Let’s get one thing straight from the start: A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell was NOT Brett Piper‘s title for this film. I’m not even certain what it’s original title was (Dark Fortress, or possibly Lost Fortress, depending on who you are talking to)
The title was slapped onto this film by Troma when they released it. Along with a lengthy voice over (in a squeaky bimbo voice which doesn’t sound at all like Linda Corwin, who plays the leopard-skin clad lead) which sets this film in the post-Apocalyptic ruins of Tromaville and somehow ties in that terrible title, it takes clips from five different films to cram this film into the Troma universe.
Mind you, it’s a little hard to believe that the sinister castle in the film was built and allowed to fall into its ruined state within the main character’s lifetime, or that she would be completely unfamiliar with everyday items from the present.
Now Troma routinely buys other films and releases them under their own name. Some, like Rock N’Roll Space Patrol are (shudder) worse than their usual offerings, others are actually reasonably good, like There’s Nothing Out There – or at least, like Sick Sock Monsters From Outer Space, strange enough to make them interesting! They don’t seem to have bothered shoe-horning Troma into any of the other films I’ve seen, so I really don’t know why they did so here. Perhaps because they could.
Now, ironically, this one is probably Brett’s best known film. It is also the one that stirred up a huge controversy when Troma put it up on Hulu for free (mostly because of that title!). And, despite being surprisingly popular (both online and in sales), it has also received some of their worst reviews.
The reasons for that last one are fairly obvious: this really isn’t a Troma sort of film. Instead, I would compare it to Hammer’s One Million Years B.C. Supposedly, a distributor told Brett he wanted films without much dialogue but lots of action for the foreign language market — but when he saw the final product he said he couldn’t sell it because there wasn’t any dialogue!
Unlike films like One Million Years B.C., however, what dialogue there is is in English, not in grunts and imaginary language. Nor, thankfully, do we have the Shell tribe and the Stone tribe. Although I suppose that would have taken a bigger cast than Brett seems to have had for this one (Linda Corwin actually doubles as one of the lizard men!) But that still means we have a film which mostly consists of people doing things, with little explanation of what’s going on. Which means a lot of walking around. And running. And looking at things. And sort of standing around. So there are quite a few fairly slow stretches between the interesting bits. As these do not include any sex and only the briefest flash of bare breasts, you can imagine that the typical Troma fan isn’t likely to be happy with this one.
Instead, the interesting bits include some of Brett’s signature stop motion creatures, mutants, lizard men and other assorted creatures, and a marvelous skull castle where the bad guy lives. The costumes, masks and production design are all excellent, as we expect from a Brett Piper film; the monsters are impressive, even if not as plentiful as in some of his films…
And it’s still slow.
It would be six years before he would direct another film, They Bite, which is a lot sillier than this one, and yes, a lot more fun, even if it doesn’t have as much stop motion in it.
Oh, well. It is an interesting film, even if it isn’t one of Brett’s better efforts. It’s worth a look.
Particularly because Troma still has it available for free.
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