A Jess Franco NSFW Double Feature: “Diamonds of Kilimandjaro” & “Golden Temple Amazons”

By on March 14, 2019

For fans of Spanish filmmaker Jesús “Jess” Franco‘s Eighties-era Eurotrash efforts, Night Flight presents a NSFW Double Feature of deep jungle adventures from the low-budget French Eurociné company: 1983’s Diamonds of Kilimandjaro — begun in 1982 as Treasure of the White Goddess (El Tesoro de la Diosa Blanca) — and 1986’s Golden Temple Amazons (Les Amazones du Temple d’Or).

You’ll find both streaming on Night Flight Plus.

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Franco (b. Jesús Franco Manera on May 12, 1930; he died on April 2, 2013) was mostly known for horror & sexploitation films like Vampyros Lesbos (the 1971 cult hit whose “sexadelic” CD soundtrack became a ’90s dance club hit).

In Diamonds of Kilimandjaro, Franco spins off the legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, turning it into a tale about a lost little feral jungle child who becomes the goddess leader of a tribe of cannibals.

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From the MVD Classics DVD box:

“As a child, a young English girl named ‘Diana’ (Katja Beinert, a Franco regular) was lost in a jungle somewhere on the continent of Africa. Many years later, a treasure hunting expedition has begun searching for her, along with precious artifacts. What the search team couldn’t imagine, however, is that the little girl in question was raised among the cannabilistic Mabuto tribe and is now worshiped as their statuesque goddess. The pale-faced English may expect some recognition should she and the expedition team encounter one another, but Diana’s mind has developed in the presence of the Mabuto’s brutal lifestyle, and she sees no kinship between herself and the unwanted visitors. Might she sense some connection before they are all sacrificed and eaten?”

Diana the Caucasian cutie’s nemesis here is a black jungle goddess named “Noba” (Aline Mess), who plots to take revenge on Diana’s white devil relatives, although certainly there’s some reason she’s made Diana’s drunken Scottish godfather their “Big White Chief,” right?

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There may not have even been a screenplay when Franco began shooting, in fact, or so it seems.

Much of the footage was likely shot by Franco and other cinematographers under employ to Eurociné, which was then edited into a fairly coherent story attempting to cash in on the Italian cannibal film craze of the time.

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The barely legal and overtly gratuitous nudity seems to be Franco’s real point here, particularly when it comes to lead actress Katja Beinert.

She was born in Germany in 1966, so that would make her sixteen or seventeen at the time of filming, so Franco may have been testing what he could get away with (the Europeans are more relaxed about censorship, as far as age-of-consent laws go).

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There’s actually very little in the way of naughty sex scenes here, though, save for “Lita” (Mari Carmen Nieto, credited as “Ana Stern”) bedding her mercenary husband, “Fred Pereira” (Antonio Mayans, credited as “Robert Foster”).

That happens shortly after she’s escaped being eaten by a crocodile, which looks to be inserted footage from Mondo Cane or some kind of jungle documentary.

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Franco’s longtime muse, Lina Romay — one of his regulars, they were married in 2008 after living together since the ’70s — plays Diana’s dying mother “Hermione,” who deals with relatives who believe the girl will try to come back one day to claim her share of mama’s money.

Romay regularly posed nude for X-rated pictorials in European sex glossies like Cinema X at the time, so it’s somewhat surprising she kept her clothes on here.

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The real Mount Kilimanjaro, or just Kilimanjaro, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania, and so we’re not sure where Franco’s film misspelled it as “Kilimandjaro.”

Read about Golden Temple Amazons below.

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Golden Temple Amazons was begun by Franco as Tundra and the Temple of the Sun, circa 1984, but it wasn’t completed until two years later by French exploitation director Alain Payet (credited as “James Gartner”).

Franco’s screenplay (he’s credited as “A.L. Mariaux”) takes us deep into the African jungle, so we’re not sure why the indigenous people from Africa’s mysterious “Blue Mountains” are called “Amazons.”

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A half-naked teenage orphaned girl named “Liana Simpson” (Analía Ivars, credited here as Joan Virly) has been raised in the jungle by a tribe of Amazon women.

She finally learns the truth about how her bald missionary father “Mr. Simpson” (Jean-René Gossart) and his wife were both killed with poison-tipped arrows some fifteen years earlier, after they’d discovered a mysterious golden fortress, built on top of a gold mine, which the natives wanted to keep secret.

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Liana joins an expedition looking for the African tribe’s secret golden temple and plots to take down the female bodyguards who — when they’re not riding horses topless in slow motion to a funky Eighties-era bass & synth-rock soundtrack — protect the golden fortress for the evil priest named “Urock” (played by William Berger).

She’s accompanied on her quest by “Koukou” (Stanley Kapoul), a fat medicine man who insists on calling her “stupid girl.”

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Meanwhile, there’s a cruel mistress “Rena,” the leader of the Amazons (played by Eva León) who apparently doesn’t have much clothing in her closet, as she mostly wears just an eye patch and a flimsy gold g-string.

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Golden Temple Amazons also features Lina Romay as one of the Amazon guards, but she’s only onscreen a few seconds.

The film has all the trademarks of being an ’80s Franco production, meaning lots of full-frontal nudity and savage sadism.

Watch Jess Franco’s Diamonds of Kilimandjaro and Golden Temple Amazons — as well as Ilsa the Wicked Warden and Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies — on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.