Pro: Judge Bill Gibron is now prepared for harsh jungle life. Con: He has now sworn off the consumption of corn and corn-based products.
More than just monkeying around…
It's a typical day for Tarz (who legally dropped the "-an" from his name when he heard that Ron Ely was set to play him on television). He and Boy are taking a whiz off their treehouse balcony, discussing their dongs, wondering why Jane resembles a longshoreman in drag, when suddenly they decide to go swimming. Too bad a local crocodile doesn't want them disturbing his own private spa. One big toothy bite later, and Tarz is wiener-free. His only option to regain his mangled manhood? Meet up with the Wango-Wango tribe and have them magically "re-grow" his groin. So off they go to search for the elusive johnson jerry-rigging clan. Along the way they run into a couple of feisty native women, who learn the true meaning of cornholing. They also meet up with Wanda the Great White Huntress and her incredibly swishy sidekick. Will the lord of the jungle get back his boner, or will he be reduced to a decidedly non-erotic Edgar Rice Burroughs buffoon? Only the Wango-Wango, and a chump named Cheeta, know for sure.
Meanwhile, over in the Valley of Lust, another apeman with a familiar moniker (interestingly enough, he changed the "a" to a "u" for the same Ely-based reasons) has his hands—and loins—full. Seems every time he leaves his whiny ladylove Jayne alone for five seconds, an idiot in a bad gorilla suit, sporting a long plastic dildo, shows up and tries to have sex with her. Eventually, the monkey man steals the slut and Tarzun takes off in hot pursuit. Swinging from vine to vine in a mad dash to rescue his dame, a major miscalculation leads to a tree trunk to the crotch. Suffering in the subwoofer, our hurting hero is helped by Meena, a ripe voodoo witch doctoress who only knows one surefire way to "cure" a hurting hog—mouth to member resuscitation. Soon, Tarzun has both his blond bimbette and the ebony enchantress jonesing for his jimmy, and the rest of the natives are not happy about it. Of course, the pathetic primate keeps stepping in to ruin everyone's ribaldry.
A one-time XXX hardcore porn film now stripped of all its extreme erotica, Tarz and Jane and Cheeta and Boy is an exercise in exasperating cinematicus interruptus. Unless you have a proclivity toward penis, you will find little to love about this jaded jungle boogie. Indeed, there is more misplaced man meat in this movie than in a hundred other SWV offerings (and combined with all the schlong in Tarzun's tainted tale, you've got a veritable plethora of peter). Combined with the bad burlesque humor, the occasionally witty aside, the lampoon-spoof sentiment of everyone involved, and the strangely surreal corncob sequence, you'd expect this movie to be more fun than it actually is. But what works as inserts in between full blown fluffing just can't make it on its own, and the result is a joke that lacks the proper punchline, a take-off that feels more like a rip-off.
Sure, everything starts off fine—Tarz and his incredibly bad wig ruminating with Boy, who actually looks older than the ape-man; the gorilla suited guy running around, acting like a sign language version of Charlie Callus; the fake croc with the piano hinge mouth—it is also in keeping with the twisted tone of the film. But once we get to the infamous vegetable violation, all bets are off. The combination of the dirty joke dynamics ("hot buttered corn!") and the incredibly stupid sight gag (the native girls expel a certain cinema concession from their nether regions during the diddling) shifts the film over into a much meaner, more miserable ideal that it never fully recovers from. Anyone whose ever seen an actual porn comedy can attest to the fact that, eventually, the humor has to make way for the humping, and you can feel that flagrantly in Tarz and Jane and Cheeta and Boy. By the time Georgina Spelvin shows up as Wanda and Tarz gets his tool back, all we get are several scenes of sex starting, followed by uneasy jump cuts to more mindless nonsense. For a while, we enjoy the goofy gratuity. But somewhere along the way, the movie remembers its debt to the adult industry, and loses its cool.
Tarzun and the Valley of Lust has the same single-minded problem, except here, there are no jokes to balance out the bonking. Once again piling on the pork without a lot of rhyme, reason, or style, this soft-to-hard horniness is a poorly filmed fiasco where everything looks washed out and used—including the actors. Tarzun is the kind of skinny stickman who women went ga-ga over around the time of Jan and Dean, and the ladies he lays—Jayne and Meena—are a skank swirl that even the most miserable of the raincoat crowd would avoid like the plague. Oddly enough, the one thing this movie has in abundance is not a wanton wealth of outdoor boots knocking or racially insensitive native portrayals. Nope, Tarzun must have the most vine-swinging footage per minute of run time than any other version of this tale ever told. Our brain-damaged beach bum gets more mileage out of his random rope burning than he does in the drilling or dive-bombing department.
The result is an aimless application of broad-based boredom. The women are hideous, the men lamentable, and the entire cinematic style is evocative of a randomly staged scrapbook where scenes fail to match up and even occasionally circle and lap each other. There is very little of the grindhouse groove you come to expect from such unsubtle skin flicks, and the lack of lustable elements doesn't help matters much either. Unlike other attempts at eroticizing the classics, it would appear that, when it comes to Tarzan of the Apes, inspiration is traded for the insipid. As a result, both of these carnal cousins are like two pathetic peas in a putrid porn pod. Neither provides the stamina or the sexiness we've come to expect from such lewd lampoons.
Something Weird Video tries to extend the vaunted value of this DVD by adding a third "featurette" for our supposed enjoyment, a strange obscurity called Karzin in Cuba. Starting off with promise (a group of shipwrecked ladies sing a song about being lost at sea) and then moving over into the moronic (our "apeman" Karzin is just a handyman putting on an exclusive island ruse), these 46 minutes of mediocrity take the same tenets tainted by the featured films and pisses them down the palm fronds as well. At least Karz doesn't battle some dork in a monkey mask.
The rest of the DVD is packed with jungle-oriented archival short subjects (some of which we've seen before on other releases) and a few choice trailers. Along with the usual gallery of exploitation art, SWV proves again they are the gold standard of off-title added content. Too bad both 1.33:1 full screen transfers are so tacky. Tarzun looks terrible, filled with more green emulsion scratches and negative defects than is acceptable. Tarz is a little better, but since it's a XXX attraction with the hard stuff snipped, we get the occasional visual vomit of a very bad editing job. Neither have good color correction, and the faded, faint nature of the image belies their early '70s age. Along with a Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack that is muddy, hard to hear, and sometimes impossible to decipher, the tech specs of this disc are suspect at best.
And, in essence, this keeps with the quality of the quackenbush offered in the films. Tarz and Jane and Cheeta and Boy may have been fun in its full fornication mode, but shorn of its sex, it's a smutless spoof that goes nowhere. The sad thing is, Tarzun and the Valley of Lust wishes it had the same lack of direction as its co-feature. At least it would then have some manner of movement or motivation. As it stands, it's just a static, stupid mess. Unless you long for beefy stuntmen stumbling around in rancid faux-ape fur, or need to see lots of man ass and personal pole, you'd be better served watching a National Geographic special. There is more titillation in those travelogues than in both of these boring bits of bwana bullspit.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
• Karzin in Cuba Short
Review content copyright © 2005 Bill Gibron; Site design and review layout copyright © 2013 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.