Monday, July 1, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977)

Directed by Joe D'Amato, aka Aristide Massaccesi

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Hard to believe, but at one point the notion of lots of soft-core sex coupled with acts of cannibalism and grimy violence made for solid box office. The 21st Century prides itself on the extremes of “torture porn” horror films that cater to a select audience, when in the Seventies and Eighties films such as Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals shoveled mass amounts of nudity, misanthropy and mud to desensitized grindhouse denizens.

Make no mistake about it, movies like Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals would NEVER be attempted today. Rude, crude and socially unacceptable without apologies, if modern producers were to offer anything of comparable attitude, it would be immediately torn down by the politically correct police.

Not yet two minutes old, theme song and credits included a blonde gal in a New York mental hospital bites off and then eats the right breast of a lesbian nurse. “She deserved it,” one medical official says, “As she was abusing her for weeks.” Emmanuelle (Laura Gemser, who else?) fingers the poor cannibal girl in her hospital bed later that night. A tattoo associated with the Los Apiaca Amazonian cannibal group is found above the girl’s pubic region.

Determined to get to the bottom of all this cannibalism, Emmanuelle pledges a fact-finding trip to the Amazon, “But now, I want to make love,” she says in an impromptu bit of fucky-wucky by the New York City pier with a random male character. “I will be your Queen …. You are my King. I feel good; feel good now, happy like a cloud.” A love song intones, stealing a lyric or two from David Bowie’s “Heroes.”

Once in Amazonia, Emmanuelle’s jungle hosts assure her that the Los Apiaca cannibal group hasn’t been heard from in over 30 years. There are FIVE sex scenes in the first 30 minutes. Her expedition group is indeed a motley crew: Sister Angela, uptight nun, you know what’s going to happen to her; “dirty bastard” Donald McKenzie, frustrated hunter who preys upon the sleeping members of the expedition; and Professor Mark Lester, macho man of action. There are lots of scenes of the tiny expedition walking through the jungle, interrupted by sex, sex, sex. When the cannibals DO show up, the gore is flying. If there are audience members who missed the breast mutilations scene in the opening moments, rest assured it happens again with Sister Angela tied to a post in an especially tasteless, if patently fake gore scene.

It was all par for the course for director Aristide Massaccesi, an incredibly prolific Italian director who dabbled in all genres. He was capable of classic, Gothic horror in Beyond the Darkness (1979), Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973) and Anthropophagus (1980), but wasn’t above crankin’ ‘em up for a quick buck. As for Laura Gemser, the exotic, part-Indonesian sex goddess of European Cinema, she would carry on the Emanuelle name in many other features, all of it far removed from the Just Jaeckin original Emanuelle (1974) with the late, great Sylvia Kristel. The lithe Gemser was a turn on for some, but dismissed by others as having “the sex appeal of a booger” by others.

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals can be recommended for an evening of sleaze light. 


  1. One of Joe D's Best! Makes me happy as a cloud!

  2. I wish I could swim like dolphins swim and are happy like a cloud


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