Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CANNIBAL TERROR Movie and DVD Review

CANNIBAL TERROR (1981)


cannibal terror movie poster

When two bumbling crooks and their prostitute friend hatch a plan to kidnap the young daughter of a car manufacturer, they think their money troubles are all over. But, these crooks can’t even get a simple kidnapping right, and when their plan falls through, the trio pull a few favors and quickly cross over into the next country to hide out, taking the little girl with them. There’s only one problem - the cottage they’re hiding out in is right on the border of cannibal territory!

Though the crooks think they’re safe, tension mounts no doubt due to the fact that Mario rapes Manuela, the wife of the cottage’s owner. Manuela’s husband deals with Mario in his own special way, while the other two race into the jungle. On their trail though, are the parents of the little girl and the tribe of cannibals who have picked up their scent. As the chase turns into free-for-all battle for survival, the only question remains is who will be lucky enough to simply die and who will become the next sacrificial meal of the cannibals?

For bottom-of-the-barrel EuroTrash sleaze looking to cash in on a horror fad, look no further than this Alain Deruelle (directing under the pseudonym Allan W Steeve) French/Spanish co-production from 1981, as he tries to ride the coattails of Italian directors like Ruggero Deodato and his infamous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. However, Deruelle proves that his abilities to mimic a genre to make a few bucks are even worse than Jess Franco at his worst. Interestingly enough, Franco was thought to be the true director of this movie for years.

The cannibal sub-genre is a particularly nasty offshoot in the realm of horror, and lends its perverse violence, often times demeaning stereotyping and lurid acts of sexual depravity to those with an acquired taste. And that is when the genre is done right. When done as a poorly cobbled together cash-in such as CANNIBAL TERROR, the results are a mixture of unintentional humor and boredom, interrupted ever so briefly with moments of stomach-turning disgust.

Here, the laughter starts from the first scene with abysmal acting from everyone involved, magnetized by the canned and nearly-emotionless English dubbing, but really gets the guffaws rolling with the introduction of perhaps the worst depiction of cannibals the screen has ever seen. These cannibals, who for the most part are pasty white Europeans with sideburns, flowing locks of hair, and beerbellies who have painted their faces and can barely contain their giggles as they hoot and holler and dance around endlessly. Rather than try to exploit their “savage rituals” a la MONDO CANE, here it amounts to nothing more than a ridiculous updating of white guys pretending to be Indians in old Hollywood westerns.

Now the highlight, if one can call it that, of any good cannibal films is of course the visceral display of flesh eating. Derulle’s version of that is to substitute a pig’s body for that of human, drape some clothes over it, and let a few extras tear it apart. We get two scenes of this grotesque barbarity, as a few fellows pull at and pretend to eat the organs of some piggy. Its a bit revolting, until you notice their smiles, as if it say, “look at us, we’re cannibals!” It is impossible to take anything even remotely serious after that.

The rest of the film amounts to a few brief glimpses of nudity thanks to exploitation mainstay Pamela Stanford (BLUE RITA, GIRL SLAVES) in one of her final roles, lots and lots of walking, a few clips of jungle stock footage, and a rollicking African beat inspired soundtrack. In fact, there’s just enough footage of interesting and exciting scenes to be able to cut together a trailer that (as is often the case) promises much more than is ever delivered.

It is a sure bet that if CANNIBAL TERROR had not been labeled a Video Nasty and briefly banned in the UK during the mid-’80s, the film would have long ago disappeared into obscurity. But now, thanks mostly to this infamous list it has lived on, and now the movie has finally been restored to all its uncut “glory” by Severin Films for its US DVD debut, where it will surely continue to provide laughs for a whole new generation of gut-munching fanatics.

The DVD provides an anamorphic widescreen transfer of an uncut print, and has been remastered in Hi-Definition, though the quality varies from one scene to the next, and even one cut to the next. The sound retains glaringly obvious of its dubbed roots. The special features include a deleted scene, which is just a short clip of Pamela Stanford dancing around topless that should have been reinstated into the film and the theatrical trailer featuring a priceless voice-over, especially when the announcer exclaims “Cannibal Terror!”

For genre enthusiasts this is worth a precursory glance just for the sake of curiosity and mocking, and for those that absolutely positively have to own every Video Nasty. For the rest, there is nothing to see here.

5 comments:

Anna 'dTeepZ said...

wow cannibalism is every where.....

blogcosep said...

love to watch this movie..

petsafe said...

Most Cannibal movie plots share the same thing, group of people who happen to get in the Cannibal territory. Pretty formulaic. But I'd like to see this one and compare it to Cannibal Holocaust

Auberges pour jeunes à New York said...

What a creapy french horror movie! I didn't watch it, but I can tell it's kind of weird, didn't it? I'll wacht it soon. Thank you for the review. You have an awesome blog. Congrats!

Angela said...

So is this movie like a real thing with real eating?

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