A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell

October 18, 2010 at 2:42 am (8 Heads, Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell) (, , , , , )

A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell – 1989 – United States

Despite sharing a naming convention with Todd Sheet’s Prehistoric Bimbos in Armageddon City (1991), A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell is an earnest post-apocalypse fantasy effort, even if Troma Entertainment’s inappropriate gag name and tacky intro with Troma in-jokes might make you believe otherwise. Obviously renamed for distribution, A Nymphoid Barbarian is a sci-fi/fantasy epic in the vein of She (1982), The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984), or even Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983).

After an atmospheric matte painting opening with dramatic perilous music, followed by a second opening with Troma sex jokes, the flick is underway. Man and woman survivalist-warrior types journey through beautifully scenic wilderness and battle giant stop motion monsters and toothless barbarian freakos. Eventually the pair confronts an evil skull-adorned warlord and his posse of reptile goons in their castle.

It’s easy to ignore this underdeveloped plot with literally 8 sentences of dialogue total, and if you don’t expect characterization, there’s a lot to enjoy. Love and caring detail is lavished on A Nymphoid Barbarian’s freakish monsters and characters. The numerous creatures are inspired—half dinosaur/insect, including a giant worm and a mantis-headed leviathan. The plentiful stop motion is great, well integrated with the live action using massive life-size puppets.

The unique costumes also display effort and imagination. My favorite, the reptilians, look like Tuscan Raiders mixed with an ape and a fish. A leather mask-clad warrior displays further inspiration and his disfigured face shows cool makeup work. Along with the sublime outdoor locations, these veil the otherwise cheap production values (i.e. there are never more than three characters on camera at once).

That’s partly what makes A Nymphoid Barbarian interesting. Exhausting care was spent on an inventive world, making the technical shortcomings glaring and puzzling. There’s no sync sound (contributing to the lack of dialogue) and the sound effects added in post-production are obvious and very strange. Even smoothed over by a continually pounding (although very appropriate) score, they border irritating. Combined with endless melees with slow, clumsy choreography, A Nymphoid Barbarian’s effort and professionalism are mostly undermined.

But A Nymphoid Barbarian means well, and that’s most important. I suspect it was by someone like me: a true fan with lots of imagination and a love for strange creatures, characters, and tone. The overall sincerity added immensely to my enjoyment of the flick. Also, despite a female protagonist clad in a rag bikini, there’s thankfully little T&A, making Troma’s recontextualizing even more ludicrous.

Fans of fantastic mutant monsters and heroes with simple motives should check it out. Released in 1990, it looks like 1983—but that’s where its head is at, on the shoulders of The Road Warrior and Conan the Barbarian.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. I wish that I had made it.

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