“JUNGLE TRAP” and “RUN, COYOTE, RUN”— Two from James Bryan


Two from James Bryan

Amos Lassen

 James Bryan’s “Jungle Trap” introduces us to Chris Carpenter (Renee Harmon), a journalist whose career has been hurt by her messing up an expedition into the Amazon territory of the Mali tribe. A girl, Jean, ended up getting killed in an apparent accident. Chris intends to go back to the Amazon to retrieve a Mali Idol but this return expedition is being led by Josh, her immoral anthropologist ex-husband. Chris tells how the Malis were swept off their land by greedy government officials who wanted to steal their land and build a resort on it. The subsequently-built Palace Hotel was abandoned to the jungle soon after its opening.

Trouble strikes the expedition early when their guide is suddenly murdered by a mysterious cultist who seems intent on avenging the Malis. We learn the Malis had something to do with the sudden closing of the Palace (involving a lot of employee heads being lopped off) and now the group is prepared to fly into the rainforest interior with an alcoholic pilot named John. They pick up a new guide, Mr. Ortega, who is the cultist friend from earlier. They are able to find the Palace Hotel, and learn that tales of its destruction were exaggerated. One of the girls of the expedition, however, is sure that the staff of the hotel are ghosts. The Malis are said to control the spirits of their victims which means that the Malis will be going on the warpath soon.

The “foreshadowing” in this movie is clumsy and we can guess what’s going to happen at the hotel but the movie does manage to give us chills at times. Bryan shot the filmon video back in 1990, but it was never completed until parts of the film were later found and it wasresurrected, scored, and edited together. The film is horror schlock and even though we see fake blood. It is hard not to like the movie.

  “Run, Coyote, Run” is a patchwork shot-on-video anti-movie that has no resemblance to a reality that scientists, therapists, or archeologists are aware of.

Anne Wellington is a psychic police officer working for Interpol. She’s trying to find her sister’s killer while eluding some hitmen with familiar faces and the FBI, who are all searching for an incriminating audio cassette.

The film makes no sense. Ghostly laughter appears at random and the sound effects in a fight scene are produced by someone hitting an empty bucket. There are flashbacks to scenes that happened ten minutes prior and new footage repeats itself, as if  director Bryan forgot that he had already used it.

The experience of seeing this collage of madness is enough in itself. It’s rarely boring and always watchable because of the disregard of logic by Harmon and Bryan. But when you really think about it, this is an incredibly ambitious undertaking. Combining footage from five different movies with new footage that matches nothing in the hopes of creating a cohesive movie makes it seem insane.

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