Cannibal Ferox (1981)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine De Selle, Danilo Mattei
Plot: Three friends out to disprove cannibalism meet two men on the run who tortured and enslaved a cannibal tribe to find emeralds, and now the tribe is out for revenge.
I'm not going to pretend to be some sort of expert on Italian cannibal movies, because I'm not. I haven't seen Lenzi's other cannibal flicks like Man from Deep River and Eaten Alive, and I have never seen the one that everyone talks about, Cannibal Holocaust. I guess these movies just aren't my thing.
I bought this Cannibal Ferox DVD a good long while ago (I can't remember when, probably 10 years ago now) and it has sat on my shelf ever since that first viewing. I dragged it out now for one reason only - my girlfriend hasn't seen it (or any Italian jungle cannibal flicks) and I'm trying to expand her horror movie horizons.
Now, let me say that this isn't a bad movie. It has a certain charm about it, in the way that only 1970s/early 80s movies seem to have. The story is simple but effective, and I like the fact that it doesn't make out the "savages" to be the bad guys. It's the white man that starts the bloodshed, they simply get their own back (even if some of those punished are innocently caught up in it).
The gore is pretty intense, no doubt about it. But I think the impact of it has been lessened by the recent "torture porn" craze. Seeing a man castrated is unfortunately not that unusual anymore. Still, the one scene with the guy's head trapped in a table and cut open ranks up there as one of the most gruesome effects I've seen.
But, what really stops this movie from getting repeat views is the animal cruelty. I'm no tree-hugging vegan greenie, but I don't like it when animals suffer un-needingly. There's too much of it in this movie, and it sours the whole experience for me. A copy of the movie without the animal deaths would be good, but I'm not sure one is available.