ANTROPOPHAGUS (1980)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Joe D'Amato

Starring:
Tisa Farrow ... Julie
Saverio Vallone ... Andy
Serena Grandi ... Maggie
Margaret Mazzantini ... Henriette 'Rita'

Country: Italy
Runtime: 90 min
AKA: Anthropophagous: The Beast,
The Grim Reaper,
The Zombie's Rage
     

This film had been a Holy Grail-like quest object for me for years. I had heard so many great and not-so-great things about it that I was chomping at the bit to see it. I always found bootlegs of it at cons, but could never bring myself to buy it. What if it sucked? What if it was so revolting that I would hate myself for owning it? What if no one will watch it with me, and I have to suffer through a possible turd on my own? I tried to get Jorge to buy it, but he always turned me down (and yet he bought the incredibly painful Begotten with nary a hint of restraint), so I continued to feel left out of the gore club. But wouldn't you know it, I recently found this masterpiece at my local Blockbuster and finally got a chance to drink from the grail, which is actually not a wooden cup, but a metal bucket full of sea water and severed heads.

Directed by notorious Italian gore-met and future porn director Joe D'Amato, this wonderfully creepy film is definitely one to watch. In it some tourists decide to rent a boat and end up visiting a mysterious island where all the inhabitants have disappeared. They wander around for a while and then end up in this house where a mysterious journal answers the questions they have. It turns out a seemingly normal man was set adrift on a raft with his wife and child, and when hunger set in he ate the shit out of them, thus becoming a super cannibal maniac who has made short work of the entire island and is now targeting the succulent morsels that the tourists represent.

The film is well-known for being caught up in the Video Nasties era and for years uncut versions have existed. I couldn't tell you what version I saw, but I was certainly watching the film through the rose-colored glasses of hype. And I must say that I didn't need them. The film is not as graphic as most cannibal films, and if you really think about it it's basically a slasher film where the slasher eats his victims instead of simply hacking at them. There is a great bit of fetal-distress action ala Cannibal Campout in which they used the much-discussed skinned rabbit for, and there are tons of other great moments that I won't ruin here.

The point is that this film is classic Italian gore filmmaking and deserves to be in the top ten gore classics of all time. Don't expect a bloodbath, but you will be entertained, and the Greek location is just beautiful icing on the gory cake. This is just one of those infamous films that if you haven't seen, then you shouldn't consider yourself a horror fan...'nuff said.

- Jose Prendes

 

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