A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell: Do I even need to add a subtitle here?

You might have been looking for a penetrating sociological thesis on Man's descent into primitivism, a master class on the Noble Savage mythos, a stirring epic portrayal of human will thwarting dystopian odds.

Other post-apocalyptic tales just didn't meet your vaunted criteria. You tried A Canticle for Liebowitz and found it academic. McCarthy's The Road too modern. Logan's Run, The Handmaid's Tale, Fahrenheit 451 -- all too mainstream. Akira too abstract, Planet of the Apes too kitsch.

And so you turned, breathless and flushed with excitement, your body awash with adrenaline and literary lust, to  A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell.

Unfortunately, Troma's 1990 take on life after nuclear war is less sociological commentary and more about getting your rape on.

The first, oh, three or so minutes of B-movie auteur Brett Piper's magnum opus (he's also responsible for such thrilling adventures as Raiders of the Living Dead, Drainiac, and Bacterium) let us know civilization ended with a megaton bang, killing or mutating most humans and leaving a handful of survivors to battle for their lives against radioactive, claymation dinosaurs.

I hope I'm not shocking you with this news, but it all goes downhill from there.

The next nine minutes contain: Our heroine biting off the ear of an attacker, attempted rape, a protagonist first trying to kill a dog and then slapping a woman across the face, and a penis monster.

I said a penis monster. Shakespeare this is not.

The bulk of the story: Post-atomic-holocaust-survivor boy loves post-atomic-holocaust-survivor girl. Or maybe he doesn't love her so much as he believes he owns her. As property. But she gets stolen by lizardmen who serve a Skeletor impersonator in a fur-fringed cape, so post-atomic-holocaust-survivor boy fights to win her back. Hilarity ensues.

The problem is that anyone who's seen a Troma flick knows that the company uses oversexualized, bloody shock-and-awe exploitation. What I'm saying is that Piper and company don't try in the slightest to cover up the villain's baser motivation with sanitized, Hollywood-safe damsel-in-distress romanticism.

Our nymphoid barbarian, Lea (actress Linda Corwin in her only screen role), is repeatedly pinned pelvis-to-pelvis and threatened with attempted rape three times during 88 minutes.

A brief note: "Nymphoid" is not a real word, or at least it was not included in any of the five dictionaries I consulted. It's most likely a portmanteau of "nymph," which simply means "maid," and -oid, a suffix meaning "having a resemblance." My thought is that the creators wanted horny teenagers to conflate nymphoid with nymphomania.

Now let's assume for a moment that A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell were a serious cinematic effort. The urge to mate would be a centric part of the post-apocalyptic lifestyle. After all, humans are animals and have a animalistic biological imperative. We are driven to reproduce, compelled by our cells to pass on our genetic traits. Bombed into a primal existence, society would probably revert to a rape-and-plunder mentality.

But Troma doesn't treat its plot with any form of academic honesty. Lea's threatened virtue is just a cheap MaGuffin that forces her into danger from stop-motion dragons, ichthyosaurs, and dreaded dog-osaurs. And in the final attempted-rape scene, she is saved pre-coitus from Snidely Whiplash Skeletor by the timely attack of yet a second penis monster. I'm not sure what Piper is trying to imply with the sexual imagery there. He must be terrified of genitalia.

I briefly thought near the mid-point that the film would be (marginally) rescued by introducing Phantom of the Opera elements. A masked stranger takes Lea under his wing, feeds her, and protects her from harm. The nameless man -- let's call him Eric just for kicks -- is hideously deformed under his burlap covering, and screams in rage and self-pity when Lea discovers his true face. Here is a redeeming subplot, I thought, something of merit that speaks to the human condition!

But it didn't really lead anywhere, serving no character development purpose and merely padding the running time.

Neither did the introduction of a wandering scholar add any weight or distinction when he appeared about a third of the way into the film, reading Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky aloud in its entirety. I thought this signaled some great event, some portent, some foreshadowing, because there is almost no dialogue in the entire film, save this poem. But it led nowhere, save to introduce Lea's boyfriend/owner to a magical weapon made of lost pre-war technology (a gun) that didn't help him at all in the climax of the movie!

Wrap all this pure fail in the grainy cheapness of 16mm Bolex handheld camera work (that equipment belonged in a museum even in 1990), and you can understand why A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell gets a 1.6 out of 10 rating on IMDB -- making it officially the lowest rated flick to grace Movies You Shouldn't See.

Do not watch it. Do not waste your time. Do not damage your brain cells. Do not endanger your soul. Do not use this movie as self-flagellation. Do not attempt to punish children with it. Do not test friendships with it. What has been seen cannot be unseen.

~ Jason