Legend has it that an evil spirit killed everyone who tried to climb Kilimanjaro, a dormant three cone volcano in East Africa. It wasn’t until the 1800s that missionaries realized that what looked like a cloud from below, was actually snow and that climbers succumbed to the extreme cold. If that wasn’t enough reason to fear mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, whose ravages you could at least avoid by, well, avoiding the mountain entirely — then try this one on for size: rampaging baboons.
Yes, in the shadow of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, there lurks members of the genus Papio and these primates are PO’d.
Since this was the 80s, In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro was “based on actual events,” i.e., basically bullshit. Allegedly, because of severe drought, thousands of the creatures ran amok obliterating anything in their path.
Anyway, after the predatory monkeys feast on a young boy, a park ranger (played by Timothy Bottoms – The Last Picture Show/Invaders from Mars) tries to sound the alarm. And you know what happens when you try to do that? Well, commercial interests get in the way of course! In this case, it’s a mining operation. And mining operations need water for processing and extraction, drought be damned.
From the DVD description:
“Hordes of starving baboons — outnumbering humans 500-1, are waiting for their prey. Then suddenly they attack, each one possessing the savage strength of three men, baring their flesh-ripping fangs — eating humans alive.”
Anyway, as if baboons were zombies (a major insult to these highly intelligent primates), humans band together to fight them off, with close-up gore aplenty. Next time you’re on safari, make sure you’re as well-armed as Hemingway.
Pretty much all members of the animal kingdom are represented in horror: giant shrews, killer rabbits, hogs, genetically engineered sheep, bats, birds, dogs, rats, sharks, piranha, frogs, snakes and worms…why not baboons? Nice to see them get their due, even if they resemble fanged chow chows up close. And it’s impossible to say “baboon” without thinking about Lisa Simpson calling out Homer in the Dustin Hoffman substitute teacher episode: “Baboon…baboon, baboon baboon!” (“The dirtiest, stupidest, smelliest ape of them all!”). Someone, remake this please and the for the sake of comparison, check out Link: An Experiment in Terror.
**1/2 (out of 5)
[Editors’ note: we LOVE natural horror / animal attack movies. Check out our chat about these with horror author Mike Mayo on the Really Awful Movies Podcast]