THE CANNIBAL MAN (1973)
posted 00/00/2010

Directed by:
Eloy de la Iglesia

Starring:
Vicente Parra ... Marcos
Emma Cohen ... Paula
Eusebio Poncela ... Néstor
Charly Bravo ... Esteban

Country: Spain
Runtime: 98 min
Original title: La semana del asesino
AKA: The Apartment on the 13th Floor,
The Week of the Killer
   
       
     

I picked up this DVD in California a while back because of the suggestive, graphic cover and title; The Cannibal Man. It was a close shot of a man’s face with a meat cleaver lodged in it. There was blood and exposed face meat. Then I read the back to see what the story was about. It goes something along the lines of a butcher who accidentally kills a man and it triggers dormant homicidal tendencies. He then kills half a dozen people over the course of a week and I guess he eats them.

Let me point out that the whole cannibal angle is misleading. Whether he eats his victims or not remains ambiguous. This film weaves an uncanny atmosphere and tone. It is very bleak, abstract, and simple. There aren’t many characters and there are maybe four settings used. Several key elements of the story go unexplained including the character development.

We are thrown into a poor neighborhood somewhere in Spain. Marcos works at a butcher shop that make beef soups and broths. He lives in a shoddy house with a substantial gap in the ceiling. A new high-rise has just been completed nearby and there is social tension between the working class and the rich folks. Marcos is a weird dude. The waitress at his favorite restaurant has the hots for him but he’s dating a gorgeous younger brunette. Some of his co-workers give him a hard time and he spends hours by himself. His romantic relationship feels unnatural and tense.

Marcos’ girlfriend gets attacked by a taxi driver and Marcos accidentally kills him by bashing his head with a stone. This sets off all the craziness that follows. His girlfriend demands they go to the police or she will break up with him. Unable to deal with the murder and unwilling to follow his girl’s advice he strangles her to death. Then one by one people show up at his door and he kills them. These include his own brother. How can someone just become a serial killer overnight? I watch a lot of non-fiction crime dramas on television and some people really do just snap. I never liked Marcos from the start but...a killer? I feel we needed more content to explain things.

He is also very stupid. Instead of disposing of the bodies immediately he keeps them inside his house, stinking up the whole place. Remember when I told you about the hole in the ceiling? Well this mysterious, young rich boy named Nestor has been spying into Marcos’ house from his high-rise apartment. He knows about everything and becomes friends with Marcos, maybe out of morbid curiosity. Their relationship is beyond weird. They go out for walks, drinks, and a swim at the pool. Marcos becomes aware of what Nestor knows and tries to kill him, but changes his mind. After violently killing six people you know what this bastard does next? He turns himself in. Your probably wondering about the relationship with Nestor. Well, so am I. We get no answers. I personally think Nestor wanted to bone him up the ass!

Some people actually liked this movie. They also admit it wasn’t a straight-forward horror film. When it was all over and the curtain closed I was simply not entertained. The director’s style was dry and plain. The killings were decent but the killer was a disappointment. Overall this movie lacks substance and meaning. There could have been so much more done to enhance the picture instead of leaving it to die of malnutrition in a ghetto. The director probably thinks he did a good job. He sucked ass!

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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