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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cannibal Ferox (1981) - Horror Cannibals

Cannibal Ferox (1981) - The year after Cannibal Holocaust and his own initial entry Eaten Alive! (1980), Umberto Lenzi throws his hat back into the cannibal movie ring with this mildly offensive entry. This film starts with a warning about the violent content and warns those who do not want to see sadistic torture to stop watching. Since Frankenstein first did this sort of "warning", it has never deterred anyone, so of course I continued to watch. It opens in NYC and we follow a guy walking around town as the credits play. As we learn later this guy is looking for Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), his dealer and eventually walks all the way to his apartment only to be accosted and then killed by two mob guys who are also looking for Mike. You see Mike took $100,000 from the mob and they are determined to get the cash back. The poor junkie, his only role is to get this piece of information out and bring our police characters into the picture. Its funny that the mob guy puts a silencer on his pistol only to have the sound effect be normal volume, they really thought that piece of dubbing out.
When the police come to the murder scene we learn of the owner of the apartment Mary Stanton (Fiamma Maglione) who plays a small role in the film helping to tie thins in the Amazon jungle to the NYC scenes. She ends up being Mike's girlfriend and is the one who heads down to find the guy in Columbia.
Now we are introduced to our group in Columbia, brother and sister Rudy Davis (Danilo Mattei) and Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle)are down working on Gloria's thesis. She is here to prove that cannibalism does not really exist and her brother is taking the photos. Gloria's friend Pat Johnson (Zora Kerova) is along looking for adventure. As they try to find a village where cannibalism reportedly happen we get to see Pat's character. Looking for a shower Pat is very willing to go home and sleep with a local cop to get one. Later she is referred to as a whore and really has no problem with that. There is some music that reminds me of Demons or House by the Cemetary one of those Italian horror classics. The three head off in the jungle, their jeep getting unmovable, stuck in the mud when they are well out of the range help. They have to decide whether to cut across this unfamiliar jungle to the river and hopefully catch on with a boat or walk the 3 days along the trail they just covered. From years of leading hiking trips I could tell you what you should do, but our folks do the opposite and head off into the jungle. When they come across a native sitting in the jungle eating giant grubs they are disgusted. Little do they know of all the rest of the native watching them. after a night of camping in the jungle a scene that is really unnecessary other than to have Pat tie this little pet animal up for the night, we get to see a python eat her put in graphic detail. If you are keeping score, 1 grub eating native and 1 small animal eaten by snake is the extent of the gruesome scenes.
Scene three is they come across the bodies of a couple natives dead from a jungle booby trap. Not really that bad but the sight of death creates a bunch of tension for them. When Mike and Joe ( Walter Lucchini) stumble out of the foliage we get a story. Oh and yes this is Mike Logan from NYC that the cops and Mary Stanton are looking for. They see that Joe is really injured and help the pair. Mike a coke-head who says they came down for cocaine, but met a guy who was searching for emeralds so they joined him. About a month into their prospecting he says they were attacked by cannibal natives and Joe and Mike were lucky to escape. The guy they went in with was not so lucky.
Pat takes a liking to Mike and they have a good time. In the morning Gloria is missing so the other four go looking for her. Rudy and Joe stumble across the village that is supposedly 10 miles away according to Mike's story. When they investigate they see dead bodies, but the native seem harmless. More and more of Mike's story seems questionable. They find Gloria and save her from a hunting pit and the pig stuck in it with her. Now all together again at the village Joe is not doing so well. The injuries he has are infected and he needs to rest. This is when we really get to see what a slime-bag Mike is. He wants to leave Joe and get the fuck out of dodge before the young warriors of the village come back from hunting. Arguing with Gloria about it he repeatedly calls her twat in the least appealing way (as if there was an appealing way.) Then things really go south with him. Hanging out with Pat doing coke they bully a couple of younger natives and Mike ends up killing one of them. Asswipe Mike he will be known as from here on.
Joe then relays the real story of the village and why all the old timers there seem afraid of the whites. See the guy Asswipe Mike followed out here was one of the Indios. He had a few emeralds and Asswipe Mike thought it was going to be an easy score to find a stash somewhere out here at the village. He decides enough waiting and tortures the guy trying to get him to give up a location for more emeralds. He castrates the poor dude and leaves him hanging on a post to die. While Joe is sharing this yearn with Gloria and Rudy Asswipe Mike and Pat are leaving them behind knowing that when the main force of Indios return to the village there is going to be shit to pay.
Back in NYC Mary and the police have a talk and she learns about Asswipe Mikes money theft and that the police are also looking for him. She knows he is in Columbia and heads down herself to look for him. This is important because you think she will be the survivors ride out of the jungle. This isn't true though and the entire storyline is wasted when she never finds any of them. So why continue to go back to this?
The jungle group are all eventually all captured by the natives and now Asswipe Mike is going to be made to pay for what he did. They string him up and quickly cut his dick off and eat it raw in front of him. This is really a gross scene but it is done slight of hand and is quick. They take the time to cauterize the wound so now Asswipe Dickless Mike can live to be tortured some more. Gloria sees the cannibalism though. To draw the story out longer the group is moved from one village to another. This gives Rudy a chance to run for it but unfortunately for him after falling and cutting his leg he falls in a pool of Piranha and is shot with a poison dart never to be seen again. Trapped at the new village Gloria gets the climatic realization about cannibalism. "What a God damn fool I was thinking I had to leave New York to find the reason behind cannibalism. Do you realize its us, the so called civilized people who are responsible for their cruelty. Us and our superior society, violence breeds violence." She was there to disprove cannibalism but then sees it as a reaction to the brutality of Asswipe Dickless Mike.
The final escape comes when a native feeling bad for the two women Pat and Gloria attempts to free them lowing a rope into the hovel they are kept in. Problem is at the same time Asswipe Dickless Mike is escaping and chases him off. While trying to escape he has one of his hands cut off when the villages capture him, this last chance moves us to the final shocking torture scene. These are indeed gruesome scenes that we were warned about. Pat is brought out and large hooks are stabbed up through her breasts and she is left hanging to bleed out and die. Poor Gloria has to watch. At this same time the plane with a government agent and Mary Stanton is circling the area looking for the village. Asswipe Dickless One Handed Mike is put in a head grip and macheted exposing is coke addled brain for feasting upon. So much for that coked out loser.
The nice villager helps Gloria to escape and she is found by a couple crocodile poachers and makes it back to NYC. The final scene we see her receiving her PhD after completing the thesis. Does she tell of the cannibalism or not? The film has some things going for it, it to an extent has things from early in the movie connect to things later on. The message that the cannibalism is a response to exposure to those from the "civilized" world is decent and presented reasonably well. Still there was a bunch of animal planet footage thrown in to extend the movie. The gross out scenes were few and far between and compared to what can be seen in modern film making are pretty tame. Then there is the fact that most of the characters are just not very likable. Even our final girl is not very nice although she is no where close the the horror of Asswipe Dickless One Handed Mike.
Rating (4.6) 5.0 and up are recommended, In the Zombiegrrlz system Skip It!

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