DirectorMichele Massimo Tarantini
Release Date(s)1985 (September 29, 2020)
Studio(s)Doral Film/DMV Distribuzione (Severin Films)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: B-
A mixture of several different genres, including action, adventure, horror, sex comedy, and cannibal movie, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley is all over the map in terms of what it wants to do, but to the betterment of the experience of watching it. Michele Massimo Tarantini, who is known mostly for his series of Italian sex comedies, helmed the project with Michael Sopkiw (Devil Fish and 2019: After the Fall of New York) in the lead. Loaded with heaping amounts of nudity and viscera, hilarious dialogue, and characters that are nothing more than over the top caricatures bouncing from one event to the next with little to no regard for pace or rationality, Massacre in Dinosaur Valley is sleazy all the way to its core. In other words, it’s a hoot.
Arriving in Brazil, a paleontologist and his beautiful daughter are keen to head into the nearby jungle to look for fossils. Showing up not long after is the young and headstrong paleontologist Kevin Hall (Sopkiw) who also wants to join the expedition, which includes an army veteran with a chip on his shoulder, his alcoholic wife, an eager photographer, and two female models. They charter a plane to the titular valley but wind up crashing, forcing them to try and find a safe way out of the jungle instead. After Hall and the army veteran clash with each other, the group is descended upon by natives who want to kill and devour them. Even if they somehow manage to survive, there’s also an encampment nearby that’s excavating precious jewels using slave labor. While avoiding all of this and trying to escape to safety, the group is picked off one by one.
Severin Films brings Massacre in Dinosaur Valley to Blu-ray for the first time in the US utilizing a new transfer that has been “scanned uncut in 4K from the original negative.” While there’s mild instability during the opening titles, the rest of the presentation is mostly clean and organic aside from periodic speckling. Grain isn’t all that tight, but it never appears overly chunky or intrusive. Detail is high with good contrast. The color palette, leaning heavily on jungle greens and browns with occasional bursts of red, is also ideal. Skin tones waver a tad, but they’re natural for the most part. Blacks are never all that solid, likely due to the encode, but they lack any overt crush.
The audio is presented in English and Italian 2.0 mono DTS-HD with optional subtitles in English SDH for the English audio and English for the Italian audio. Both tracks exhibit the same behavior when it comes to the dubbing, which is loose against the film. The Italian track is slightly louder overall, but on both tracks, the dialogue is clear and precise. Meanwhile, the rock and roll score and sound effects are pumped through with relative ease. There’s nothing dynamic about either track, but they represent their film well.
The following extras are also included:
- Valley Boy: Michael Sopkiw Remembers an Italian Classic (HD – 23:11)
- Lost in Brazil (HD – 14:17)
- Deleted and Extended Scenes Reel: English (HD – 9:27)
- Deleted and Extended Scenes Reel: Italian (HD – 9:27)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD – 1:57)
- Italian Credits (HD – 3:36)
In Valley Boy, former actor Michael Sopkiw goes over his early life and how he became a model and an actor, starring in four Italian productions before quitting and doing other things with his career. He speaks about what it was like to make the film and which of the films he was in that he appreciates the most. In Lost in Brazil, the film’s uncredited co-writer Dardano Sacchetti talks about how he got involved with the project and what it was like working with Michele Massimo Tarantini. All of the deleted scenes are silent. They take place before everyone gets to the jungle, meaning that there’s no extra gore or nudity to be seen.
It should be noted that a few previous releases of the film contain extras that didn’t carry over. The original DVD release from Media Blasters/Shriek Show features an introduction, interview, and an audio commentary with actor Michael Sopkiw, as well as an interview with Michele Massimo Tarantini, and a set of production stills. The UK Region B Blu-ray release from 88 Films features the featurette Location, Location, Cannibalization: Dr. Calum Waddel on Cannibalizing Cultures. And the German Region B Blu-ray release from XT Video features a shorter version of the film, the Italian trailer, and an additional still gallery.
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley does a lot with very little, managing to be entertaining despite itself. It was also the last film that Michael Sopkiw ever appeared in as he was under contract to only work on four films. More’s the pity as he is a dashing and handsome leading man that could have had more success had he chosen to stick with it. Regardless, Severin Films’ release offers a fine presentation and entertaining extras, worthy of a deep-seated genre fan’s time and money.
- Tim Salmons