Shame of the Jungle (1975)
“First, there was “Fritz the Cat”…Then, “Heavy Traffic”…And now, THE FUNNIEST ADULT CARTOON EVER!”
Shame of the Jungle (1975)
Director: Picha, Bruno Szulzinger
Cast: Bernard Dhéran, Georges Aminel, Arlette Thomas
Synopsis: Shame must rescue his girlfriend, June, when she is kidnapped by the evil Queen Bazonga.
Released in the UK as Jungle Burger back in the late ‘70s, Boris Szulzinger and Belgian cartoonist Picha’s shameless X-rated sexual lampoon of Tarzan is a rather ponderous chore filled with crude juvenile humour which will no doubt reduce fourteen-year-old boys to fits of furtive giggles while leaving the rest of us completely unmoved. The big joke is that Tarzan – or Shame as he is called for legal reasons – is an incompetent bungler in a sagging nappy-like leopard-skin loincloth who, sexually and otherwise, is incapable of satisfying the beautiful but shrewish June (Emily Prager). While June sleeps with their sex-crazed chimp to find some release from her sexual frustrations, Queen Bazonga (Pat Knight), a bald, fourteen-breasted harpie, is planning to dominate the world. Before she does, though, she wants to find a lustrous head of hair to cover her bald dome, and selects June to be the unlucky donor of a scalp transplant. Correctly assuming that June is likely to object to having her scalp peeled from her head, Bazonga despatches a few of her troops – who can only be described as mobile male genitalia that use their testicles for feet, and whose main form of attack seems to be to ejaculate sperm in the direction of their foe – to kidnap the luckless lady. When they succeed in doing so, it’s up to the bumbling Shame to rescue his girlfriend and prove he isn’t the complete loser that she believes him to be.
The 68 minute US version of Shame of the Jungle, which was the print viewed for the purpose of this review, is about 17 minutes shorter than the original French version (which was released as Tarzoon – la honte de la jungle), and is presumably shorn of its more explicit scenes. As it stands, though, the US version has enough crass smut to keep its target audience entertained. What plot Shame of the Jungle can claim to have is a secondary afterthought to the relentless sexual imagery and barrage of crass jokes which very quickly grow incredibly boring. At least the jokes provide occasional relief from the desultory periods of padding which belie the fact that this sorry mess began life as a fifteen minute short.
Shame of the Jungle is careful to avoid any mention of Tarzan because of legal action taken by the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ape man’s creator, although the voice of Shame is provided by one Johnny Weissmuller Jr, the son of cinema’s most famous Tarzan (his dad must have really been puffed up with pride on hearing how his son was carrying on a proud family tradition…). Other members of the US voice cast include more notable comic figures such as Saturday Night Live alumni Bill Murray (Caddyshack, Zombieland) and John Belushi. Completists of their work will undoubtedly feel obliged to check this one out, but anyone who doesn’t consider masturbating chimpanzees or fornicating elephants to be the height of humour would do well to keep a wide berth.
(Reviewed 12th March 2016)
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