Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Gloria Davis: "My thesis claims that cannibalism as an organized practice of human society does not exist, and historically, has never existed."
By Umberto Lenzi
With Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine de Selle and Zora Kerova

I watched this movie primarily because I tend to find 80's Italian horror movies pretty funny, they have a lot in common and are usually characterized by the over-the-top gore: their way of trying to market it as an American film with all actors using American names and of course, being dubbed in English!

Cannibal Ferox follows Gloria Davis, an anthropology student who wrote a thesis disproving cannibalism. For her research, she ends up in Colombia, in the amazonian jungle, with her brother Rudy and her friend Pat. They quickly discover mutilated bodies and stumble upon two other Americans -- one of whom is injured and the other, named Mike, who tells them the story of what happened.

If you watch Cannibal Ferox you are probably familiar with Italian horror already, possibly the work of Lucio Fulci or simply Cannibal Holocaust (1980).In that case you shouldn't be too surprised as this fits the cannibal exploitation genre perfectly. It is not trying to be smart or beautiful, but it sure is graphic. One thing it tries to do is to not depict the indigenous tribes as savages, a wise gesture on their part. You get pretty much the usual things you'll find in Italian horror: the gratuitous nudity, animals (possibly killing each other), the soft music, the extreme close ups... and the New York shots.

As I said, watching this, you know what you're getting into, so assuming you have enjoyed gore and cheap films before, this should entertain you. It doesn't hold the cult status of Cannibal Holocaust (labelled "the most controversial film ever made") but it's quite similar.

I liked: It's fun overall. Creative scenes and severed limbs. The jungle looks just as scary as the action. The English dubbing is really over the top with insults flying all over the place.

I disliked: The number of times a woman gets slapped in the face by a guy struck me as odd. I know there are weirder things happening in this movie, but this felt far more unnecessary than the rest. The music doesn't do much. All the animal killings.

I really think people watching this know exactly what they're getting themselves into, which after all, the movie doesn't disappoint in providing. It's not awesome, it's not the most scary thing you'll ever watch... But I wasn't bored at all.


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