Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cannibal Ferox

Cannibal Ferox (Make Them Die Slowly,Women From Deep River) Directed By Umberto Lenzi, Starring John Morghen (1981). 

Against all my better judgement I decided to rewatch Cannibal Ferox (or better known in the days when video stores existed on Thriller Video as Make Them Die Slowly). Why you ask, because it just showed up in HD form on Huluplus! Every time I watch this wretched film, I get a combination of nausea and guilty enjoyment because it's extremely ugly, racist and so offensive that it becomes surreal. The main reason to see it at all, rests on the shoulders of actor John Morghen. His lines, which are so wildly offensive have to be heard to believed, who else would throw the word "twat" in every other sentence or call every body shit face-- than this guy! Frank Von Kuegelgen does a great job dubbing Giovanni Radice (or Morghen), his performance is my favorite and usually in other films he's appeared in they always give his character a very effeminate voice.

If you have a degree in Fulci-economics than you'll be overjoyed to see half of his bit actors (from Gates of Hell aka City of the Living Dead and some Italian crime flicks) and similar nonsensical situations tossed in like a clump of maggots in a kale salad. But there's so much more to be excited about, we've got a piranha attack, underwater bamboo cages and racial dominance all in the sake of too much cocaine. 

I heard that there's Candy Apples on Monkey Island

Three collegiate chuckleheads venture down the river to a village named monyoka (some fictional jungle which is really Columbia) to do something something so idiotic as to prove that all History concerning cannibalism is just racist bullshit propagated by the history of colonialism and conquistadores. Anyone who's read about The Conquest of Spain knows that The Aztecs did eat people in their rituals and colonialism had nothing to do with gut munching. The scriptwriter (who's apparently Mr. Lenzi) obviously coked out of his mind, possibly just hates anthropologists and is condemning them with this film because they all come off like sub moronic turds! So yeah, dropout of college and get a job at Burger King would you or just invent facts ala-Foxs News, which makes this film slightly prophetic. 

You're saying this fuggin movie was ahead of it's time, excuse me while I die!

The HD quality magnifies the haze of grain on Lenzi's original vision (who would've dreamed that this would ever make it beyond VHS though). My favorite parts about this film are the silly lines spouted by the all dubbed cast like "Hey there's a jay walking igunana!" and other quotable favorites. This is a genre I detest and yet am thoroughly fascinated by.

The most heartless aspect of the film, which Skunkape and I saw long before the Deodato one is that it's basically Cannibal Holocaust on training wheels. Lenzi goes out of his way to copy that flick with the same senseless animal violence and just like Dr. Butcher used some of the cast of Zombie to exploit that film, some of the same actors from Holocaust re-appear. The first sign of trouble just after the tragic mongoose death (which is really uncalled for) is a googly eyed stomach eater hiding behind some leaves. Skunkape mentioned that the snake was full, so the mongoose didn't really die. Then Ferox gets really good as Mike Logan (Morghen) one of the most offensive but hysterical anti-heroes shows up, he carries a little sack of nose candy around his neck and pretends that cannibals tried to attack him and his "asshole" buddy Joe (Walter Lucchini).

Whatever I'm fine, is my hair OK?

They all kind of bond over all being New Yawkers(sic) on vacation and what led Mike to Columbia are emeralds and snow but Gloria (Larraine De Salle) and her crew never mention the retarded reasons they're there. Mike's bottom teeth pop out consistently as he talks about how cannibals ate his pals balls off and then Gloria hears the sentence echo in her mind. There are so many metal and hardcore bands that have sampled that choice line of dialogue --too funny! Pat (Zora Kerova) sleeps with a Mexican dude and post coitus says "Take a shower some time will ya?" Now here's another bit of uncalled for racist bullshit sprinkled throughout an all ready overstuffed shit sandwich--get ready for more, that's nuthin'!   

Everyone is super sweaty and grungey looking (they might look even worse in high def). I must commend Grindhouse Releasing for really packing on the extras into this shit flick classic (to steal a Gilpin-ism) and my favorite parts are the new psychedelic audio moments and overly loud gunshot sounds--the audio engineer went hog wild!  

Gloria after looking at the scared natives confirms right then and there-- OK, I've seen enough let's turn around, but nope, they have to stay because Joe "the asshole", Mike's pal gets sick and keels over. Logan, whacked out on blow, gets a hankering for some ultra violence and decides to fuck with the savages who all seem afraid of the Westerners. The natives are always Latin or Asian people in wigs smothered in white mud, they meet the animal death quota of boss Umberto by killing a big turtle and a crocodile --so fucking stupid I swear! Radice who cannot stand Lenzi (check out our video interview if you need confirmation) rips him a new one in the commentary, he tried to humiliate the actor into slaughtering animals for his project I'm guessing in the name of Neo-realism, whatever! 
I like the soundtrack by Roberto Donati (otherwise known as Budy Maglione), recently released on Oneway Static Records on vinyl and cassette with some amazing artwork and attention to detail check it out here. Years before, Skunkape let me dub his copy of the Blackest Heart Media CD soundtrack which had amazing tribute songs by Rok Opera, great stuff!
Is this really necessary?

They ramp up the hatred that justifies what occurs later to Mike Logan and it basically turns into a "Just Say No" to cocaine public service announcement. Because as everyone knows, booger sugar will turn you into a raving psycho that will rape innocent people and disembowel them, obviously, that's why it's bad for you!

Logan, who's wanted in NYC by a cop named Rizzo (Robert Kerman), no relation to the Midnight Cowboy co-star or the Muppet is on the lam! He keeps questioning Logan's blonde girlfriend about her beau's whereabouts. why Kerman decided to return for another jungle holocaust film despite his unabashed distain for the genre and Deodato in particular, always gives me the giggles (he appeared in Eaten Alive/Doomed to Die as well). Even though R. Bolla aka Robert Kerman hated these flicks, he's great in them and gives off a David Hess like quality of hostility even in these good guy roles. Once a rotten papaya shows up at Rudy and the gangs hut, it's all over for the cast and the last 34 minutes are a smorgasbord or mayhem and torture, starting with Morghen getting his dick hacked off and devoured! You may think to yourself, it can't get any worse than that for the poor fucker, but you'd be dead wrong as they fasten him to a lobotomy table and whack off the top of his cranium and reach in that skull bucket for some pink slimy brain treats--yum yum, a cannibal feast, invite over Screamin Jay and the Spiderbaby clan!

I'll have you know I injected my dick with thallium, Ha! Didn't expect that did you? 

A friendly cannibal takes sympathy on the gang but waits till the absolute bitter end until he steps in to help, I mean Zora Kerova's double breast meat hooks have already been inserted and she soon dies. Mike Logan, the selfish twat almost escapes (they cauterized his ballsack, so that he doesn't bleed to death and he hauls ass out of the village, but nope, they drag him back and finish the job. The tiny cannibal who helps Gloria escape looks like Nein Nub, Lando Calrissian's Mickey Mouse-like alien sidekick with a bad wig on. 

The commentary and behind the scenes stories are fascinating, almost everyone had an awful time acting in this wretched film and you get the feeling that something was off during the production, an all around unpleasant experience. Keep that patented Howard Scott Up-Chuck Cup handy! I have no idea why I like this film though it makes no sense and maybe I should reconsider things and get my priorities straight. It's funny how I have a long history with this cannibal flick and bought it on VHS from 16000 video for 2 bucks. Recently Eli Roth has decided to jumpstart this genre with his own love letter to Deodato and I have zero interest in seeing it.  


Blu-ray/Soundtrack on Amazon 


 Trailers that Smell & TOG's
Cannibal Ferox Trailer

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