, hop up and down like 5-year-old's with some severe hyperactivity disorder, scowl and grit their teeth, bug their eyes out constantly, fight over raw meat scraps and act like demented escapees from some maximum security mental asylum. 

And yet the laughs don't really sit all that well with all of the graphic, real animal slaughter, which includes alligators killing a tiger (more stock footage), snakes getting killed, a live lizard being eaten, scorpions being stomped on and more. There's also a quicksand pit, a mud wrestling match between a native and a constrictor, a "Danger Is My Bussiness" (that's not my spelling) t-shirt, near death water park hallucinations and tons of fish eye lens (and even some accidentally out of focus) shots.

According to the people who worked on it themselves, this was specifically made to try to cash in on the success of several hit Italian cannibal films, which were extremely popular in Asia at the time. It borrows heavily (right down to copying exact scenes) from Deodato's JUNGLE HOLOCAUST (1977), features less nudity and gore than most similar films (though still plenty of each) and is pretty mediocre overall, though far from the worst of this type. Don't forget that Jess Franco (WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN) and Eurociné (CANNIBAL TERROR) also dipped their toes into this particular pool!

Primitif was given one of the widest global releases of any Indonesian genre film of the 70s and 80s. Not including Asian territories, it was released theatrically in Australia and throughout Europe and made its way onto VHS in the UK (a 1981 pre-cert release under the new title Savage Terror; it was later included on the Section 3 Video Nasty list), Mexico, Greece, France, Germany and in many other countries. However, here in the U. S., it doesn't appear to have received any release until 2005 when hack company Videoasia included a lousy VHS quality print of it on their second Tales of Voodoo DVD set, along with Godfrey Ho's Ghost Ninja, a re-title of DIAMOND NINJA FORCE (1988).

Those Videoasia discs can now be tossed into the garbage where they belong since this has recently received the Blu-ray treatment courtesy of Severin. Their release comes with interviews with executive producer Gope T. Samtani and writer Imam Tantowi. English-dubbed (which changes some of the character names) or English subbed versions in its original language are both available.

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