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Ummm. A Jess Franco-movie from the early 80's. So what would you expect? Right: actors incapable of acting, incredibly dumb dialogue and a whole lot of joyful nudity (and downright disgusting sex scenes with totally unattractive guys and girls). Which I regard as absolutely worthwhile and entertaining - but that's just my personal opinion. The story? Story?? oh, well, it's kind of a remake of TARZAN, plus some adventure- and cannibal-stuff. But basically it's about seeing Katja Bienert nude, and it works when it comes down to that. Just realize: she was about 15 or 16 when this film was made, and she was really not very shy. Anyway: go get this one if you're able to find it, but be prepared to feel the urge to throw it in the garbage can once you've seen it. P.S.: This film has been re-issued in 1999 by the german label X-RATED CULT MOVIES, but with a different title: MONDO CANNIBALE 4. Obviously for marketing-reasons. Cause you'd better not expect to watch one of the infamous Euro-Cannibal-flics when you put this in. Franco has done better than this. Katja Bienert has, too. But the jungle has never looked more corny. So ... you get the idea. I like it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An expedition party made up of constantly bickering and obnoxious jerks go trekking into the dangerous African jungle in search of both a fortune in diamonds and a missing young lady named Diana (luscious brunette looker Katja Biernet, clad solely in a skimpy loincloth that shows off a lot of her hot shapely body) who's worshiped as a goddess by a deadly primitive tribe called the Mabutos. Director/screenwriter Jess Franco crucially fails to inject any style or vigor into the generally blah and meandering proceedings, allowing the sluggish pace to crawl along at an often agonizingly slow clip and staging the infrequent action scenes with a singular lack of skill and panache. The lousy dubbing, excess amount of grainy "National Geographic"-like animal stock footage, groovy, jazzy lounge score, terrible acting, talky, uneventful narrative, tepid soft-core sex scenes, and static photography don't help matters any as well. Fortunately, there's plenty of tasty gratuitous nudity on sight to alleviate the tedium to a reasonable extent: Besides the delectable Biernert, both Aline Mess as fierce, wicked high priestess Noba and Mari Carmen Nieto as the conniving, treacherous Lita are likewise real easy on the eyes. The beautiful jungle scenery is very nice, too. But overall this picture sizes up as barely watchable and hence instantly forgettable swill.
Jesus Franco made many bad films, and some of the worst were the ones
he did with the ultra-cheapskate French outfit Eurocine. This is
probably the best of the a bad lot, but it IS a chance to see Franco
regular Katja Beinert in a role that might actually be legal by US
standards (some of his earlier films with her probably pushed even the
much more liberal Continental European age-of-consent laws to the
limit). I doubt this movie will appeal too much to the "barely legal"
crowd though as Bienert seems to have sprung from the womb with a body
that would put any 25-year-old woman to shame, and all she really does
is wander around in nothing but a ridiculously low-riding loincloth for
most of the film.
Biernert plays a female version of Tarzan who is adopted by a tribe of Africans along with her godfather after their plane crashes in the deep jungle. This tribe is so pathetic that they not only worship a teenage white girl as a goddess, but also make her drunken Scottish stereotype of a godfather their "Big White Chief". The one rebellious tribes-member meanwhile is about the same age as Beinert and looks like Lisa Bonet circa 1987. The "plot" begins when some mercenaries looking for the titular diamonds stumble across the barely-legal white jungle girl. They return with some of her relatives who are planning to kill her to get their hands on the inheritance of her sickly, dying mother (Lina Romay, in a highly unusual role given that it was the height of her hardcore porn career). It would have made a lot more sense to pay the mercenaries to just keep quiet, rather than to follow them into the jungle to kill the girl, but, oh well.
There is much less violence than the earlier Franco/Eurocine cannibal films. The only real sex scenes come courtesy of the luscious mistress (Maria Nieto) of one of Bienert's greedy relatives, who gets so turned on after being nearly eaten by stock footage of a crocodile while skinny-dipping that she drags one of the mercenaries (Anthony Mayans) into the weeds for some afternoon delight while Biernert's character curiously watches them. Mayans, playing the most out-of-shape mercenary in cinema history, later also takes a roll in the hay with the jungle girl but off-screen (probably a good thing as there are already WAY too many shots of his flabby ass in this movie).
This is not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a pretty harmless movie (aside from a couple sex scenes and National Geographic-style nudity, it could have gotten a PG rating in America). It has serviceable plot, occasional drama, and a setting that you can sometimes believe is NOT just a European zoo. And it's "Citizen Kane" compared to the other Franco film ("Golden Temple Amazons")it's paired up with in Shriek Show's new "Jungle Girls" box set.
A group of adventurers travel to the 'dark continent' to try and locate
a lost heiress named Diana, who disappeared years before in a plane
crash, and who is now believed to be living with a savage tribe that
consider her to be their goddess.
Once again, my search for sleazy, European cannibal movies has taken me deep into Jess Franco territorya seemingly endless cinematic wilderness swarming with sub-par scriptwriting, crawling with crap camera-work, and abundant with awful acting (Franco regular Lina Romay taking the prize this time for her pitiful performance as an ailing, elderly woman). It is here, in this hellish place, that I finally stumbled upon Diamonds of Kilimanjaro, an abysmal jungle-based exploitationer so stupefyingly bad that it took me three successive evenings to finish watching it.
Tawdry and unrelentingly dull, even by Franco's standards, this wearisome piece of trash fails on almost every level: the story is a dreadfully dull derivative of Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan, albeit with a feminine twist; the film appears to have been filmed in the local botanical gardens, although grainy stock footage is poorly integrated into the film in a pointless effort to convince viewers that the action is really taking place in Africa; and the death scenes are virtually bloodless (Franco can usually be relied upon for some splatter, but despite initial appearances, this isn't a cannibal movie and it isn't that gory).
Where the director does succeed, however, is in his casting of sexy young Katja Bienert as jungle jail-bait Diana. Running and leaping through the undergrowth in nothing but a skimpy loin-cloth, her curvaceous bod belying the fact that she was only sixteen at the time, this nubile beauty makes quite an impression. Franco also throws in some further nudity courtesy of Mari Carmen Nieto as treacherous traveller Lita (who gives us a glimpse of her untamed regions), and Aline Mess as topless warrior woman Noba, thus narrowly avoiding getting yet another rating of 1/10 from me (although I'm sure he'll be receiving plenty more in the futureI have loads of his films yet to see).
I have never had such a mixed reaction to a movie that I had with
Diamonds of Kilimandjaro. In all fairness, there isn't any movie buff
in the world who can make an argument for why this is a good movie.
There is no cinematic merit whatsoever, the editing, cinematography,
and directing are all poor, and the acting and dialogue are
frustrating. Some parts are so slow and drawn out that it's obvious
Franco was trying to lengthen scenes to make a 90 minute movie (this
could have been done in less than 80). Up against that is the doctrine
that as long as there's action, the worse a movie is, the better it
gets. Diamonds of Kilimandjaro treads this line closer than any other
movie I've seen. It's a sex, schlock, and sleaze filled movie (the
three s's to bad movies), intermixed with action, fighting, and
cannibal mayhem (though there is no cannibalism; hell, they never even
say if it's a cannibal tribe). I tried my hardest to hate such an
obviously terrible movie, but I just couldn't. It's another wonder that
everything is so insanely bad that it can make it an entertaining movie
A plane crashes in the African plains (I guess near Kilimanjaro, but it's never expressly stated). The pilot is killed, and the two survivors, an old man and his young relative, Diana, are incorporated into a nearby primitive tribe, who zealously guard a fortune of gems. Years later, treasure hunters Fred and Payton are searching for the legendary treasure when the tribe captures them. Just when they're about to be killed, they're saved by Diana, who is now 18 (played by the 16 year-old and insanely beautiful Katja Bienert) and is the tribe's white goddess. They do leave, but they also tell Diana's mother that they saw her lost daughter. With a group almost as strange as the group in Massacre in Dinosaur Valley, they head out to bring Diana back, and as an extra bonus, find the treasure for themselves. The "cannibals" don't like this intrusion, especially when they had just let them go. Led by a cannibal priestess (played by Aline Mess), a group of warriors systematically hunt down members of the group. Fred does find the tribe, however, when Diana rescues him (and then subsequently has sex with him). She takes him to the village and to her aging godfather. Godfather "Big White Chief" (as he's referred to) tells Fred that they must leave, but Fred doesn't want to go without Diana (or the treasure, one or the other). He sticks around too long, as the group of cannibal assassins begin to catch up with him.
Again, after watching this, I really didn't know what to say or think. I watched the first ten minutes on a separate occasion and thought that it was so ridiculously bad that it wasn't worth my time, but my loyalty to this wacky genre forced me to finish it out. There are some parts that I was so bored I considered turning it off to watch it for another day, but the next minute there was sex and B-movie action covering the screen, and I was helpless but to love it. It's the type of action that a chuckle turns into a laugh as it progressively gets worse and worse. Included are random gun fights, decapitations, and people with their throats slit who had the most hilarious expressions on their dead faces. Scenes of Diana swinging from jungle vines with a Tarzan-like howl nearly had me on the floor laughing (the very sloppy editing of when she lands was equally funny). Also a note of interest (which may be the most entertaining of all) is the Franco standard of nearly pornographic sex that crops up with the lamest excuses to include it (like Mari Nieto just "deciding" to go skinny dipping in a crocodile infested lake). Though Mari Nieto is very beautiful, the main eye candy here is Katja Bienert, who at age 16 made me fall in love based on looks alone. Franco definitely exploited her young body, as she's almost completely buck naked throughout, with that hemp loincloth getting lower and lower every scene.
Yes, this movie is almost perfect as bad entertaining movies go, but there are too many qualms that prevent it from being raised high above the rest. As a result, even those who love trash cinema such as myself may not enjoy it nearly as much as I did (as I've said before, I'm just a sucker for exploitation). The other Franco standard of people haplessly walking through the jungle is included here as well, and these scenes are so slow it's mind-bending as you wait for the "good" stuff to reappear. Also in this array is some stock documentary footage that's very grainy and obviously different from the rest of the movie. Some of the sets look genuine, but others look like they rented out the local arboretum instead of using the real jungle. It's a very bland movie (even some of the funny action is watered down) and is terrible as far as good cannibal films go (though it's not quite a cannibal movie). Very limited gore is present, so don't expect a bloodbath when you go to watch it. Those who have seen Tarantini's Massacre in Dinosaur Valley will probably find this unappealing, as this is no where near the league of bad that Massacre is in. Check it out if your expectations are low and your taste in movies is even lower.
Franco films can be divided into 4 categories- the "earlies" (often black
and white and inventive), the "naughties" (late 1960s/early 1970s often
involving Soledad Miranda), the "nudies" (of various periods, but using
frontal female nudity as plot drive)and "the rest".
This is part of the "rest". It is not really a cannibal movie at all. It is certainly no gorefest. The few women in the picture dont even lose their loin cloths and there is little full frontal stuff at all. The picture quality on the German DVD I watched is poor. The film peters out (insofar as it ever catches fire). As a Franco fan, I would tell others not to bother. Do something else with your time...read a book....get a copy of "Women in Cellblock 9"...anything really...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Champion exploitation director Jess Franco provides another installment
of his brief yet prolific jungle trash series with Diamonds of the
Kilimanjaro AKA The Treasure of the White Goddess AKA a bunch of other
titles. The movie shares a lot with the more notable Devil Hunter,
another Franco flick from around the same era: some of the "native"
music is the same, the cannibal-in-chief is the same actress in both
movies, and the overall confused hodge-podge of half-baked themes is
similar. Of course, there's also Franco's mandatory home-video style
panning and zooming into random things (usually leaves), the totally
inappropriate groovy jazz music, and that distinctive trash element
that marks all of Franco's oeuvre.
Diamonds of Kilimanjaro has a deceptively complex plot, a story so confusing that a reasonable synopsis is impossible. A tribe of English-speaking island aborigines ruled by a drunken Scotsman kill all trespassers who attempt to steal their diamonds, except when convinced otherwise by their Goddess, Diana, a topless teenage white girl. Things get interesting when Diana's mother sends an assortment of bickering bounty hunters to return her daughter to civilization. When not arguing eternally over where they should cross the river, the rescuers develop alternate clandestine plans, including bringing back Diana but stealing the diamonds, not bringing back Diana and stealing the diamonds, murdering Diana and stealing diamonds, marrying Diana and bringing her back with the diamonds, marrying Diana but not bringing her back (forgetting the diamonds), and a few others. Just about everyone dies in the process of figuring this out, sometimes in the nude. At one point Jess Franco answers (again) the rarely asked question of whether it's possible to have a plot twist without having a plot to begin with.
Those who expected a Euro-cannibal fest here should have known better. In fact, anyone who knows Franco and expected something other than what he saw needs to have himself examined. Those seeking the ever-elusive Franco "gem" might be disappointed, as usual, but might find enough cheap thrills and mind-bending confusion to make Diamonds of the Kilimanjaro worthwhile.
Jess Franco makes exploitation films, and he has made tons of them.
Franco is responsible for some of the most shocking films in cinema
history, and god bless him for it. Unfortunately, The Diamonds of
Kilominjaro is a truly awful movie that is not up to his usual
Exploitation films should be judged on story, sex, and gore. What else is there? This film fails on most of those benchmarks. The plot is paper thin, placing a nubile young girl in the jungle among cannibals. We really don't get information on why she and her father were there in the first place. As expected, her father is the "Big White Chief" and she becomes a goddess, sitting in trees, naked. Add fortune hunters and precious stones, and you have your basic rescue the girl for greedy intentions plot line. The characters are stock, not adding an ounce of believability to the proceedings.
Gore? None, or at least very little. This film is often mentioned in the same vein as the classic Italian cannibal movies. Those seeking that type of gore need to run the other way. Save for one cheap be-heading, this movie features surprisingly little blood and guts.
As best I can tell the only reason this movie exists is so Katja Bienert, Aliene Mess, and Mari Carmen Neieto could run around naked. Actually "Lita" (Mari Carmen Neieto) does the full frontal heavy lifting, while the two jungle ladies are bare chested throughout. Yes, there are love scenes....probably the most sterile Franco has ever supervised. The women are beautiful, but nothing here to really make this movie an erotic classic either.
This movie just reeks of low budget buffoonery. The sets are laughable. The acting is horrid, and the editing is confusing. There is no real story to hold this together, and not enough of a budget (or effort) to shock or titillate. I think Franco fans have come to expect more out of the master of exploitation.
Another no budget-shot which is full of the nudity of some quite plain women as well as a not-existing plot and a set decoration that seems to be taken from the botanic garden of a zoo. In other words: Ruggero Deodato´s film looks like the "Citizen Kane" of the cannibal movies, because any acting, storyline, suspense, dramatic, or even cannibalism... are totally missing in Franco´s flick! There´s some animal documentary footage brought on, but the style doesn´t fit to the rest of the film what causes some real laughable impressions! And former German sex starlet Katja Bienert is only ridiculous in the role of Tarzan-like girl Liana, her scream sounds like a drunk gorilla! Don´t be fooled, folks! Even Franco can do it better! Only for those a must-see who think they should have seen all of this director - a lot of work in view of the 176 films Franco shot!!
Jess Franco was a busy man in 1983; directing no less than thirteen films. Even if he was directing non-stop, that still works out at more than one film per month. I can't profess to have seen all of Franco's 1983 films; in fact, I only saw this one and the truly awful Grave of the Living Dead; but on the basis of the two films, I would say that less than a month for writing, filming and producing is about right. The film largely takes place in the jungle and is effectively a remake of the classic Tarzan story, although in this case Tarzan is a woman called Diana. Well...more of a girl, actually, as actress Katja Bienert was just sixteen at the time of filming! The lead actress' age doesn't seem to have put Franco off either, as she spends most of the film topless. To the film's credit, the jungle setting is rather well used; and despite being rather dull, the film at least doesn't descent into absolute boredom in the same way that a lot of films like this one have done. The ending is rather amusing - it's like Franco got so far and realised he'd ran out of film stock so just called for a wrap...though the film does run for over ninety minutes, so perhaps it was intended to end abruptly. Anyway, this film isn't really worth seeing unless you're a die-hard Franco fan.
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