Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stranded in the jungle

“Todd, it’s such a lovely day out today. Are you sure you don’t want to go outside?”
As will surprise exactly no one who reads this blog, that was something that I heard a lot while growing up -- usually as I was planted in front of the TV sullenly watching Spectreman or some such. And the answer then, as it is today, was a resolute “no”.

I am simply not what you might call an “outdoorsy” person. And while my shunning of natural light has today resulted in me having a lovely alabaster complexion, it has also resulted in me having a dramatic shortage of rugged, manly adventures involving pith helmets, crampons, extra complicated Swiss army knives, or short pants of any kind.

Given that, one might assume that, by watching the type of jungle adventure movies that I frequently review here at 4DK, I am vicariously compensating for that lack of experience. But that is not the case. In fact, my antipathy towards dirt, open air, and isolation from modern conveniences extends even to their representations in popular media. (That is not to say, however, that I am “anti” the environment itself. To the contrary, I’m a strong believer that the natural landscape and the wildlife within it should be preserved for those people who, you know, actually enjoy that kind of thing.) No, the genres that I instead tend to gravitate toward are those that typically rely on the type of urban settings that I am accustomed to: your film noirs, your action thrillers, your spy movies, etc.

It was only with a little movie called Zimbo that things started to change for me a bit. I became fascinated by the fact that a genre I think many people would assume was the exclusive territory of Hollywood had provided so much grist for various foreign film industries over the years. The seeming universality of the Tarzan mythos -- as well as the use of jungle films as an outlet for xenophobia and blockheaded statements about the essential savagery of man -- filled me with a thrill of discovery that lead to a bit of a binge on my part.

To cut to my point, I, as a result, ended up with quite a backlog of unwatched jungle adventure films, one that made up a substantial portion of the larger, perpetually looming backlog of unwatched DVDs and VCDs that, from their perch aside my DVD player, taunt me on a daily basis with all their untested potential for titillation, horror, boredom and misery. But, ladies and germs, now May is coming. And all of that is going to change.

For the entire month of May, 4DK will be observing Jungle Adventure month -- or, as I prefer to put it, we’ll be “Stranded in the Jungle”. For those four weeks, every post will be redolent of impenetrable growth, exotic flora and fauna, savage rituals, fetid thickets, tropical climes, and sweaty men in leopard skin loincloths. Oh, and, of course, LOTS of monkey sidekicks.

So put on your hiking boots, and don’t forget the sunscreen. We’re going to get dirty.


kenjn60 said...

Oh boy! looking forward to it.

Todd said...

Thanks! I'll do my best to get us all through this safely.

memsaab said...

Oh!!! *speechless with joy*

I am SO WITH YOU on the outdoors thing. I hate the pressure to go out on sunny and beautiful days. There are BUGS out there for God's sake! And it's always sunny and beautiful inside! (Sunny in the figurative sense, of course.)

Keith said...

Although I myself am currently standing in the middle of a jungle, smoking a pipe while expounding on some arcane anthropological point, totally oblivious to the fact that I am slowly sinking in quicksand, I still say "good show and good luck!" I hope you manage to avoid White Pongo at all costs, but recommend you visit the "lost in the jungle" output of Jess Franco, as the toplessness that comes with jungles puts the man in his most comfortable position (zooming his camera in on boobs).

Todd said...

Well, I am at least hoping to grace/soil your pages with The Face of Eve, which, though not directed by Franco, is produced by Harry Alan Towers, which makes it close.

dfordoom said...

I love jungle adventure movies!

Michael Barnum said...

Todd, the only times as a kid that I could be torn away from the Saturday afternoon Creature Features movie or the nth rerun of Gilligan's Island to enjoy the great outdoors was to head out with my friends to re-enact what we had just seen on TV, such as the monster sinking in quicksand scene from VOODOO WOMAN.

Bring on the Jungle films!

PS: Some time back I went on a wild spree of buying every Bollywood jungle dvd and vcd that I could find...and I really don't know why.

Todd said...

Oh, they're comin'!

I, too, have a lot of Bollywood jungle movies, but I also found, as you'll see, that I have a bunch of other jungle movies that are from other countries. I don't know why, either.