So now that I’m rested and ready to carry on, let’s pick up where we left off with Exploitation April. So far we have covered real life exploitation in Guyana: Cult of the Damned and sexual exploitation in Schoolgirl Hitchhikers. Now it is time to look at another staple of the exploitation genre, horror and gore exploitation. If there are two things that exploitation is known for it is nudity and excessive violence and nothing exploits these two areas more than the Amazon Cannibal Movies of the Italian Horror Scene during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
This isn’t the first time I have looked at the Amazon Cannibal Movies. For those who have followed me for the past couple of years, I took a look at Cannibal Holocaust. You will also remember that I judged it rather fairly, considering it a decent movie. So what if Ruggero Deodato had to prove in front of a grand jury that he didn’t kill his actors? The movie was still good. But today we are going to look at the cheap knock off of Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox. Directed by Umberto Lenzi, who is often credited as starting the Amazon Cannibal movies, Cannibal Ferox has the feeling of Cannibal Holocaust just with a fraction of the talent and a lot more sleaze.
The story follows three researchers traveling into the Amazon to study various indegenous tribes. Lead by Gloria (Lorraine de Selle) and helped by her brother Rudy (Bryan Redford) and her friend Pat (Zora Kerowa) attempt to prove her hypothosis that cannibalism as an organized practice, has never existed. As they venture into the wilderness, they come across two friends Mike and Joe (John Morghen and Walter Lloyd) who stirred up the cannibals by flat out torturing and killing them while Mike was coked off his balls. The rest of the movie follows these people as they are slowly eaten by the cannibalistic tribe.
Surprisingly Well Made
Umberto Lenzi is a good director. He can make some really sleazy shit, but he is a good director. Not only does Lenzi build an air of uncomfortableness by lingering on very disturbing imagery, but the writing (that is also Lenzi’s) is very much an interesting story if nothing else. The story of a woman who wishes to disprove cannibalism intermixed with a sleazy drug dealer from New York City. I don’t know how coked up Lenzi was when he made this movie, but that is a crazy and somewhat genius idea.
While the cons of the movie and the success of its competition have left Cannibal Ferox looking to be the red headed step child of the sub genre, it cannot be denied that Lenzi knew what he was doing when he made the movie.
More Animal Violence
I just don’t understand it… I don’t think anyone does. But for whatever reason a staple of this sub genre is the fact that the directing crew habitually and often killed animals in several of their shots. Like in Cannibal Holocaust where they killed and dissected a turtle, all of it featured in real time! In this movie several animals are killed for the sake of entertainment and it is rather revolting. Even the actors in the movie felt uncomfortable killing an animal so a stunt double had to be used.
What the hell? Why is this a thing? Why did several directors use this? This isn’t a one time thing, just about every single one of them features one animal actually dying. It is sick, revolting, and brings nothing to the movie but another level of sleaze that makes Guyana: Cult of the Damned look somewhat appealing in retrospective!
You will notice that through this entire film, I have made reference to Cannibal Holocaust and there is a reason for that. Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox share many similarities. Similar names, Robert Kerman is in both, both Amazon Cannibal Movies, both have animal torture, and both are considered some of the goriest films every made in the history of cinema. So the similarities to me feel justified, comparison is inevitable.
But sadly in this case the comparison between the two movies is not favorable towards Cannibal Ferox because it is simply a poorer quality. The movie is not as well made, it isn’t written as well, and overall it just feels sleazier and less notorious than its more popular foe. In a way, it is Cannibal Holocaust if you removed all the character and was left with only the sleaze.
Cannibal Ferox is not a great movie. It does some things right, but overall it doesn’t hold a candle to Cannibal Holocaust and due to the comparison, just comes across as a sleazier, lesser version of the movie. It is simply another movie in the Amazon Cannibal Horror genre that should remain unwatched unless you are craving some serious Clockwork Orange levels of ultra violence.
Final Score 2/5
Thank you for reading and as always if you enjoyed this review then please like and subscribe for more. Hopefully I will get paid tomorrow which means I’ll be able to make it to the movies for a new review. More on that Thursday and a new episode of The Nerdiest Talk Show on Earth Saturday.