IT CAME FROM 1980x: Cannibal Terror – Aesop’s Fables for Kidnappers

What can I say about the cannibal subgenre that stormed Euro cinema during the 70′s and 80′s? I love ‘em. I love ‘em when they’re good. I love them when they are not so good. I love them when they are an excuse to put naked women on the screen and cover them in Crayola paint (or reasonable knock off). There are very few that I dislike and most of the ones I dislike came about toward the end of the late 80′s as knock-offs of the best knock-offs that the subgenre ever produced. I’m looking at you Green Inferno (not the soon to be released Eli Roth homage picture either). Today we’re here to discuss Cannibal Terror, a Euro-Cine picture distributed by Severin Films and full of exploitation gold. Hope you brought your appetites because 1980x is going to the jungle, hungry, horny and ready to eat your face off (or other reasonably seasoned body part of your choosing).

WARNING. THIS ARTICLE IS BANNED IN 31 COUNTRIES.

(Just not the one you’re in).

Check out the trailer:

So some guys kidnap some people and when the heat gets to hot, they go to the jungle to escape… and get eaten a-fucking-live. What the Hell did you think was going to happen? You don’t watch cannibal flicks because they are intellectually stimulating and any truly cerebral analysis done on the subgenre can safely be avoided. That is unless of course you ‘re me, and I prefer the nutritional facts on my skin sack. What starts off as a slow romp through the city ends in a drawn out move to the jungle. Expect no twists, surprises. Expect blood. Hope for boobs (I assure you that you’re wish will be granted). Get to the end of the movie and then watch another one.

Now some years back I did some pretty hefty lifting during an Italian Week at another site. I created a rather intensive list of cannibal films, watched them all and even included a non-Italian flick or two in the mix (accidentally). During that time I realized that it was perhaps my favorite of all Italian cycles. There was purity in it. The tropes are clear and reliable. You can anticipate the animal killing well in advance of it actually happening so you can cover your hippie eyeballs. You can wait for the vagina to try to eat you, or you can simply hit the fast forward and queue up the labia majora to contentment. No one will think you a perve. This is a CANNIBAL movie. One of the last great mores of our time. Incest… eh… everyone’s watching Bates Motel and ready for Norman to shtup his mommy. Necrophilia… go watch a vampire show… True Blood? Twilight? They’re fucking dead people all the time on your own TV! Don’t quibble with the “un” dead part. Don’t you even think it. Eating people grosses people out. Sure you’re watching Hannibal and thinking how sexy it is to eat “fois gras a la human insides”, but you’re stomach is turning. You’re reaching for the damn vomit pale. You simply aren’t that tough. We’ll save the discussion of the roast beef sandwich, Traces of Death viewing for another occasion.

Cannibal Terror is beautifully gory though it’s barely as gory as it’s counterparts of the same year. Do not expect Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox. Expect a lighthearted food fest. Plenty of teeth thrust at the screen with real animal innards straight from the butcher with gallons of the fake red stuff to give it some character. The natives are hungry. Farmer Vincent would obviously be proud. Cannibal Terror brings nothing new to the table. That should be refreshing to you. We want nothing new in a cannibal movie. We want the bloody to be bloody and the meat to be raw.

Now remember I said I did a little retrospective series on Italian cannibal films? Well, I did. One of those movies was a little picture called White Cannibal Queen which is also called Mondo Canibale. Great title. Either one. Of course it’s a Jess Franco movie which means unless it was produced by the Italians, I had incorrectly labeled it truly Italian at the time. Of course there’s some crossover in many European films during this period so don’t rape me with a giant spear just yet.  Clearly I have no clue… that’s why I gave myself the title of Doctor, motherfucker. Putting letters after your name is easy. You can become a reverend online. I digress.  Here’s my little excerpt about Mondo Canibal aka White Cannibal Queen. Then we’ll talk about why that’s relevant. Full article available HERE.

We’re talking the lowest quality, worst acting, but maybe… just maybe the most fun you can have watching a cannibal flick, and it’s a Jess Franco flick no less (so that means it should almost be porn right?) I don’t fully understand how I can give this movie any notes at all. Thing is the initial boat attack scene has some music that just creeps me out in that 80′s, overdramatic way.

Your cannibals have makeup that may have inspired by King Diamond or the black metal band, Immortal.  You see these guys eaten before your very eyes, covered in KISS makeup. Who needs KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park when you have KISS dressed up as cannibals and eating each other? I mean, is this artistic? Is this pretentious? It’s definitely Franco.  I guess the real question is where do you find these colors in nature?

Nothing quite like slow motion gore. This is where Cannibal Corpse got their song lyrics or must have inspired the band to choose a name with “cannibal” in the title. I’m sure they really didn’t find influence from this picture, but I bet you the band Necrophagia did.

Observation:  You are a cannibal. You eat human flesh. You wear a loin cloth?

Jess Franco had a vision of the next big wave in cannibal theatre. It went something like this. All gruesome deaths will be unintelligible/viewable. They will look scrambled which will allow our effects team extra coffee breaks as dictated by the union. There will be bad gore effects.  Gore was just the Vice President of the United States in the mid-90’s. Strange screaming not unlike cats mating is a must for any production. There’s nothing more annoying than mating felines.  Also of note:  Was that cannibal wearing a seashell necklace? Is this the Disney of Cannibal flicks? Is there a mermaid cannibal named Ariel in Franco’s future? (nobody mention Mermaid in a Manhole… this is Italian Horror Week). Is this where Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom got its ending from? All valid questions which this movie superiorly raises and never truly answers.

Heart: It’s not just for breakfast anymore.

The reason I mention the Franco film of 1980 is that supposedly many scenes were used in both White Cannibal Queen and Cannibal Terror. Yes, I see the scenes in question. They share plot points. They still feel completely different. The music in Franco’s classic is haunting. Cannibal Terror… not so much. Cannibal Terror features a sequence where a romantic love-making sequence is juxtaposed with a tied to a tree rape scene… How is anybody supposed to whack off to this shit!? Of course this whole sequence after a stunning, voluptuous woman sponge baths herself (vigorously I might add). You don’t know whether to drop your pants or chop your yarbles off (and eat them). White Cannibal Queen is a better way to watch many of these gore sequences, but there’s something to be said for a nice sponge bath.  The way you know that you want to watch White Cannibal Queen in lieu of Cannibal Terror is easy. You know who Jess Franco is. You have no idea who Alain Deruelle is (if David Z. of Tomb it May Concern is reading this… shhhh). 

To give you a quick run down of the great connection to horror cinema:

Silvia Solar was in The Devil’s Kiss and Night of the Howling Beast.

Pamela Standford was in The Sexy Sisters (by Senor Franco) and Exorcism (by Senor Franco)

Olivier Maithot was in both Cannibal Terror and White Cannibal Queen (the juicy, bloody plot thickens) and also appeared in Captive Women 4 as well as Zombie 5.

This sorta Video Nasty is good for the cannibal fans. Cannibal movies get the banned label simply for being cannibal movies. Isn’t that racist? Or prejudice based on nationality or something… like totally for sure for sure. This is not good for the non-cannibal fans. Most of you will find it boring. I found it riveting. I also ate pretzels while watching it though I really wanted a Slim Jim. Ce la vie.  No meat for Dr. Jimbo.

Make sure you check out all the Severin Films titles HERE. They’ll give you obscure titles with  minimal features. No frills. Watch the movie or get the fuck outta town.

Keep your heads clean, and you’ll never be mean. (If that doesn’t work for you, just imagine Pamela Springsteen saying it, m’kay?).

-Dr. TERROR

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About Jimmy Terror

Dr. Jimmy Terror, more commonly known as James P. Harris, has been “writing your eyes” shut since 2010 with his horror themed blog, Dr. Terror’s Blog of Horrors (whose name is a play on words derived from the Amicus film, Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors). In the early 2000’s he fronted the band The Vaudeville Vampires, a short-lived "Horrorabilly" band which saw the creation of a catalog of horror related songs before disbanding (with only one, six song demo ever being produced and distributed). He has had only one on screen appearance to date in the horror short, Ocean Parkway, as maniacal, gloved killer with a hair fetish. Having done some un-credited, behind the scenes work in some low budget genre pictures, he is currently working on his first foray into screenwriting with a demonic, retro gore entry that pays homage to Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento as well as other Italian masters of the genre.
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