Sunday, 16 June 2013

Human Animals (1983) - review

Human Animals


Director: Eligio Herrero
Starring: Carole Kirkham, Jose Yepes, Geir Indvard, ‘Larry the dog’

A little-known and long-forgotten ultra-low budget softcore sex/’arthouse’/post-apocalyptic oddity, HUMAN ANIMALS somehow received international distribution in the mid 1980’s, including much to my surprise an Australian video release via K-Tel - now a scarce tape owned by very few collectors. In my years of haunting video stores I never once saw a copy of it. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was placed in the ‘Adult’ section of those outlets that did stock it (ala ISLAND OF PERVERSION).  A couple of popular genre writers (the late Chas Balun and Joe Bob Briggs) drew attention to the film with very contrasting reviews, Balun giving it a ‘double dog’ rating (I believe the only movie he reviewed apart from DEATH FACES IV to receive this ‘honour’), whilst a more generous Briggs rated it 3 out of 4 stars. Since then HUMAN ANIMALS has almost disappeared without a trace, save the very occasional, usually negative review, popping up on the world wide web. Despite reading the countless bad reviews and warnings about how mind-numbingly dull its meant to be (the film is completely dialogue-free), the premise and also the Australian video trailer always kept me intrigued enough to want to see it, and finally I’ve been able to (big thanks to Nzoog Wahrlfhehen of the Cinemadrome forums).

Two men and a woman, the only survivors left on Earth following a nuclear apocalypse (rendered by use of stock footage) find each other stranded on a remote island. After a long search, the three eventually discover a part of the island where fruit trees and wild animals have somehow miraculously escaped the apocalypse. They also discover a friendly German Shepherd, build shelter and are happy for a little while with their ‘utopian’ existence. The woman becomes the lover of both men but eventually tires of their constant sexual demands. Things sour between the trio and they regress further and further into a state of primal savagery, with the woman accosted by the dog (!!), and the two men embroiled in a grunting ‘survival of the fittest’ battle.       

Admittedly HUMAN ANIMALS didn’t turn out to be the irredeemable disaster I was expecting. Though by no means a classic and with a beyond simplistic story, the overall ‘bizarre’ factor kept me watching to the end, as well as the striking Lanzarote location scenery and landscape photography, and I found the music library culled soundtrack to be oddly effective, veering wildly from classical to synth to overblown wind machine effects. Out of the three thespians, Jose Yepes (a prolific screen and dubbing actor in his native Spain) is the standout, obviously attempting his best in an extremely limited role consisting of grunting, miming, fighting and simulated sex. Worth seeing as a curio to make up your own mind...

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