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A team of researchers travel into the African jungle to study the mysterious disappearance of elephants in the area. Instead they discover a tribe of voodoo-zombies who rise from the ground, capture the women, whip them and slice their heads off on an altar. The women return as vampires who look for more women to kill. Written by
OK, this is not a good film. But I think it is somewhat underrated, while the director Amando Ossorio's more famous "blind dead" series is somewhat overrated (especially the last two). Instead of undead Teutonic knights, in this film we have a tribe of living voodoo-practicing Africans. Of course, voodoo sacrifices have been practiced historically in places on the "dark continent", but this bunch are little more than cartoon stereotypes (all they need is a big pot to cook people in). I suppose it doesn't help that the tribe exclusively captures white women, whips all their clothes off, rapes them (at least in one case), and then decapitates them--which somehow causes them to become undead "panther women", prowling half-naked through the jungle in slow motion (and WITH their heads). But is this the only film of the 1970's to portray black Africans as "primitive", or to play on the illicit thrills of interracial sexuality? Hardly. All those who call this racist and/or sexist really need to see more European exploitation films of that era. This is actually pretty weak tea.
It's also a very typical low-budget Spanish horror film--short on a logic, long on atmosphere, extremely confusing but with a generous helpings of nudity and violence (at least in export prints). It's certainly more incompetent than Ossorio's best films, but I'd put it on the level of a mediocre Paul Naschy flick, and it has the same scruffy charm as a lot of those. There's also a couple of recognizable actors among the European characters who come to a bad end at the hands of the African voodoo cultists and "panther women", including Jess Franco regular Jack Taylor, as the expedition leader, and the slinky and sexy cubana Kali Hansa as the "half-breed". It's out on DVD now and is worth a rental, if maybe not a purchase, for fans of Spanish horror.
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