John's Horror Banana-nanza Episode Thirty-Seven: Cannibal Ferox
Umberto Lenzi's, um, unique, camera style and that old Italian practice of animal slaughter were in
full effect in this film, made simply to cash in on the success of a much better movie, "Cannibal
Holocaust." But if you want to compare Cannibal Ferox to Cannibal Holocaust, it's like comparing
"Aliens" to "Alien."
Where Cannibal Holocaust had a message, and worked hard to build to the shock, Cannibal Ferox
swings away with the violence, using odd but effective effects. The final attack on the main
characters is the most brutal, yet cartoonish, of the cannibal movie era.
But the story? Oh my. That's a laugh.
The movie opens up with porn music, or superhero music, or something. It starts in New York City,
which is exactly what Cannibal Holocaust did. But it follows what looks like a crackhead out of the
hospital, where he's cornered by mobsters and shot. The mobsters are looking for Mike, who owes
The cops show up with Robert Kerman, who seems to be all over the Italian Cannibal world. And
they pretty much accomplish next to nothing and waste our time.
Cut to the jungle, with some epic horror music. And the cut, well, it's not performed great. Our main
characters are trying to prove cannibalism isn't real for a thesis. I'm not sure how they plan on doing
this. I guess toss one of their party at the cannibals and see if they get eaten.
Along the way they run into aforementioned Mike, who's looking for cocaine. He's played by one of my
personal favorites in the Italian scene, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, who was also in "City of the Living
Dead" and "House By the Edge of the Park". He tells a story of his party being attacked by cannibals
and one of them having their genitals eaten. Good stuff. Very hammy.
After calling everyone in the party a "twat", we eventually learn that Mike tortured the tribe, then
was captured. Soon thereafter, everyone in the party is captured, and we find out that yes, in fact,
cannibalism does exist. Although it's brought upon the party by themselves. Some brains
are eaten, some darts are shot, and some breasts are punctured. Ouch. After an escape, we
have a farfetched ending that left me saying, "Yeah. Ok. Whatever."
This movie is a slap in your face, or a punch, I guess. It's as brutal a movie I've ever seen, but it all
seems forced, and comic book-ish. It's sort of fun, but the animal violence kind of kills that feel. And
Lenzi's crazy zooming with the camera drives me bananas. Not horror bananas, just plain bananas.
I don't recommend this to anyone except people who love hardcore gore, or love the Video Nasties,
because obviously, this is on the list. And rightfully so.