A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell – Movie Review
New York’s Troma Studios has been a a revolutionary force in the movie industry for almost 40 years. Fiercely independent, they remain America’s oldest non-Union non-Hollywood affiliated film company that has maintained an instantly-recognizible brand identity second only to Disney. A big part of their longevity has been always remaining at the forefront of new technology. They were the FIRST movie studio to have a website, the FIRST movie studio to max out the potential of DVDs (which included fully interactive studio tours, commentaries and extensive trivia games as early as 1997) and have maintained a loyalty and direct communication with their audience that countless upstarts have failed to duplicate. 2010 marks another milestone for them as they’ve become the first entity to come under a tidal wave of controversy for hosting their films on Hulu, namely the astounding success of a film named A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell.
Leave it to Troma to have a movie named A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell in the headline of every major blog and news outlet 20 years after it was released. I first discovered Troma with my late best friend Matt Amundsen in 8th grade and, to make a long story short, we became completely enamored with the brand. From the logo to the always infectious VHS introductions from Troma President Lloyd Kaufman to just the flat out absurdity of every film they released, we felt like we were more than just movie fans, we were part of a movement. This was 2000 when the video industry was going through its final boom period so the two of us would go through the phone book to find every video store we could in efforts to see everything Troma put out. Not a weekend would go by without call-and-response answering machine messages of “Chaz, the Video Update in St. Anthony has Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.,” “Matt, the Hollywood Video in Hiltop has Rabid Grannies,” “Chaz, the Mr. Movies in Stillwater has Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator,” “Matt, Movies-to-Go Video has Video Demons Do Psychotown” etc. The look on our parents’ faces when they overheard the answering machine messages, or those of my teachers in high school when I would bring up movies like Surf Nazis Must Die, Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell and Curse of the Cannibal Confederates as part of a discussion in class were arguably as entertaining as the films themselves.
For a company that thrives predominately on word-of-mouth, having film titles that bear repeating is a tremendous asset. Despite my own feelings on the film, I even named the most popular post in the history of this site after Troma’s Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid. It’s that quotability that has most likely played a big part in A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell’s success. With Hulu basically being a Youtube run by the major networks and film studios, they’ve found a modern-media compromise by offering their content for a limited time with inserted commercial interruptions. While most companies have uploaded content for only two-to-five weeks, Troma has uploaded the bulk of their catalog’s most popular titles and left them online infinitely for everyone (18+) to see. As a result, tags such as “Sex” and “Nudity” have accumulated on the applicable films and A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell has become the site’s third most popular film WITHOUT A SINGLE DOLLAR SPENT ON ADVERTISING!
Troma’s promotion of their catalog has always been the stuff of legends, but this is incredible. A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell was filmed in 1990 under the title Lost Fortress. Troma acquired the rights to it in ’91, used outtakes from FIVE of their other films to make an additional opening scene* and changed the title to A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell. Since then, the film has been one of the studio’s most known pickups. It’s been translated into several languages and made a splash in any market it’s ever been released in despite the overwhelming negative opinion of the film shared by just about everyone, including director Brett Piper whose 1998 DVD commentary where he ruthlessly vivisects his own film has become an industry in-joke and hallmark of the medium.
The most recent public flogging of A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell came from Slate Magazine’s Chadwick Wilson’s article A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell: Hulu’s Mega-Popular Movie about Child-Molestation. where the author took the film’s trailer tagline “The Prehistoric Meets the Prepubescent” all too literally and “deconstructs” the film as a Jurassic child rape fantasy. As a product of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts myself, I’m all too familiar with the chastising a film for “othering through the masculine gaze of capitalism within the feminine mystique” and how it is largely an excuse for unwashed ugly lonely people to prove how much smarter they are than you. Here, he grabs for whatever straws he can with such language as “the age and sexuality of the lead actress seems deliberately ambiguous” when, to those of us watching the film, she’s CLEARLY in her 20s. This and bits of the films actual content are sprinkled into only about two paragraphs with the bulk of the article expressing outrage that the film not only exists without public protest, but the audacity of Hulu to even let this film be broadcast.
Realistically, all Chadwick has succeeded in proving is that Troma’s films, including A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell are going to be around forever. While most movies have value solely in what happens from credits-to-credits, A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell has amassed a legacy. It’s a film where very little happens (some great stop-motion animation giant-creature fight scenes in-between what seems like hours of sweaty cloth-laden humans running around with no real legitimate purpose. It’s basically Burning Man with Dinosaurs) but much has been said. It’s a strange piece of cult lore. Even at age 14 when I saw the film’s Amazon.com page full of universally bad reviews, even by Troma standards, I had to order it. I didn’t like the film then, I don’t like it now, but that doesn’t really matter as it’s named A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell and I’m thrilled that it exists. Even in 2010 where every video store Matt and I used to frequent has gone the way of the dinosaur (and nymphoid barbarian) it brings a smile to my face that there’s a whole new generation of teenagers out there saying “Guess what? Hulu has Star Worms II: Attack of the Pleasure Pods,” “Man, you gotta see Fatty Drives the Bus” and “Hey, you wanna come over tonight and watch A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell?” It’s from Troma…of course.
We give A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell a Two Out of Five.
Until next time…let’s agree to agree!
*The only one in the film worth watching.
Tags: barbarians, catchphrase, dinosaurs, first amendment, focus on the family, hulu, independent film, lloyd kaufman, Movie Reviews, nudity, nymphoid, prehistoric, prepubescent, sex, slate, stop motion animation, toxic avenger, tromaYou can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.