Thursday, September 24, 2015


For the past decade or so I've had a real guilty pleasure of seeking out classic exploitation films. Most of them are crap that haven't aged well, some are good, but there are a few that become gems. While it's not my favorite, CANNIBAL FEROX is a grindhouse gem!

CANNIBAL FEROX, or as it's known in the States, MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY was part of the short lived Italian horror cannibalism sub-genre. It's a good thing the genre was short lived because most of the films suck. But there are two masterpieces, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and CANNIBAL FEROX. Not only are these films great cannibal movies, they are excellent pieces of Italian genre cinema.

Now I wanna make something perfectly clear, I like gore, but not in the way you might think. For me it's more of an effects thing. I'm curious how they pulled off the illusion . But let's be honest, with the cannibalism films it is all about the shock and gore that make them popular. So why do I like them? If horror films are akin to roller coaster rides, then I'd say the Italian cannibal movies are the carnivals.

There are several reasons but the main reason for my guilty pleasure is the sleaziness. The fact that KILL BILL is my favorite film(s) has a lot to do with that. I also like how CANNIBAL FEROX actually went deep into the Amazon jungle to film. And lastly I just think exploitation films are cool.

Two New York City low life's rip off a drug dealer and head off to South America. We know this because the film starts off with a murder investigation in the Big Apple. Man, I love 80's New York City! Anyway, the very next scene is in Rio (I think) and we follow three friends taking a trip into the Amazon jungle to disprove cannibalism. The two groups eventually meet and become hunted by a indigenous tribe seeking revenge.

While on the run from the tribe, one of low life's spills the beans. He tells the group of friends the true story of why him and his partner Mike Logan, are in the Amazon. They stole money from a heroin dealer back in the States and fled here to hide. In Rio they met someone who had uncut emeralds and knew where to get more. Things didn't pan out and Mike, high on cocaine, went nuts. He killed a few members of the tribe, and the rest is history.

The tribe is out for revenge and everyone is guilty. And rest assured, they are gonna make them die slowly.

The first time I watched CANNIBAL FEROX it made me sick. Sick that I'd watch a movie like that. It didn't have quite the moral impact that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST did. But at least it's part of exploitation history and I have seen it, and I can move on. But I watched it a second time so that I could blog about it and get the movie out of my system. Then the strangest thing happened? I liked the film the second time around. The gore still makes me uncomfortable, but it has what I love about exploitation films. Or in this case, Italian exploitation films.

Let's talk about the gore for a moment because let's face it, blood and guts are what make these films popular. From a special effect stand point the gore is amazing. Unfortunately what isn't a special effect is the killing of animals (the main controversy of these films). And let me tell you, seeing a defenseless animal getting killed is far worse and super uncomfortable compared to fake gore. No matter how realistic looking it is.

The conversation on gore will continue when I blog about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Because in that film, I almost shut if off on several occasions. But much like the trooper that I am, I stuck through it. Which I'm glad I did because while the movie is what it is, there is a good message in the film. But like I said, more on that latter.

In all honesty I cannot recommend a film like CANNIBAL FEROX. Due in large part to the extreme nature of it. For me even the mere mentioning the film feels like dealing with contraband sometimes. This blog is more or less about me getting the film out of my system and acknowledging the sub genres place in horror history.

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