It’s a Gyp

In Captive Wild Woman, Acquanetta turned into an ape and murdered people. That’s what you do after turning into one, if films taught us anything. In the direct sequel though, Jungle Woman, she’s merely Acquanetta. Wild, lustful, savage.

Captive Wild Woman wasn’t a great movie. A generally terrible one, actually. Jungle Woman is no better, and worse. The first hedged on a Nazi ideology to add light substance, but Jungle Woman offers nothing of the sort.

The horror isn’t a monster – it’s just a woman. She’s jealous and sex-starved. Circa 1944, that was reason enough to institutionalize her. Backed by Captive Wild Woman, Jungle Woman turns her into a super-strong monster. It’s because she’s part ape, of course, yet the only time her powers matter is when she’s incensed by men being with other women. Rarely speaking, when she does, it’s with a forced and stilted performance, as if a woman obsessed with sex cannot form a thought.

… it’s hard to see Jungle Woman as anything less than inelegant muck

Away from Acquanetta, Jungle Woman focuses on J. Carrol Naish, a doctor studying this new patient. True to Universal horror form, a mystery forms. Bodies pile up. The only ones who don’t know the perpetrator are these characters, rendering suspense null. Jungle Queen bogs down in this non-mystery, this after the first act runs through ten or more minutes of stock footage from Captive Wild Woman – which included stock footage itself, meaning stock footage of stock footage.

Universal’s style works. Familiar, at times redundant. Plenty of their iconic horror output use similar plots and styles. That’s not why Jungle Woman resoundingly fails. Rather, it’s the crass, judgmental eye Jungle Woman employs. Captive Wild Woman at least suggested victimhood, even light empathy. Not so here.

Instead, Acquanetta’s Paula joins Wolf Man or Frankenstein (even Creature from the Black Lagoon), beings forced against their will to kill by animal instinct. The difference? Paula never fights who she is. She likes being vindictive. Instincts like this mean something else for a woman. Maybe that worked in 1944, although even under the more puritan values in that period, it’s hard to see Jungle Woman as anything less than inelegant muck.

Video

Beautifully mastered by Scream/Shout Factory, this release contains natural grain, perfectly resolved. Sharpness hits a satisfying peak, doling out detail and definition without a struggle. Facial texture shows through. The asylum’s exterior handles plants and brush cleanly. No processing is evident, leaving behind a precise, organic image.

Some damage aside, Jungle Woman looks almost pristine. That’s generally minor. Footage from Captive Wild Woman understandably softens, but any new footage stays true to an excellent source.

If anything is a greater success, it’s contrast. Superbly calibrated black levels nail the mood. Highlights show up as bold and rich; no clipping noted. Density doesn’t let up, maintaining stability for the brief (very brief) runtime.

Audio

The disc can’t fend off the difficulties here. A DTS-HD track is fine when considering fidelity. Stock scoring brings clean treble, and even some notable low-end with a smooth roll off. Dialog integrity pleasingly remains true.

However, there’s extensive crackling and popping. That’s likely a price to present the mono source so cleanly, yet it’s a lot, and rarely offering a break.

Extras

Greg Mank drops in for commentary, and afterward, there’s a stills gallery to view.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Jungle Woman
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Ranking near the bottom of Universal’s golden era genre output, Jungle Woman is a messy, cheap production lacking in substance.

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