“Sometimes my juices start to flow and I feel like a nymphoid barbarian in dinosaur hell!”
Continuing its tendency to pick the trashiest of movies – I do actually own a number of decent films, honest – the latest Movie Lottery draw spewed out what is, to date, the greatest title of the bunch, even better than They Saved Hitler’s Brain, and the current worst-rated film of the bunch. This movie’s name is the only reason why I bought it – 50p for a second-hand double feature, this and the less impressively titled Graduation Day. It just goes to show that you can’t judge a film by its name.
A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell is a Troma release (the company behind The Toxic Avenger and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead) starring cult favourite (according to the trailer) Linda Corwin as Lea, the nymphoid barbarian. Her career starts and ends with this movie, though as a bonus, she also gets to play Secondary Reptilian Goon. In a short voice-over introduction, Lea informs us that after a day-long apocalypse, Earth was plunged into a futuristic prehistoric nightmare, and she became… a nymphoid barbarian in dinosaur hell! A selection of scenes taken directly out of the rest of the movie provide some spectacle during this speech – Lea biting off the ear of a male barbarian with evil intentions, a stop motion dinosaur, some mutants – then the narrative starts in earnest.
A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell is a predominantly dialogue-free film, in the same style as One Million Years BC (1966) although, while Corwin is attractive in an athletic, nubile way, she’s no Raquel Welch – the trailer boasts that this is where “the prehistoric meets the prepubescent” and it is true that Corwin looks young and fragile, without an ounce of body fat on her tiny frame, encased only in a loose-fitting stone age bikini. After her childish voice-over, she barely utters a word – the first thirty minutes pass by virtually silent. The plot is simplistic to the extreme: Lea and her boyfriend Marn (Paul Guzzi, who also plays a Secondary Reptilian Goon) wander around, encounter some reptilian mutants, get separated, and find each other again. It is important to point out that at no point does Lea display any nymphoid tendencies.
A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell is Troma’s version of a Roger Corman, AIP-produced caveman movie, with a healthy dash of Ray Harryhausen effects. The dinosaurs, when they appear, are exactly like the stop-motion legend’s work – slightly jerky, back-projected, unrealistic but tangible. These are definitely the film’s highlights, more so than Corwin’s gawky frame and awkward movements, the squealing reptile minions, and even the Old Man spouting Lewis Carroll poetry on the beach.
Director Brett Piper achieves a strange thing – A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell feels utterly like a cheap, poorly produced 70s exploitation film, from the nubile young lead with her disco hair, to the washed out lighting and dull location shoots (Burlington, Massachusetts), to the shoddy effects, rubber swamp monsters and stop-motion beasts. Rated 18, today it would barely scrape a 15 rating – there’s one brief topless shot in the film’s final showdown, some violence towards the nymphoid barbarian, and the occasional stab wound, with some glimpses of sticky, gloopy red stuff, but it’s all rather tame compared to what’s on screen today. It’s a film Al Adamson (Horror of the Blood Monsters) would be proud of.
A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell is tongue-in-cheek; not a spoof, but fully aware of its own limitations. After eighty minutes of roaming the wilderness, Marn’s final gesture – a shrug of the shoulders – sums it up perfectly. It is stupid, but vaguely entertaining, a perfect homage but hardly a good film. Still though – what a great title. I’ll say it one more time: A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell!