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'Anthropophagus' 1980 is considered to be a notoriously ultra-violent film and a landmark in Italian gore exploitation, hounded by critics at the time as well as being censored or even banned out right around the globe, 'Anthropophagus' has been considered one of the vilest films committed to celluloid, if only this was the case, the unfortunate reality is that 'Anthropophagus' is a film with a reputation that far exceeds the truth.
However even after decades of disappointed viewers watching this snooze fest, one cannot deny it does have some interesting and genuinely creepy moments.
The problem with 'Anthropophagus' is that it has a genuinely good premise and a story that is interesting, but the story has been stretched out to fill 90 minutes, which is a run-time that 'Anthropophagus' should not be, the film would be more suited to a 30 minute short.
The film starts out with a strong opening with decent tension but then slowly drivels along at a snails pace for a good hour before anything really exciting happens.
This is a film that had to have good violence and gore to keep the viewer entertained, but one of the films major mistakes is the length of time between each gore scene, they are not spread out evenly enough for the viewer to stay engaged with the ludicrous story and characters.
However, there is a certain charm and air of mystery about it that keeps it interesting even if all of the mystery leads to more questions than answers.
I genuinely feel that the script had potential, with cryptic layers and a self-proclaimed mythical aura, which interested me until I realised that it was going nowhere.
'Anthropophagus' spends an absurd amount of time with characters that are truly unlikable, and these characters have no business being in this film or any other film for that matter.
The acting and character development are so cringe worthy I actually felt embarrassed for the people on the screen.
The acting is wooden and the atrocious dialogue only heightens the irritatingly slow narrative movements.
All of the actors are dubbed, this is expected from an Italian film, however, all of the recordings sound like they were recorded in a hall or something and not in an actual sound booth, this is distracting and out of place with the music and effects.
The only actor worth their salt on this film is George Eastman, the films crazed cannibalistic scoundrel, Eastman's portrayal of Klaus the cannibal is utterly compelling and he genuinely looks and acts creepy as hell.
Now the gore…
For a film that has a reputation for being an early splatter film 'Anthropophagus' is very light, yes the cannibal does pull out a pregnant woman's baby and eat it, however with the inclusion of that scene and the film's final climax 'Anthropophagus' only has TWO stand out moments, which is not enough to make up for the rest of the film.
What I am telling you, is that the only noteworthy things in 'Anthropophagus' is the film's climax and the baby eating scene, the rest of the film is utter pointless drivel.
The strange thing about 'Anthropophagus' is that the cinematography is actually really well done, some shots are a little off probably due to budget and time restraints but the scenes that matter are filmed exceptionally well, with good composition and some excellent lighting.
It boggles me how they could get this aspect of the film so right and everything else so wrong.
However much 'Anthropophagus' is bad but there is something interesting about the film, it does have a charm, it's not so bad its good and it's defiantly not a good film, but there is something that grips you... The film is a clear example of a transitioning of 70's horror trends and 80's splatter movies, 'Anthropophagus' is caught between the two and feels lacklustre as a 70's horror but fails at being a gripping 80's slasher film.
Overall I give 'Anthropophagus' a solid 1 out of 5 stars to be perfectly honest this should only be of interest to Italian horror fanatics or those interested in the UK Video Nasties scandal of the 1980's.
'Anthropophagus' does have a special place in my heart as I always try and look past all of its badness and see the film that it could have been, as 'Anthropophagus' does have lots of potential, the film was just badly executed.
88 Films has recently added this to their collection uncut in the UK for the first time... and the Blu-ray looks and sounds gorgeous. 'Anthropophagus' has never looked better.
The disc includes a great documentary about 42nd Street which is well worth the watching if you would like to understand the grindhouse phenomenon as well as understand the history of the street, including some really great interviews with big name directors.