Pure Terror: Terror in the Jungle

December 20, 2014 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Another thing that will annoy the average viewer of the Pure Terror box set is how many of the movies aren’t horror movies. Arguably, the best movie on the set is Hands of Steel and that is an action movie. Today’s movie, Terror in the Jungle, is a jungle adventure movie. It seems a bit anachronistic. Jungle Adventure movies hit their peak in the 30’s and fell out of favor by the early 50’s. Terror in the Jungle was made in 1968. It’s like someone took a 30 year old first draft of a script and rushed it into production.

Henry Jr is put on a plane to Brazil to see his mom by Henry Sr. On the plane is a group of very odd characters. One of them is a rock band who are meant to be The Beatles but are more like the Monkees. They play a song for us, then the plane crashes in the jungle. The low budget effects of the plane crash resemble an episode of Thunderbirds more than anything. They really didn’t have the money or skill to execute on their vision of this movie. At first you might think this movie is a precursor to 70’s disaster movies like Airport ’77 or it will turn into something like Alive, a cannibal movie from around the same period of time. They set up all these characters in a fashion that is reminiscent of those movies. But no. What happens is everyone either dies in the crash or get eaten by alligators in the jungle, except for Henry Jr and his stuff tiger.

Henry Jr gets found by a tribe of natives while Henry Sr plans a rescue mission. The tribe see Henry Jr’s blonde hair and worship him as an avatar of God. Some of the tribe don’t believe he is a God and want to sacrifice him. After a very long time, the tribe members corner Henry Jr with Henry Sr only meters away. The stuff tiger comes to life and saves him from sacrifice. The Henry’s leave the jungle unharmed.

If not for the pacing, this would be a well known bad movie. There are so many stretches where nothing happens, it really makes Terror in the Jungle a tough watch. The actor they got to play Henry Jr seemed to not know what was going on. Clearly he was somebodies kid that they desperately wanted to be in this movie but he really has no kind of acting ability what so ever. They rely heavily on stock footage of animals to communicate the dangers of the jungle. It’s edited and shot in a way that makes the actors seem to be in a different universe than the stock footage. Stock footage never seems to work out well for movies no matter how it is used. The story could be told in about 15 minutes but they pad this movie out with a whole lot of nothing. The natives were written with the kind of racist respect that was outdated even in the 60’s. The Indians on F-Troop would blush. The low budget effects are worth more than a couple laughs. They couldn’t have live animals attack actors, obviously, so they shot around it in a way that Ed Wood would be proud of.

Terror in the Jungle is fun for bad movie fans but no one else. Even bad movie fans will have a hard time slogging through the padding of this movie. I really have to wonder why this movie was made. At some point someone on set must have realized the little kid they had cast as their star couldn’t act. In fact, he seemed lost and confused in a way that suggested he really didn’t want to be there. I feel bad for him. Certainly, when they shot actors being “eaten” by alligators in a swimming pool, someone must have thought this just wasn’t going to plan. And who read the script and realized there wasn’t enough material to justify a full length movie? But they pressed forward anyway and the result was a disaster.

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Entry filed under: Action. Tags: , , , , .

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