Monday, March 16, 2009

Manic Monday Apocalypso: Cannibal Women In The Avocado Jungle Of Death

This little known camp gem is the story of a--well, I'm not exactly sure, really, that it's post-apocalyptic. All I know is that somehow, the Avocado Jungle has sprung up between San Bernardino and the Arizona border, it's the only source of the apparently vital avocado crop in the US, and a hyper-feminist group of cannibals known as the Piranha Women are refusing to let the precious fruit (vegetable?) be harvested.

This is a profoundly ridiculous movie, part Apocalypse Now, part Indiana Jones, and a kind of kissing cousin to the Richard Chamberlain/Sharon Stone camp spoof Alan Quartermain and The Lost City of Gold.

Adrienne Barbeau (hi, Troop!) is Dr. Kurtz, leader of the feminists, while Shannon Tweed heads a crew consisting of Karen Mistal Waldron and--I'm not making this up--Bill Maher. There's some very good chemistry between Barbeau and Tweed, and Karen Waldron is surprisingly good as the dumb blonde. (I mean that seriously, she looks like a bimbo, but she has good comic timing.)

Obviously, this isn't Citizen Kane, but I laughed like an idiot. ("Like" he says.)

Actually, Bill Maher is the weak link in this, which surprised me at the time I saw it because I was a big fan of his. But the reason the movie works to the extent it does is because everyone is playing it straight, like a ZAZ movie, and Maher can't stop smirking. That aspect of it is painful to watch.

You definitely have to have a taste for this style of camp, which was really huge in the low-budget direct-to-video '80s, but if you do, it's one of the better ones. (And if you are, you should also check out Nice Girls Don't Explode from the same era.)


  1. It's funny that I feel much more tolerance for the silliness of films like this than I do the seriousness of more serious films. Bad comedy just makes me shake my head and 'oh well,' but bad seriousness makes more pissed off!

  2. Really? I kind of have the opposite response. It's painful to watch bad comedy where bad drama is usually pretty funny.

    But perhaps we're talking a different kind of "bad". There are certainly some dramas that piss me off.

  3. Well, yes, it is true that bad drama produces giggles! Maybe for comedy I mean 'Bad' as opposed to bad! :)

    Comedy has an amazing litmus test: Do I laugh watching it?

    I don't really laugh much watching say, Some Like It Hot. I howl laughing at His Girl Friday.

  4. Joe M-- Biological fruit, sure...but culinary fruit? (cf. tomatoes) Although I suppose it doesn't matter in this context; I thought about that for a full five minutes while writing this.

    Ron--OMG, I am so the same way! I've sort of come to think that Wilder's comedies were really over-rated. But, yes, as to the litmus test. Then, if you can watch it over and over again and still smile and laugh, that's a gem, no matter how "bad".

    I only have one other criteria, which is how I feel afterward.

  5. A full five minutes writing this, meaning the post. I could hear The Flower saying "It's a fruit, it has a pit" the whole time.

  6. BTW, I'm a big Ginger Rogers fan, and I've always regretted she turned down His Girl Friday. Admittedly so did practically every other actress in town, forcing Hawks to 'make nice' with Roz Russell. (who was great!) Ginger also turned Hawks down for Ball of Fire, another mistake...

    c'est la vie!

  7. Ron--OMG, I am so the same way! I've sort of come to think that Wilder's comedies were really over-rated.

    Same here, guys. I have never, never understood why SLIH always tops the critics' "Funniest Movies" list. But then, I don't really find the whole "Men Dressed As Women" phenomenon to be funny at all. It's always the opposite, and it's way overdone.

    **Although there were some good moments on "Busom Buddies."

  8. But then, I don't really find the whole "Men Dressed As Women" phenomenon to be funny at all.

    Thank you, Knox! It's depressing that the AFI thought the 2nd funniest comedy was Tootsie!

    To me, the humor in drag used to depend on sexual tension; but what woman now dresses in the way drag queens used to? Wear a feather boa lately? When everyone wears less formal (and gender role defined?) clothing, drag loses it's ability to be funny.

    It's not like we still don't have gender differences in clothing, but I would guess it's a lot less severe than earlier generations...


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