Jungle Blue (1978)

JUNGLE BLUE is an embarrassing attempt by Carlos Tobalina to make an on- location (Peru) adventure film. To call it amateurish would insult hard-working amateurs everywhere.

I saw this movie theatrically in June 1982 off Times Square on a double bill as support feature for Tobalina’s MAI LIN VS. SERENA, certainly one of the low points of my filmgoing history. My movie diary doesn’t name the theater, but it was probably the Rialto II, a favorite haunt of mine near Joe Franklin’s TV studio.

Opening shot is of a guy in a gorilla suit with a tiny brown (human) dick being sucked off by some poor female extra. The footage actually goes downhill from there.

Nina Fause stars as Silvia, a greedy woman with equally greedy creep partner Brad Johnson (no, not the later Spielberg actor but Jose Ferraro) searching the Amazon for valuable jewels belonging to a native tribe called the Cashibos. Through the magic of director Tobalina’s random editing, their adventure is all jumbled up with extraneous but very important XXX footage that has nothing to do with the main story at all.

Chief among this footage, beginning early on and doled out (with many shots repeated as filler) throughout the movie is an orgy for six people in a bedroom organized by Tobalina regular Iris Medina, cast here as a Peruvian. Besides Fause (who Iris slips some psychedelic drug), the group includes in non-speaking XXX bit parts Annette Haven and Candida Royalle.

Another gob of sex footage includes an extended (cut into many pieces as well) lesbian scene between Fause and co-star Kathie Kori, who plays Jane – a member of the expedition seeking her long-lost father Mark (seen briefly in flashback). Her name invokes Edgar Rice Burroughs through the back door (Tarzan is never mentioned), and she narrates briefly a local fable of a happy, immortal man of the jungle who’s never had sex and who lives with the animals; when he finally finds the woman who will be his true love he will become mortal like the rest of us.

His name is Ivo, played stolidly by muscle-man “Bigg John”, who recites his dialogue quietly and as if reading from the phone book. Some confusion arises from Tobalina’s use of XXX insert closeups, a common enough practice but overdone here. The non-actor playing Ivo never removes his loincloth but there are crucial XXX scenes of him humping Silvia and Jane, in which all we see are tight closeups of the players’ groins. It is not established convincingly that Fause and Kori are participating (their public hair changes from shot to shot noticeably), but the large, uncircumcised and not fully-erect cock involved suggests that of Tobalina regular John Holmes. It probably isn’t Holmes filming some stunt-double footage, but the confusion (big cock) is deliberate, else why the credited pseudonym “Bigg John”?

Ivo’s pet guy-in-gorilla suit Chico is an anomaly, so Ivo tells the folks “he escaped from the circus”, as good an explanation as any for an African animal on the loose in Peru. A later scene of Chico humping Jane is XXX but very poorly done, featuring two female extras who don’t resemble actress Kori in the slightest alternately sucking or riding his little brown human dick.

Location footage of the troupe trekking along through the jungle (which often looks like somebody’s backyard) is so poorly directed that at one point Fause’s terrible voice-over narration even comments on the fact, lamenting “these long walks”. Tobalina does not stage any action footage, just having Ivo clumsily swinging from vines and boring nature shots, plus a home movie-look scene of Ivo getting shot.

Ivo is killed twice, but remember he’s immortal, though his quickie resurrections are stupid enough to have narration state: “I can’t understand why he’s not dead”. Despite the illiterate DVD box notes touting “hoards” of unclad natives, the three tribes that get thank you credits (Shamas, Cashibos and Chunas) have little to do but stand around and grin, and there is perhaps 3 seconds of topless footage of the native ladies, hardly enough for a porno audience.

The film is so cheap that when the baddies finally find the jewels they are merely stones that look like pebbles hanging around the Cashibos’ necks. Finale of the final bad guy receiving a long-distance blow-dart from Ivo and turning into a red spot in the river is badly bungled – we need a voice-over saying “the piranhas got him” in place of any visual action footage at all.

At the very, very end, we see Fause wake up after the influence of the orgy’s psychedelic drug, so perhaps the whole crummy movie was merely a hallucination of hers. It was beyond bad already, without an added Tobalina insult of “it was all a dream” ending.