Posted tagged ‘sex’

A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell – Movie Review

April 9, 2010

Yes, this exists

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!

Yes, this is a thing.

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.

A film dramatically improved by its remorseful creator bemoaning it. A must hear.

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.

FUN FACT: Troma made up the work Nymphoid just to creep you out!

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 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!

Watch the entire film by clicking HERE or anywhere else in this sentence.

*The only one in the film worth watching.

The Worst KISS Song of All Time

February 22, 2010


There’s plenty that surprises people about me, but even those closest to me still find it hard to reconcile with my personality that I’m 1) a devout Catholic and 2) both ironically and un-ironically a huge KISS fan. I attribute the latter to their unparalleled live show (which I’ve seen with the original lineup THREE times), setting the standard for artist-and-fan-creating-a-movement marketing and the fact that they seem to be the only group of their genre’s generation to not take themselves so seriously. That was the justification for Halloween ’98 when Chris Rytarchyk, Andrew Zwack, the World Famous Craig Witte* and myself went door-to-door as Kiss to rock and roll all night and eat candy most of the next afternoon.

But the group’s UNINTENTIONAL GREATNESS? Wow-to-the-zers. From their awful “Made”-for-TV sci-fi rock opera KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park to their shamelessly tasteless marketing to feuding KISS tribute bands composed entirely of drunk little people to, and may God have mercy on my soul for inflicting this upon you but, THIS, you would be hard-pressed to find one musical group supplying a more consistent stream of horrified laughter. But for a group so rich in mythology** I still find the most enjoyment from their good ol’ fashion rock ‘n’ roll. Any classic rock station worth its weight in Sausage McMuffins will always play KISS’s standards like “Rock and Roll All Night,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Beth” and maybe even later works like “Lick It Up” and “Psycho Circus.” However, there’s one song they won’t play and with KISSOnline’s promise that the boys in the band have an Earth-Shattering major announcement tomorrow, I have to assume that it’s a formal handwritten apology for this…

Let me give you a moment to freeze the video at 00:46, take a picture and make it your Facebook profile photo out of solidarity with those of us that somehow survive living in a world where this song exists.

Alright, this is an effeminate elephant in the room of pop culture so let’s just address it head-on. What can we say for sure about “Let’s Put the X in Sex?” Well, it was one of two new songs on the band’s third ‘Best of’ compilation Smashes, Thrashes & Hits, it went to #97 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it’s an awful narrative about a private detective who receives sexy messages from someone who reminded him of you that (here’s the twist) turned out to be you. You pervert. If it weren’t for you, the band’s recorded sexual conquests would have been limited to high school girls and the evening they had their genitals plastered. But no, you and your instantly recognizable black lace panties had to toy with Stunt Cher Detective Paul Stanley’s delicate psyche. It wasn’t enough to omnipotently occupy a skyscraper while your Robert Palmer reject-minions march to this Robert Palmer rejected canker sore of an incantation. You even made them release an eight-minute long extended version. How dare you.

So yes, this song is bad and the band knows it. How bad you ask? Well, it’s never reappeared on any of their umpteenth-thousand re-releases and compilations. It’s never acknowledged in any self-released film, book or documentary. To give you some perspective, these middle-aged men in spandex and makeup will sooner reflect on their dismal failure of philosophically-based sci-fi concept album that nearly killed the band than this song. They’ve done what they could to block it out of their mind, so in 1995 when they were surprisingly asked by the rabid KISS Army of Salt Lake City*** to perform the song unplugged, they patronizingly obliged. Once they realized what they were playing, they gave up halfway through but THE KISS ARMY WOULD HAVE NONE OF THESE SHENANIGANS AND WITH THIS ROCK AND ROLL GOD HIMSELF GAVE TO THEM, PROCEEDED TO SHOUT IT OUT LOUD! The band watched bewildered and (coincidentally?) reunited a year later to take over the world again. Yes, this footage exists and it is glorious.

So what could tomorrow’s announcement be? A new tour? A new album? A new reality show? A new retirement****? No matter what the Knights in Satin’s Service say tomorrow, we all know what they’re thinking – “Sorry for putting the ‘X’ in sex.”

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

*Yes, THE Craig Witte.

**There’s a certain irony somewhere in being rich in something so poorly written, but I’m too busy spitting blood to find it.

***How does one put the X through their special Mormon undergarments?

****I saw their farewell tour twice in 2000, which has somehow rock and rolled over into another decade. Guess they’re not too keen on putting the X in eXit.