1/16/09

Feature Friday: Golden Temple Amazons (1986)

Hey, Hey, and welcome back to the Friday Feature. We've been slogging though the Jungle for two weeks now, and so far we've come up against two tribes of cannibals. Yet as we reach the middle of our trek we hit an oasis of sexploitation. Where groups of nubile, scantily clad female warriors ride horses though the thick jungle foliage. There we are taken along of the journey of a young jungle girl who doesn't know the meaning of the word quit, or exactly what clothes are. So come along as the battle begins against the...

Golden Temple Amazons (1986) starring Analia Ivars, Eva Leon, Stanley Kapoul, and Antonio Mayans. Directed by Alain Payet and Jess Franco. 

When Liana's (Ivars) mother and father are killed by the Amazons of the Golden Temple, she is left orphaned and is raised in the ways of the the jungle by a kindly local tribesman. Eleven years later when a missionary comes to the jungle, he discovers the girl is still alive. The missionary reads to her from her father's diary of encounter with the Amazons. Her father had discovered a great cave of gold beneath the Amazon's temple, and he had stolen away with some of the riches. The Amazon's demand the gold back, and when he would not comply, he was killed.

Liana is incensed, and with her faithful chimp, Rocky, and her witch doctor friend Kou-kou (Kapoul), she sets out into the jungle to find her revenge. They soon come in contact with a group of archaeologists seeking the Golden Temple, and Liana agrees to help them after she sets her eyes on the  salt and pepper bearded Bud (Mayans). Soon the whole lot of them is captured by the Amazons, and at the mercy of Rena, the eye-patched leader of the Amazons, and Uruck, the Amazon's priest/god, they fall prey to torture. Uruck demands a fight to the first blood between Rena and Liana, but what strange fate is in store for Liana? Will she be able to get revenge for her parents and save her friends from the clutches of the Golden Temple Amazons. 

Film Facts

--Jess Franco is an uncredited director on this film, however it features several regulars from his films. 

--Analia Ivars often went by the name Joan Ivars in films. She was also in 1984's Panther Squad with Sybil Danning. She would also work with Franco on 14 films. 

--Stanley Kapoul only appeared in one other film 1987's Maniac Killer. He costarred with Bo Svenson (Inglorious Bastards) and Chuck Conners (The Rifleman).

The Bug Speaks

This is a film that will not get better if I pick it apart bit by bit. There are not layers here, or deeper meaning, or deep characterizations. What's actually contained in this film is fluff, poor action, bad writing. and a metric assload of nudity. That being said, I really enjoyed this film, and it was not all because of the lovely ladies on display. While that certainly did not hurt the films chances, I tried not to let the quantity or quality of some examples inform my opinion. Sadly what I really liked about the movie was the fluff. the poor action, and the bad writing.

The movie is full of questions that are better left unanswered, or better yet unasked, such as why Liana can speak perfect English, why doesn't the missionary give the girl some clothes, why is she avenging her parents who were clearly in the wrong, why are the Amazons in the jungle of Africa so Nordic looking? These are questions that clearly don't matter in this movie. That's what makes this such a good film to pop on when you've got people over so you can mull over such important questions. 

The action sequences in the film are so tame they are less high impact than your typical episode of the Power Rangers. In the interview of Producer Daniel Lesocour of Eurocini included on the disk I watched, he even refers to the film as having become "a kind of family film." Seriously? I mean I know it's France and all, but a family film? Yet strangely it does have some of that feel. The violence is bloodless (although there's a little light rape implied) and the plot and dialog so simplistic that it does have that appeal. This is like someone watched Sheena (1984) and got pissed off at the promise of nudity. 

The whole story is very poor, but the performances of a few of the cast members liven up the proceedings. Ivars is the perfect mix of sexy and innocent as the jungle girl, and now that I know she's a Franco regular, I'll be seeking out more of his films. Stanley Kapoul is extremely entertaining as the witch doctor. Even while getting tortured on the rack his character still manages to toss off one liners. Eva Leon's stern portrayal of Rena brought to mind Ilsa, She Devil of the SS with a much lighter touch. Her moments of sadism play perfectly into the camp sensibility that pervades this film.

This is a flick that never really pretends to be anything beyond what it is. It's a simplistic adventure tale set on the backdrop of anywhere between 1 and 20 topless women being onscreen at all times. I have to be honest, by the last half I barely noticed anymore having already experienced the mass toplessness for 45 minutes. That being said it was a really fun film to watch. While I'm going to give it a 2 to be realistic about it, with a few friends over, a few beers (or what have you), you folks are really going to enjoy this one. 

Bug Rating

No trailer today I'm afraid. Instead here's a little video that shows off many posters and covers to films in Jess Franco's expansive resume. Join us back here next week as we continue our journey into the heart of darkness with Massacre in Dinosaur Valley. 

8 comments:

  1. I do love a good jungle adventure flick- and massacre in dinosaur valley is a real gem, so that ll be good.

    Quick little question on this.

    I get that this is probably not a great film but if I was to play this one as a double bill what would I play this alongside?

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  2. Wow great question Nigel. I have a few possibilities. Zardoz with Sean Connery might make for a strange combination of people with not enough clothes on ever.

    There is the 1986 flick Amazons , but it's not nearly as good or corny.

    For the best mix though you might want to look at 1987 She Wolves of the Wastelands. More of a Max Max meets Amazon Warriors kind of mix. but its a pretty solid flick full of silliness.

    Like this one it would rate about a 2, however it so so entertaining that like this one, I am certain to go back to it again.

    Hope that answers your question a bit Nigel, and thanks for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thank you.

    Not only a great answer but an inspiring one- I think I may write about zardoz next month for my blog-so if I could track this one down so much the better. She wolves of the wasteland i have not seen but love the classic exploitation title so I am a sucker for that kind of thing.

    Okay then zardoz it is then :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad I could be of help. I look foward to hearing your thoughts on Zardoz.It's all the bare chested Sean Connery you can handle, and then some. That I can promise you.

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  5. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobJanuary 17, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    what i liked most about this reveiw was the way it was peppered with pictures of all the beautiful gorgeous sexy young girls from the movie in various states of undress, perhaps you could make this a regular occurance from now on, what i mean is it would be nice to see lots of pictures of beautiful gorgeous sexy young girls peppering every reveiw in the future, (irrespective of whether or not the film under reveiw actually has any beautiful gorgeous sexy young girls in it or not).

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  6. Hi Lb,

    I tried zardoz years ago but jumped in mid movie- not the best way. I do mean to get a copy of this. But me and a friend started watching together online. Fucking hell mate, what a movie! watched the first hour but had to go to bed. That film was immense. Great mate!

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  7. Snob- Glad you enjoyed the eye candy that went along with the GTA review. I will surely take your advice under consideration.

    Nigel- I'm glad you're giving Zardoz another chance. It is a great and truly bizarre little film, especially coming from the directing hand of John Boorman (Excalibur, Point Blank).

    I always find that film amusing because I saw it the first time in the 80's on network TV when I was at my Grandmother's house. A few years back when I tracked it down to see it again I couldn't believe it was just on regular TV and surely did not remember the content that was in it. Glad you're down with it.

    I'd also like to say this is a very British comments section and as a great fan of Britain in general, I could not be more happy about it.

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  8. This onw is somewhere in my Netflix Queue. . . :-)

    Nice Review!

    ReplyDelete

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