Female Bunch (1971) + Piranha Piranha (1972) + Tarzana the Wild Girl (1969)

The Female Bunch

Sandy (Nesa Renet) is trying to help Jim (Geoffrey Land) escape the wrath of Grace (Jennifer Bishop) as they are seeking shelter in a cave the busty brunette doffs her shirt to help bind Jim’s wounds.  Pay attention to the fact that Jim asks her how she got tied up with this gang of mad women because the film quickly moves into that narrative and the viewer can forget that the film is Sandy’s personal recollection.

Sandy is devastated after her most recent break up and is left suicidal.  Only timely intervention by her showgirl friend Libby (Gina Carol) saves her life.  Libby teaches Sandy a feminist outlook and introduces her to a group of women who have been brought together by their common mistrust of men.  After initiation at the hands of the tough leader, Grace, she is brought into the gangs true mission.  They may be free spirits but the purpose of the group is to run smack from Mexico into the US.  While in old Mexico the ladies live it up taking what they want, who they want, when and where they want.  The cantina is a hotbed of debauchery as some of the girls forget their hard edge demeanor toward men and give themselves up in the saw dust on the cantina floor.  Kindly Monty (Lon Cheney Jr.) tries to ease her into the routine but soon finds himself on Grace’s bad side.  When her laws go too far and a cowboy (Russ Tamblyn) is branded and later killed then Sandy knows she must escape Grace’s madness once and for all.  She finds out getting out is a lot harder than getting into the FEMALE BUNCH.

This is the jewel of this Code Red Triple Feature.  Al Adamson’s feminist/fetishist classic the FEMALE BUNCH plays like a lite all girl version of SATAN’S SADISTS trading in the bikes for horses.  Buxom babes in all stages of dress and undress wearing tight jeans, tight shorts, tall boots all while cracking whips and riding horses.  The girls’ tawdry tale includes shooting up heroin and torturing men who get in their way of having a good time.  Most of the filming took place on the legendary/infamous Spahn Ranch.  This one is a sleaze classic worth checking out.  The transfer is from a hard to find and very rough print so it is full of scratches, dirt and even a few missing bits.  It’s worse around the reel changes but clears up a tad time to time.  Its very rough but its good to have it on DVD all the same.  

Piranha, Piranha

Arthur Green (Tom Simcox) and his sister Terry (Ahna Capri) fly into Caracas for a photojournalistic tour and meet up with their tour guide, Jim Pendrake (Peter Brown).  The three encounter the notorious hunter Caribe (William Smith) while they relax for the evening in a small frontier town.  Terry wants to see the diamond mines of Venezuela and Caribe is the man who knows how to find them.  It’s a wild country and gun adverse Terry doesn’t like the fact that guns are necessary to survive in the case of Jim and necessary to exploit in the case of Caribe.

 Aware of Caribe’s fearsome reputation, Pendrake tries to keep the peace because he can lead them to the diamond mines Terry wishes to photograph.  Along the way Caribe offers to allow the party to stay at his place while they photograph some of the wildlife.  Terry snaps while Caribe shoots drawing her ire.  Caribe saves Terry from a river infested with piranha and carries her back to the camp.  After he explains why he lugged her back in her brother and the guide also fuss at her for being so careless.  Terry goes out to see some wildlife and Caribe’s true nature comes through as he stalks and rapes her.  Arthur confronts the poacher but is knifed and thrown into the piranha for his troubles (this is the second and last time piranha make an appearance in this film…).  Jim and Caribe throw down in a burning frontier village with Terry’s fate in the hands of the winner.

The film is pretty tame with lots of location inserts, not as many as the film that follows on this set but plenty.  The picture quality is the best of this trio but this film doesn’t hold a candle to the FEMALE BUNCH entertainment wise.  Still a pretty fun jungle adventure flick and it has Ahna Capri and William Smith in it to boot.  Capri is good and Smith is menacing as can be. 

Tarzana the Wild Girl

The wreckage of a long lost plane has been found between Mombasa and Nairobi.  Within are the remains of Lord Donovan’s son and daughter-in-law but the remains of his young granddaughter are not located.  Buoyed by the news he sends two of his employees to Nairobi to seek out his granddaughter, hoping that she has been taken in and raised by one of the indigenous tribes.  Groder (Franco Ressel) and Doris (Franca Polesello) are the two tapped to head down to Kenya and try to find evidence of the young girl’s survival sixteen years since the crash. 

In Nairobi they meet up with the great white hunter Glen Shipper (Ken Clark from Al Adamson’s SATAN’S SADISTS) who is about to head to Kilamanjaro on safari.  Doris quickly makes him an offer he can’t refuse so for $100,000 he gathers a team and heads into the jungle towards Mombasa in search of Donovan’s lost heiress.  It looks like a wild goose chase until the party encounters natives who believe there is a jungle spirit named Tarzana in the area.  Hearing her calls, Glen thinks it may be the voice of a girl.  Groder keeps trying to turn the party back and once Tarzana (Femi Benussi) is discovered he recruits half the party to do his bidding.  Among them are the sick cat Fred (Raf Baldassarre) or Rapey McRaperson as he tried to rape Doris and their native guide at one time or another.  Eventually Doris is able to remind Tarzana of her humanity and shows them they are the same by showing the jungle babe that she has bigger boobs.  

Genre fans will recognize Ken Clark and Italian stalwart Raf Baldassarre in this Italian lensed spaghetti safari epic.  Franca Polesello was in THE MAD BUTCHER and NAVAJO JOE while Femi’s talents have been on display in films such as THE ITALIAN CONNECTION, HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON and STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER.  The film is a bit drab as it trundles through back lot jungles with occasional location shots and animal footage.  TARZANA owes a bit of debt to the nudie cuties that came long before it.  That being said it is interesting as an oddity for its time. 

The picture quality on the features varies greatly but all are presented in widescreen.  There are no special features, not even a trailer forced or otherwise.  The simple marquee menu looks good and also lends itself to the triple feature format.  The DVD is available directly from Code Red’s webshop.

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