I’m going to put my credit on the line here and make a bold statement: I fucking hate jungle movies. I seriously do. I don’t care what they are; Mondo, Cannibal, Philippines sleaze and/or Tarzan Porn. It all blends together after a while and there are only so many ways that you can photograph trees, wildlife, natives and all types of related carnage before it just gets stale. That is, until you open your film with a man in a gorilla suit getting a blow job by an enthusiastic young lady. I’m a fan of second/third/hundredth chances.
To say that Jungle Blue knows how to announce itself would be an understatement. Director Carlos Tobalina – whose work I was unfamiliar with until Vinegar Syndrome’s release of the wonderfully epic Marilyn and the Senator – seems to not be entirely sure what to do with this one and that’s the fun of it. I mean, if the sloppy gorilla suit cocksucking doesn’t pique your interest than the opening credits which are basically shots of the film’s one-sheet must. After seeing two features of his, there’s a lot that I want to say about Tobalina, and at the top of that list is that he’s completely unpredictable.
Which is a good way to discuss what Jungle Blue is. Or, more likely, what it isn’t. Jungle Blue starts out pretty boldly and then turns into something a bit more serviceable or at least marginally narratively focused. We are introduced to two criminals (Nina Fause and Loren Ferretti) on the hunt for some emeralds that some tribe apparently has. Also running around the jungle is a woman searching for her missing father (Carol Bombard), because why wouldn’t she be? They all meet up with Evor (Bill Cable), a Tarzan type that swings around trees and is lusted after by anything with a vulva.
Jungle Blue is a very awkward, erratic mix of crime cinema – it gets plenty violent at times, hardcore porn, mondo wildlife footage and maybe even some Tarzan targeted parody. It’s this identity crisis that actually makes Tobalina’s film as enjoyable as it is. I started this review with saying how much I hate jungle movies, and I really do. Going into this one I thought that I knew what to expect and that changed in about thirty seconds, for the best. I certainly wasn’t ready to see people murdered being intercut with group sex and shots of monkey dicks. It’s something.
That all said, I’m still not sure if I like Jungle Blue. It caught me off guard, for sure, and I would absolutely show it to people but only the right people. It’s surprisingly mean spirited – though there are no scenes of animal cruelty – and the sex is usually just gross. The cover art talks of the ‘ball of the wild’ but there isn’t all that much fun to be had even when it is its most outlandish. There is absolutely an audience for this and when they discover it, they’ll be happy they did, but I’m not sure that I’m part of it. Yet.
Vinegar Syndrome only released this one on DVD and it looks as good as it likely could. The transfer was made from the original 35mm camera negative, which is always a plus, and the colors are sharp and the source material doesn’t appear to be as damaged as it could be. Audio is mono and is a balanced track with everything sounding relatively clear and not much hiss present. I can’t imagine the presentation disappointing anyone and, from what I can tell, this is the first appearance of the film on home video in the United States which should be a cause for celebration in some circles.
The only supplement is the trailer.