Director: Alain Derulle
Screenplay: Julio Perez Tabernero, H. L. Rostaine
Starring: Silvia Solar, Gerard Lemaire, Pamela Stanford
Duration: 93 min
BBFC Certification: 18
Due to a mix up I was sent Cannibal Terror to review instead of my first choice, The Green Inferno. After sitting through what is quite possibly the worst film I’ve ever seen, I could hear Johnny Rotten’s infamous refrain running through my head – “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”. I did.
Cannibal Terror is one of the official video nasties of the early 1980s and like a lot of the titles on that infamous list really didn’t deserve to be banned as there is nothing even remotely shocking about it. The film begins with two dim-witted thieves bungling an attempted robbery of a yacht. Meeting up with their glamorous female colleague in a bar they hatch a plan to kidnap the young daughter of a wealthy tycoon. After grabbing the girl they head to the jungle to hide out.
In the jungle they meet up with a contact who drives them across the border. Soon the jeep breaks down, and as she leaves to get help she is attacked by a group of cannibals who take her back to their village to feast on her. The crooks don’t seemed fazed by her disappearance and soon drive to a remote house to meet the man tasked with hiding them – at no point is there any explanation to how they got the jeep fixed. Soon after they arrive, their host decides to go away on business for a few days leaving the crooks alone with his young wife. Within minutes she takes an outdoors bath for the obligatory nude scene whilst being watched by one of the fugitives. He then chases her into the woods, ties her to a tree and proceeds to rape her.
When the husband returns from his business trip, he discovers his wife still bound to the tree, frees her and promises to take revenge on her rapist. However, the next scene shows them laughing, happily drinking together and partying the night away. Before too long, the kidnappers and the little girl are on the run in the jungle being pursued by various characters, including the girl’s parents and a local border guard and are quickly captured by cannibals.
Cannibal Terror was directed by Alain Deruelle using the the alias Allan W. Steele and was a production by French sleaze purveyors Eurocine, the company behind the truly atrocious Zombie Lake. If you’ve seen that little gem of shittiness, then you know what to expect with Cannibal Terror – the plot is stretched out way beyond tedium, the acting is more inept than a primary school nativity play and the dialogue is worse than that found in your average porn film. The English dubbing is also some of the worst I’ve heard with a grown woman voicing a 6 year girl and making no effort to sound like a child.
And then we have the cannibals themselves. Not only are they barely onscreen during the film’s brief running time, they are the most sorry looking, inauthentic bunch ever assembled. They are all clearly a load of blokes rounded up from some local town on the coast of the south of France, where the film was clearly shot. They are all Caucasian, have typically 70s haircuts with matching sideburns and you can even see their underpants beneath their grass skirts. Of the few children in the village, one of them is wearing trainers and there doesn’t appear to by any women in the tribe. The jungle is obviously a sparsely wooded area somewhere in Europe with neatly mown lawns and the occasional potted palm tree, and during the climax you can see cars driving by in the background. Stock footage of monkeys and parrots do little to convince the viewer of the supposed exotic location.
The scenes of cannibalism are few and far between and equally poor. A pig’s carcass is used with no effort made for it to resemble a human body. The cannibals are then required to cut open the flesh and pull out the innards, with none of them keen on putting the offal anywhere near their mouths. In fact the production is so cheap, that a lot of shots are reused throughout the film. And don’t get me started on the cheap plastic skulls that were picked up from the local joke shop!
88 Films have discovered some forgotten gems in recent years and give them the lavish releases, but with Cannibal Terror they are clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel. It doesn’t have the best remastering job as there is some dirt from original film apparent at times as well as the “burn marks” used to signal to the projectionist to change reels. That being, said considering the quality of the film itself, the transfer is more than satisfactory.
The extras are unsurprisingly sparse, consisting of deleted scenes and one documentary. However, the documentary, That’s Not The Amazon! is the highlight of the package. Running at 47 minutes, it looks at the history of production company Eurocine’s exploitation releases. It is a great little documentary, but it’s a shame it is attached to such a poor film.
So, in conclusion, Cannibal Terror is a great example of truly inept filmmaking and I can only recommend it to video nasty completists.
Cannibal Terror is released on Blu-ray by 88 Films.