Hey there horror fans! It's your friendly neighborhood Exploitation Master Tony here to bring you another unholy list from one of the most brutal sub-genres in existence! This time, I'm bringing you my top picks from the Italian Cannibal Boom of the 70's and 80's, so prepare your stomachs for some unsavory violence and insanity! Also prepare yourselves for some uncharacteristically happy scores to accompany said violence, because Italian directors can't decide if they want more camp or horror, so they do BOTH! Beware of gory and explicit content including pictures and vivid descriptions! Without further ado, let's go deep into the jungle!
#6: Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)
Let's start things off light with this action flick from Antonio Margheriti (No, not THAT ONE) and starring the fairly recurrent Giovanni Lombardo Radice and the most excellent John Saxon! Cannibal Apocalypse is the tale of some Vietnam War veterans who come back to America with an insatiable hunger for their fellow man! Why are these soldiers suddenly turning their teeth on their friends and families?! WHY are they suddenly and irreversibly ADDICTED TO FLESH?! WHY haven't you guys seen this already?! The movie is notable for its eerie plot, not-so-subtle PTSD referencing, and arguably the most 80's opening scene of the bunch. You'll know what I mean when you WATCH IT HERE! You didn't really think I'd leave you without the means to watch this exploitation gem, did you?! Just don't expect any Oscar-nominated performances and you'll love it! What could possibly be better than this?!
#5: Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978)
Sergio Martino directed Mountain of the Cannibal God in 1978, and this is one of the more "pure" Cannibal exploitation films around. By that, I mean it has all the elements which I consider to be the cliches of the sub-genre. This flick has booby traps, Mondo-style nature shots, a deadly (and VERY campy) trek through the jungle, a tribe FULL of stereotypical cannibals, and unfortunate instances of genuine animal cruelty. Oh, and LOADS of NUDITY and GRAPHIC VIOLENCE. You can't have a Cannibal exploitation film without T + A, ladies and gentlemen. Stacy Keach and Ursula Andress star in this sleazy jungle movie about an expedition that is searching for, you guessed it, the "Mountain of the Cannibal God", or "Ra Ra Me", as the natives call it. This flick has everything you could want from a fun low-budget movie, and delivers in all departments. This entry is notable for its cult following and its prevalence as one of the premier pre-Cannibal Holocaust sub-genre entries. You know I love you, so ENJOY IT HERE! We've seen some pretty crazy stuff so far, so we might as well soldier on!
#4: The Man From Deep River (1972)
At the fourth spot sits the one that started it all! The Man From Deep River is credited as the first movie of the Cannibal Boom, and the one which set the trend, and it all comes from the warped mind of Umberto Lenzi, who would go on to direct two more Cannibal flicks (Eaten Alive! and Cannibal Ferox, neither of which are in the Top 6) and garner global fame (or INFAMY, depending on whether or not you're asking the BBFC) in the world of obscure cinema. Ivan Rassimov, one of my personal favorite regulars in this sub-genre, stars as a man who gets captured by a native tribe in Thailand and is forced to endure tortures and witness their barbaric rituals while acclimates to his surroundings and attempts to get home. The movie is surprisingly tame compared to the films which succeeded it, including and ESPECIALLY Lenzi's other entries, and the story is pretty damn good, if you can look past the borderline-plagiarism of 1970's A Man Called Horse. Don't be caught off guard though! There's still an indecent amount of violence and nudity to go with it! This entry is certainly worth a look, but you'll have to seek it out because there isn't a reliable link on YouTube! What could possibly surpass the original Cannibal flick?!
#3: Last Cannibal World (1977)
Now we begin the back half of the list, and coming in third is director Ruggero Deodato's first attempt at a Cannibal film, Last Cannibal World. Were the first three too tame for you? Prepare to turn the sleaze and brutality up a few notches! Massimo Foschi and Ivan Rassimov star in this intense jungle thriller about an oil proprietor and his three comrades who go to check on his digging team, only to find that they've been attacked by natives! Far from their plane, the group must fight through the legitimately frightening cannibal tribe, dangerous wildlife, and bad English dubbing if they want to make it home! This entry is important to the sub-genre for two reasons. First, Deodato makes a truly tense movie out of the campy foundation which was laid by Lenzi. The cinematography is slightly better than the previous entries, and really lends itself to the impending doom faced by the team. Second, Last Cannibal World is significantly more gruesome than most Cannibal films preceding it, and this set an even more prevalent trend of extreme violence in movies of this sub-genre to come. Don't believe me? SEE FOR YOURSELF!
#2: Cannibal Ferox (1981)
The runner-up is none other than Umberto Lenzi's cash-in on the sub-genre HE STARTED, Cannibal Ferox. Of all the Cannibal flicks, this is probably the most overtly violent and brutal. Mutilation, massacre, and torture are par for this course as some dumb Americans exploit a native Amazonian tribe and get absolutely BUTCHERED. Special Effects students should take notes! This is some of the most shocking gore you can find in the annals of movie history. The story is pretty generic, and poor writing is abundant here, but what this film lacks in subtle storytelling it makes up for in HARDCORE nastiness. For your own good, don't eat right before or during this movie. Cannibal Ferox also wins the title for Most Pornographic Theme Song (A category invented by yours truly!) and Most Ridiculous Villain Death (WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK JUST HAPPENED?!), so there's some congratulations in order. With all that being said, let's look at the BEST OF THE CANNIBAL FLICKS!
#1: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Hey, I warned you about gore! Cannibal Holocaust is the most infamous of the sub-genre, and also by far the best, for good reason! Ruggero Deodato definitely delivered the ultimate in exploitation cinema with this one! Former porn star and Cannibal film regular Robert Kerman stars as an anthropologist who is sent to "The Green Inferno", a deadly section of the Amazon jungle, to find a missing American documentary film crew. He infiltrates the native tribe and finds their remains, and their unedited footage, and reviews the shocking frames along with the viewers. Let's just say that this movie was SO REALISTIC that the Italian government tried to bring Deodato up on MURDER CHARGES for seemingly KILLING THE ACTORS! Cannibal Holocaust is extremely effective as both a horror film and a commentary on violence in mass media, and it's also the ORIGINAL FOUND FOOTAGE FILM, so suck it Blair Witch Project!! The movie is absolutely disturbing, and if you choose to watch it, you will leave the experience a changed person. This is the most accomplished of the Cannibal sub-genre, and a milestone in cinema on the whole. If you want to read a more in-depth discussion on this flick, CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE!
Well friends, that's it! Now you know which Cannibal flicks to check out if you can stomach them! There are some others which didn't quite make the list but are still awesome, such as Cannibal Ferox 2 and Zombie Holocaust, so delve deep in your search for classic extreme cinema! Thanks for reading, don't forget to check out my other articles on my profile page, and as always, have a KILLER day! Muhuhahaha!