Eighty Eight Films simply love resurrecting these sexy slices of schlock with a near paragraph for a title don’t they? I had loads of fun with the Scream Queen outing at a certain ‘Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama’ recently, so this month I cleaned the ketchup off my faithful machete and headed off to the jungle! With a sultry image of Shannon Tweed on the front cover, I was almost tempted to leave my map and compass back at home...

The movie starts with the US government in somewhat of a pickle. It seems their main source of importing delicious avocados is seriously under threat. A ruthless female tribe, appropriately dubbed the Piranha Women, currently occupy the avocado jungle and legend has it that they have a penchant for consuming any male imposters along with their secret recipe guacamole dip.

But any notion of the tribes’ ladies delicacy being a mere myth is soon positively destroyed. It transpires that the US military operation that had previously been sent into the tropical forest endeavouring to infiltrate the man devouring clan could only produce one result – a handful of guacamole stained dog tags. It appears the militia were somewhat unsuccessful!

It’s time for a new approach and feminist anthropologist Dr Margo Hunt (Tweed) is recruited to negotiate with the tribe in an attempt to entice them to new luxurious dwellings in Malibu. Initially, Hunt is less than willing, but when it is revealed her favourite author, Dr Kurtz, who penned the feminist bible "Smart Women, Stupid Insensitive Men" has been missing in action when given a similar mission, she is in!

Hunt is reluctant to take along one of her students, Bunny (Karen Mistal) who, although enthusiastic about the mission, has a persona severely at odds with the feminist ethos. But upon hearing Bunny get an invite to the local wet t-shirt competition, Hunt relents and decides the hostile jungle may be a safer place after all!

To complicate matters further, Hunt and Bunny are joined by the chauvinistic guide, Jim (Bill Maher – he used to host the TV show ‘Politically Incorrect’ in case you were wondering). His enquiries as to whether Hunt is "on her period" when she doesn’t reciprocate his lustful advances kind of give you a hint of his outlook on the fairer sex!

They surge into the jungle but are not prepared for what they find. It seems Dr Kurtz (Adrienne Barbeau) is alive and well but the new leader of the Piranha Women. "Insensitive Stupid Men" are now low on her agenda as her tribe take on the some local rivals in a territorial dispute. The crux of the disagreement revolves around Kurtz’s group favouring ‘guacamole dip’ while their adversaries ludicrously opt for a ‘crab’ version!

So when Bunny considers joining the Piranha tribe (at the expense of having to eat Jim!) Hunt has to think fast. How will her feminist morals hold up when caught in the middle of an uncivil war?

Regardless of the synopsis, the title alone is enough to disclose that this was always intended as a fun outing. I must confess, however, to being a little weary when I saw the ‘12’ BBFC rating. This was quickly diffused though when the opening frames had a few voluptuous and topless breasts glistening in the jungle sunshine. They let 12 year olds look at boobs these days??? Well I suppose teenagers can stream hardcore porn direct to their mobile phones so what’s the harm?

Anyway back to the movie! This really was a very entertaining and, considering its ludicrous title, surprisingly clever picture. Although the humour is not in anyway vulgar it is obviously geared toward adults. Bar a few slapstick moments, the wit is laced with satire with a hint of parody thrown in for good measure, while the sexual references are merely subtle innuendos.

The movie was made back in 1989 and, although mainly concerned with the male vs. female agenda, takes many a swipe at American "Talkshow" culture from that era. From the self-righteousness of Phil Donahue to mindless drivel featured in shows like David Letterman, the movie takes no prisoners. Great credit has to go to writer and director J.D. Athens whose script and direction is constantly sharp throughout.

Tweed herself looks effortlessly gorgeous throughout, some feat considering the haughty personality of her character, and her performance largely resists hamming it up too much. Her restraint in this respect allows Maher and Mistal to go for the jugular so to speak which helps create a very watchable balance between our three diverse protagonists.

With a straight to video movie, whose strength is clearly in the dialogue, it would be understandable if the print used was not up to standard. Judging by certain reviews of a previous digital release of this movie it would seem a VHS quality source was indeed used. But 88 Films definitely appear to stay true to their claim of presenting "Classic Movies Treated with Respect". I found the 1.33:1 print used on their disc to be more then acceptable. Admittedly the picture does seem to have a soft focus, almost hazy look to it throughout, but it is consistent and really doesn’t spoil the fun.

With such rapid jokes peppering the dialogue, the sound needed to be clearly audible. The Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack didn’t pose any problems in the respect and the speech was distinct and perceptible throughout.

The disc is rather threadbare when it came to the Extras with Full Moon satisfied to simply supply their customary "Trailer Park" of previews from their wares. "PUPPET MASTER, PIT AND THE PENDULUM and the aforementioned SORORITY BABES clips are among the 10 trailers supplied.

So while this is not the most erotic outing for Gene Simmons’ better half, it is quite possibly one of her most entertaining. Anyone with a penchant for 1980’s B-Movies that wishes to upgrade that washed out video cassette, 88 Films DVD is a sure fire winner.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by 88 Films
Region 2
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review