Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Cannibal Ferox (1981)

"Make Them Die Slowly!"

Mike Logan and Joe Costolani, a thoroughly unpleasant pair of dope fiends are on the run from both cops and drug runners in New York and are attempting to source some top quality cocaine in deepest darkest South America. It’s not too long before our inept duo hook up with the touring trio of Gloria, Rudy and Pat. Gloria is out to prove that cannibalism doesn’t exist, her brother Rudy is essentially security and Pat… no idea. Pat’s role simply appears to be for no reason other than to shuck her togs and shake her booty at every possible opportunity!

Mike explains that their Portuguese guide was dispatched by nearby natives and they’ve since been high-tailing it through the jungle with a cannibal clan on their asses! Joe is struggling along due to suffering from a poisoned wound. An alpha-male kinda guy, it’s not too long before Mike assumes control of the group and is coming on strong to Pat – Gloria meanwhile is routinely referred to as “twat”!

Next morning in a mutual sharing of drug-fuelled, post-coital harmony Pat threatens to cut the breasts off a young native girl before Mike shoots her, showing his true colours. A while later Joe admits to Gloria and Rudy that it was actually Mike that killed and mutilated their guide in order to steal his emerald stash and after Joe succumbs to his wounds Gloria and Rudy decide to get Pat away from Mike and get the hell outta Dodge. Although they soon find that getting out of a jungle teeming with cannibals eager to chow down on some prime human ham is not as easy as it may seem!

The remainder of Cannibal Ferox plays out like the grand guignol relocated from the back alleys of Paris to the jungles of South America. Joe’s corpse is dug up and eviscerated for food, Rudy becomes piranha-chow before being shot with poisoned darts, Pat is hung high by hooks graphically thrust through her breasts and, somewhat befittingly as the real scum bag of the piece, Mike suffers the greatest – losing his hand, his cock and finally his cranium before his spilling brains are hastily gobbled up! And Gloria? Will she make it safely back to New York to finalise her thesis that cannibalism does not exist?

Having kicked opened the door on the Third World cannibal sub-genre with Deep River Savages (aka Man from Deep River) Umberto Lenzi pretty much slammed that door shut on the cycle with this ultra-nasty! Whilst Cannibal Holocaust may be the better film and Cannibal Apocalypse the more enjoyable to watch neither film comes close to touching the sheer brutality on display in Ferox, headed up by pasta splatter stalwarts Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine De Salle and Zora Kerova! Combining the typical mix of fake gore with the deeply unpleasant real animal slaughter footage prevailent in most - if not all - of the Italian cannibal flicks Cannibal Ferox continues to make uncomfortable but indispensable viewing for even the most jaded exploitation fan. My only real gripe with the movie is the relatively pointless subplot concerning Mike’s girlfriend and the cops that are searching for him in New York. Teaming up together they head into the jungle looking for Mike. If Lenzi was trying to make some point about the similarities between hunters and hunted in the concrete and emerald jungles then it was sure as shit lost on me.

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