Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cannibals (1980) - Review


Starring: Al Cliver, Sabrina Siani, Lina Romay
Here’s yet another grimy entry into the dubious cannibal subgenre – only this time Senor Franco is at the helm. ‘Specialist in tropical diseases’ Al Cliver travels to a remote jungle with his wife and young daughter and are ambushed by the world’s first Causasian, gold wedding-ring and sneaker wearing cannibal tribe (or maybe Cannibal Terror wins that honour). Cliver’s wife is chowed down in the first of many weird slo-mo close ups of the tribe chowing down on butcher’s scraps and his daughter is captured. Al manages to escape, but not before one of his arms is hacked off (thus having to spend the rest of the movie with an arm very obviously tied behind his back!) Years later, after overcoming amnesia, Cliver returns to the jungle with an expedition of underdeveloped characters in search of his long-lost daughter. After the rest of the expedition has been killed off, he eventually finds her – she has been adopted as the tribe as their ‘White Goddess’. Not to mention her remarkable transformation from a dark haired, olive skinned child to a platinum blonde woman with a fair complexion?!?! At first she is reluctant to leave but then she is freed when Cliver spares the life of the tribe’s leader. Cue happy ending music...
Slot this amongst the aforementioned Cannibal Terror, Primitives and Franco’s own Devil Hunter as one of the worst cannibal films ever made (and indeed this is one of Jess Franco’s worst in his hit-and miss career).Riddled with continuity errors, annoying shaky camerawork, awful muzak score and general Franco skeeziness, I honestly can’t think of one decent thing to say about it. Except that I’d wished I’d nabbed the now scarce Australian VHS tape back when you’d walk into almost any video store in Melbourne inevitably one of the first tapes you’d always see in the horror section was its garish orange and pink cover,  emblazoned with a $1 rental sticker, languishing forlornly on the bottom shelf gathering dust. Definitely amusing to see one of the most infamous ‘least-wanted’ video titles is now a valuable collectable!

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