Lamberto Bava

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Any horror fan worth their weight in shrunken heads, has at least heard of Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s infamous carnival of cannibal carnage, Cannibal Holocaust, and how its notoriety set off a mini-explosion of cannibal knock-offs during that same period. Not to be bested, City of the Living Dead helmer Umberto Lenzi wanted to see if he could equal, if not top Deodato’s, claim to ‘fame’, and the result was a nearly identical ‘homage’ to Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox (retitled under numerous names as most films of the period were but recognized mostly under the alternative Make Them Die Slowly).

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.You’ve got to hand it to the Italians; when it comes to mixing and matching hybrids, they go for broke, which makes for some of the goofiest, most unexpected plot twists and turns you’ve ever seen! Not content to simply settle for Cannibal Holocaust’s scenario of having ‘students’ going into the Amazonian wilds for anthropological reasons, Lenzi begins his screenplay as…wait for it…A CRIME THRILLER.

The story immediately starts off with a bait-and-switch, with a guy who we think will be a major character, until he’s promptly murdered by two goons in a New York apartment. Turns out they’re looking for a guy named Mike, who swindled them out of a lot of money, and unfortunately for him, they didn’t believe he had no idea where Mike was.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Enter the cops, as the murder case is headed up by Lt. Rizzo (Robert Kerman) and Sgt. Ross (Venantino Venantini). If Rizzo looks familiar, he should. Kerman also appeared in Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, underscoring the intentional similarities in the two pictures. But just wait…Lenzi encroaching on Cannibal Holocaust’s turf doesn’t stop there!

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cut to: somewhere near Bogota, Colombia. (Yeah, the transition is just that abrupt – get used to it!) Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle) has come here with her brother Rudy (Danilo Mattei aka Bryan Redford) and her best friend, the model/actress/free-spirit Pat Johnson (Zora Kerova), for something of a dual purpose. It’s for an adventure in the Amazon, sure, but Gloria is also a student of anthropology (shades of Cannibal Holocaust!), who is here to work on a dissertation that will disprove the entire concept of cannibalism and expose it as a myth created by colonialists who wanted to paint indigenous tribes as some kind of evil threat to more “civilized” people and, therefore, justify their extermination.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.It takes a while for the fun to begin— nearly the entire first act — as Gloria, Rudy, and Pat eventually make their way down the Amazon River and begin their trek into the jungle to find the village that is the center of Gloria’s intended research. The usual ‘antics’ take place along the way: a cute little — lemur? Anteater? I’m not sure what the hell it was, but it was given to Pat by a native on the boat trip— is horrifically crushed to death by an anaconda (and probably eaten later, off-camera); the jeep gets stuck; and they wind up having to make their way to the location on foot.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Dying screams of agony lead them to a clearing where they find the slashed and impaled bodies of another native man and woman, and wouldn’t you know it — here’s where our intrepid heroes run into…MIKE! As in the “Mike” everyone’s looking for back in NYC. Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, the iconic star of such Lenzi hits as House on the Edge of the Park and City of the Living Dead, billed here as John Morghen) runs into them with his wounded buddy, Joe Costolani (Walter Lucchini aka Walter Lloyd) in tow.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.When questioned by Rudy about what happened to them and the two dead bodies, Joe recounts a fantastic tale of looking to score some “really good shit” down here, when they ran afoul of a native tribe that enjoys snacking…on humans. He and Joe barely make it out alive, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. Having seen enough of these, it’s not hard for the audience to see from the jump that Mike is more full of shit than a livestock farm. Pat, however, is immediately intrigued. (I guess you know where THAT’S going.)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.The now-enlarged group of five finally does make it to Gloria’s village, but for the most part, they find it nearly deserted, save for a bunch of elderly indigenous men, some women, and a few kids…none of the young men around whatsoever. And things are just about to get a lot stranger…and dangerously awkward.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.

It takes a good little while to get to the “making them die slowly” part, but remember: it’s not about the destination, but the JOURNEY. Mike turns out to be an even bigger asshole than any of them realized, and it’s his actions that bring about the gruesome retribution from the natives, well-deserved or not. And unlike the jaw-droppingly realistic effects of, say, The Green Inferno, the practical and visual work here may elicit more giggles than screams from viewers since a 21st Century audience can’t help but notice how painfully “primitive” the bloodletting is. (Though it was probably anything but for moviegoers of that time period.)

The same thing that has many overly sensitive horror fans concerned about Cannibal Holocaust is present in Cannibal Ferox: the real-time, on-camera killing of animals. The anteater-thing that was Pat’s pet, as well as a large turtle that the natives dismember and eat ‘au naturel’, will probably be more of a turn-off to some than what happens to the humans. Yes, the anaconda sequence seems especially cruel, as it feels more like something set up intentionally by Lenzi in order to get some exploitative footage.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.But to be completely realistic about it, anyone who’s seen a nature documentary has witnessed everything you’ll see here in the way of animal deaths and worse. The butchering and consumption of the turtle are so matter-of-fact, you can pretty much tell that it wasn’t the first time the tribe had consumed such a meal and probably wouldn’t be the last. Yes, it’s questionable that something so unsettling should have been used as the basis for entertainment, but it’s a bit hypocritical to dwell on this as an issue if you’re going out after the movie for a Wendy’s Triple if you get my drift.

But back to the movie. The NYC/Amazon scenario split keeps you wondering if it’s all going to come together eventually in a way that makes any kind of sense, and I guess it does at the climax.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Whether or not Cannibal Ferox one-ups its Cannibal Holocaust predecessor is up for you, the viewer to decide. For my taste, it’s just way too close to call. The very “Seventies” message that the violent nature of “civilized” man is contagious seems rather quaint now, or way too obvious to take seriously from a film that — let’s face it — hasn’t aged very well. As expected, the scenery chewing and horrendous English dubbing job are present as usual, though no one can ever say the cast wasn’t up to Lenzi’s demands. Everyone gives their best, and Radice is especially hissable as the amoral Mike.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.As for the direction, Lenzi is very similar to his contemporaries — Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, etc.— in the way that nothing ever stands between him and telling the story. Crappy acting, substandard special effects, iffy locations, hiccups in photography and/or editing — none of it matters. You may scream, cry, puke, be repulsed or tickled pink…entertainment is the main objective, and there’s no way that anyone into the human fast-food sub-genre WON’T be completely captivated. And there’s something to admire in that determination and sense of commitment — even if it’s only good enough for grindhouses and drive-ins.

For never being boring and maintaining its promise of off-beat entertainment at the very least, Cannibal Ferox gets two-and-a-half leg-gnawing stars out of five.

MOVIE REVIEW: Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) (1981)

MOVIE REVIEW: Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) (1981)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Any horror fan worth their weight in shrunken heads, has at least heard of Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s infamous carnival of cannibal carnage, Cannibal Holocaust, and how its notoriety set off a mini-explosion of cannibal knock-offs during that same period. Not to be bested, City of the Living Dead helmer Umberto Lenzi wanted to see if he could equal, if not top Deodato’s, claim to ‘fame’, and the result was a nearly identical ‘homage’ to Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox (retitled under numerous names as most films of the period were but recognized mostly under the alternative Make Them Die Slowly).

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.You’ve got to hand it to the Italians; when it comes to mixing and matching hybrids, they go for broke, which makes for some of the goofiest, most unexpected plot twists and turns you’ve ever seen! Not content to simply settle for Cannibal Holocaust’s scenario of having ‘students’ going into the Amazonian wilds for anthropological reasons, Lenzi begins his screenplay as…wait for it…A CRIME THRILLER.

The story immediately starts off with a bait-and-switch, with a guy who we think will be a major character, until he’s promptly murdered by two goons in a New York apartment. Turns out they’re looking for a guy named Mike, who swindled them out of a lot of money, and unfortunately for him, they didn’t believe he had no idea where Mike was.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Enter the cops, as the murder case is headed up by Lt. Rizzo (Robert Kerman) and Sgt. Ross (Venantino Venantini). If Rizzo looks familiar, he should. Kerman also appeared in Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, underscoring the intentional similarities in the two pictures. But just wait…Lenzi encroaching on Cannibal Holocaust’s turf doesn’t stop there!

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cut to: somewhere near Bogota, Colombia. (Yeah, the transition is just that abrupt – get used to it!) Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle) has come here with her brother Rudy (Danilo Mattei aka Bryan Redford) and her best friend, the model/actress/free-spirit Pat Johnson (Zora Kerova), for something of a dual purpose. It’s for an adventure in the Amazon, sure, but Gloria is also a student of anthropology (shades of Cannibal Holocaust!), who is here to work on a dissertation that will disprove the entire concept of cannibalism and expose it as a myth created by colonialists who wanted to paint indigenous tribes as some kind of evil threat to more “civilized” people and, therefore, justify their extermination.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.It takes a while for the fun to begin— nearly the entire first act — as Gloria, Rudy, and Pat eventually make their way down the Amazon River and begin their trek into the jungle to find the village that is the center of Gloria’s intended research. The usual ‘antics’ take place along the way: a cute little — lemur? Anteater? I’m not sure what the hell it was, but it was given to Pat by a native on the boat trip— is horrifically crushed to death by an anaconda (and probably eaten later, off-camera); the jeep gets stuck; and they wind up having to make their way to the location on foot.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Dying screams of agony lead them to a clearing where they find the slashed and impaled bodies of another native man and woman, and wouldn’t you know it — here’s where our intrepid heroes run into…MIKE! As in the “Mike” everyone’s looking for back in NYC. Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, the iconic star of such Lenzi hits as House on the Edge of the Park and City of the Living Dead, billed here as John Morghen) runs into them with his wounded buddy, Joe Costolani (Walter Lucchini aka Walter Lloyd) in tow.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.When questioned by Rudy about what happened to them and the two dead bodies, Joe recounts a fantastic tale of looking to score some “really good shit” down here, when they ran afoul of a native tribe that enjoys snacking…on humans. He and Joe barely make it out alive, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. Having seen enough of these, it’s not hard for the audience to see from the jump that Mike is more full of shit than a livestock farm. Pat, however, is immediately intrigued. (I guess you know where THAT’S going.)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.The now-enlarged group of five finally does make it to Gloria’s village, but for the most part, they find it nearly deserted, save for a bunch of elderly indigenous men, some women, and a few kids…none of the young men around whatsoever. And things are just about to get a lot stranger…and dangerously awkward.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.

It takes a good little while to get to the “making them die slowly” part, but remember: it’s not about the destination, but the JOURNEY. Mike turns out to be an even bigger asshole than any of them realized, and it’s his actions that bring about the gruesome retribution from the natives, well-deserved or not. And unlike the jaw-droppingly realistic effects of, say, The Green Inferno, the practical and visual work here may elicit more giggles than screams from viewers since a 21st Century audience can’t help but notice how painfully “primitive” the bloodletting is. (Though it was probably anything but for moviegoers of that time period.)

The same thing that has many overly sensitive horror fans concerned about Cannibal Holocaust is present in Cannibal Ferox: the real-time, on-camera killing of animals. The anteater-thing that was Pat’s pet, as well as a large turtle that the natives dismember and eat ‘au naturel’, will probably be more of a turn-off to some than what happens to the humans. Yes, the anaconda sequence seems especially cruel, as it feels more like something set up intentionally by Lenzi in order to get some exploitative footage.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.But to be completely realistic about it, anyone who’s seen a nature documentary has witnessed everything you’ll see here in the way of animal deaths and worse. The butchering and consumption of the turtle are so matter-of-fact, you can pretty much tell that it wasn’t the first time the tribe had consumed such a meal and probably wouldn’t be the last. Yes, it’s questionable that something so unsettling should have been used as the basis for entertainment, but it’s a bit hypocritical to dwell on this as an issue if you’re going out after the movie for a Wendy’s Triple if you get my drift.

But back to the movie. The NYC/Amazon scenario split keeps you wondering if it’s all going to come together eventually in a way that makes any kind of sense, and I guess it does at the climax.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Whether or not Cannibal Ferox one-ups its Cannibal Holocaust predecessor is up for you, the viewer to decide. For my taste, it’s just way too close to call. The very “Seventies” message that the violent nature of “civilized” man is contagious seems rather quaint now, or way too obvious to take seriously from a film that — let’s face it — hasn’t aged very well. As expected, the scenery chewing and horrendous English dubbing job are present as usual, though no one can ever say the cast wasn’t up to Lenzi’s demands. Everyone gives their best, and Radice is especially hissable as the amoral Mike.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.As for the direction, Lenzi is very similar to his contemporaries — Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, etc.— in the way that nothing ever stands between him and telling the story. Crappy acting, substandard special effects, iffy locations, hiccups in photography and/or editing — none of it matters. You may scream, cry, puke, be repulsed or tickled pink…entertainment is the main objective, and there’s no way that anyone into the human fast-food sub-genre WON’T be completely captivated. And there’s something to admire in that determination and sense of commitment — even if it’s only good enough for grindhouses and drive-ins.

For never being boring and maintaining its promise of off-beat entertainment at the very least, Cannibal Ferox gets two-and-a-half leg-gnawing stars out of five.




Posted by Samuel Glass in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
The MAYHEM FILM FESTIVAL Brings Scares Aplenty To The UK

The MAYHEM FILM FESTIVAL Brings Scares Aplenty To The UK

Are you ready…for absolute MAYHEM? The Mayhem Film Festival descends upon Nottingham, UK, at the Broadway Cinema, October 11 – 14, 2018. Featuring some of the best of horror, sci-fi, and cult classic features and shorts, there’s going to be a wide variety of cinematic genre offerings that should keep everyone happy.

Quite a few of the menu items have been making the rounds at many of the festivals, with some of them even winning awards. You’ll find a few that have been reviewed here and some that are about to be in the very near future, including:

Mayhem Film Festival: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)Anna and the Apocalypse : A Scottish high-school Christmas zombie musical, this one’s been getting a lot of buzz lately, and MAYHEM will also feature a Q&A with Anna and the Apocalypse’s director John McPhail.

Mayhem Film Festival: The Witch in the Window (2018)The Witch in the Window: Canadian filmmaker Andy Mitton’s follow-up to Yellowbrickroad and We Go On, this supernatural chiller is primed to bring a lot of unhappy relationships together. For those families where someone loves horror movies but hates the PG-13 ones and has yet another finicky watcher who loves horror but ONLY if it’s PG-13, The Witch in the Window is that happy medium where everyone gets what they want. With a minimum of reliance on tired horror tropes and no gore whatsoever, The Witch in the Window specializes more in classic creeps, using the slow-burn technique to come to a heart-warming, yet also heart-breaking finish.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich continues to advance the beloved cult Full Moon Features franchise, with both fan favorites Udo Kier and Barbara Crampton on board.

Mayhem Film Festival: One Cut of the Dead (2017)One Cut of the Dead: Asian filmmakers have had their American brethren hanging their heads in shame (or they should be) with the way they’ve been managing to freshen up the tired zombie genre, with Korea’s outstanding Train to Busan and the quirky Chinese gut-muncher Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight. Now it’s Japanese co-writer/director Shin’ichiro Ueda’s turn, and if the other two are any indication of what kind of surprises to expect, you probably want to get your tickets to this one ASAP.

Mayhem Film Festival: What Keeps You Alive (2018)What Keeps You Alive: Even if you’re not familiar with Colin Minihan’s name, you’ve probably seen one or both of the films in the Grave Encounters franchise that he launched, or maybe his zombie-apocalypse-hits-Sin-City thriller It Stains the Sands Red. Based on his past work alone, his latest, a remote, woodsy horror drama sounds like another ‘must-see’ to add to your list.

Mayhem Film Festival: Nightmare Cinema (2018)Besides these films, there are also some debuts and other goodies worth noting. Nightmare Cinema is the much-anticipated horror omnibus from genre icon Mick Garris, who gave us the unforgettable Showtime shock-stravaganza Masters of Horror. Directors on-board this time around include Garris himself, Joe Dante, David Slade, and Ryuhei Kitamura (No One Lives, Versus, Midnight Meat Train).

Mayhem Film Festival: Mandy (2018)Mandy, the plenty-talked-about horror-on-acid freakshow starring – appropriately enough – Nicolas Cage – will infiltrate the Festival as well, and hopefully have tongues wagging just as much about its writer/director Panos Cosmatos, who also created the equally trippy Beyond the Black Rainbow.

And if One Cut of the Dead leaves you ravenous for more Japanese horror-goodness, you’re in luck. Making its UK premiere will be Shinsuke Sato’s live-action adaptation of the popular manga Inuyashiki.

And if this wasn’t mind-blowing enough, there’s also going to be a screening of the Lamberto Bava/Dario Argento collaboration from 1985, the crowd-pleasing Demons, and from Finland, The White Reindeer, a rarely-seen supernatural adaptation of a Finnish folk tale, made in 1952 by director Erik Blomberg.

More information about dates, times, the features and shorts, and where to get tickets, can be found at www.mayhemfilmfestival.com.

Posted by Samuel Glass in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
DEMONS 3D?!

DEMONS 3D?!

By Amy Mead

Demons Metropol

 Demons 3D?!  Are we headed back to The Metropol? Well, much to the excitement of many horror fans, rumors of a remake of the classic Italian horror film, Demons have recently begun to surface. It seems as though the films original creators are discussing it. And not just a remake, but a remake in 3D at that. 

Argento.  Bava.  Stivaletti.  If you are an Italian horror fan like myself, these are names you've heard before and in all likelihood, have come to know and love. Since the rumors began, many fans seem to be of the mind that at least it's the original team taking on the project and that they are all for it. I am not so sure. I cannot wrap my head around Demons 3D. Like at all. 

I was literally stunned into silence when I saw the headline pop up in my newsfeed last night. To put it simply, I was devastated. And when I was finally able to pick my jaw up of the floor, I also had to pick up the pieces of my broken heart. I know that sounds extreme, but those of you out there that know me, are well aware of how hard I nerd out when it comes to this film (and its sequel, Demons 2) and that it truly is one of my favorite films of all time. I love it so much that I have not one, but two tattoos to honor it. I am a dedicated fan and while it may seem like no big deal to most fans, (most likely due to the overwhelming amount of remakes that have become so common these days) I find it somewhat disheartening that the creators themselves feel as though this classic needs to be remade. Or that it can possibly be improved upon. Do they not see what a masterpiece it is? 

Suffice it to say that I do not share what seems to be the popular opinion about the potential remake. I for one, am less than enthusiastic about one of my all time favorite films being remade. Especially in 3D, man. Demons 3D? Can you imagine it? All I can see is what were once awesomely over the top practical effects getting drastically cheesed out and undersold with bad CGI and hokey 3D effects. UGH. Visions of cheap jump scares relying heavily on the 3D aspect are literally dancing in my head as I write this. And it bums me out hard. My son on the other hand is all for it and thinks it will be amazing, much like many of you out there seem to. 

I wish I could be as optimistic as the rest of you but I have seen the last few Argento films. They aren't good, and any true Argento fan knows it. Dracula 3D was so awful, not even a seasoned veteran such as Rutger Hauer or a topless Asia Argento could save it.  I am a HUGE fan of the man's work, but sadly, the revered maestro  has lost his touch and his last few offerings have left much to be desired.

Should this rumored Demons 3D project actually come to fruition, my only hope is that it will maybe garner a new audience for the many of the old school Italian horror films that so many of us love. The Italian horror sub-genre deserves wider recognition and respect so while I am not looking forward to remake, I am hopeful that it will possibly spark a renewed interest these forgotten treasures, as they truly are some of the best horror films out there. 

I've never really been a remake snob but I do feel that there are some films that simply just don't need to be remade, re-imagined or regurgitated.  For me personally, Lamberto Bava's Demons is one of those films. It's timeless, it's a classic, and it's a film that should stand alone. It does not need improvement by any stretch of the imagination.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way. 

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, HORROR NEWS, 1 comment
STEELBOOK REVIEWS: Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986)

STEELBOOK REVIEWS: Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986)

Synapse Films Nails It With Demons and Demons 2 Steelbooks

Review of Limited Edition Synapse Film
Steelbook Releases
Demons (1985) and Demons 2 (1986)

By Amy Lynes

Demoni 1 and 2 Synapse

Having been a longtime fan of both, Demons and Demons 2, I quickly went into hardcore fangirl mode when I heard about the pending release of their limited edition steelbooks from Synapse Films. From the pictures alone they looked absolutely stunning. I knew immediately that I had to have them. Not only based on the previous transfer and restoration work I had seen come from the talented folks at Synapse Films (and what they did with films such as Prom Night, Curtains, and Basket Case 2), but also because these films have seriously been among my favorites for YEARS. I love them.

Synapse-Films-LOGO

Not long after their release, I called Jerry Chandler (of Synapse Films) directly, and ordered one of each film. A few days later, they at long last arrived. I couldn't wait to tear into the box and lay my eyes on them. And when I finally did? They were totally worth the long, agonizing wait. They literally took my breath away. The outside artwork is incredible. I almost didn't want to unwrap them and have them as display only, they were that beautiful.

Very carefully, I removed the cellophane and opened the first film, Demons. When I opened it up, I found a replica of the Metropol theater ticket and more artwork on the inside of cover (of an image I absolutely love - I had gotten the exact image tattooed on my shoulder about two years prior) and a DVD copy of the film as well as the Blu-ray. I popped in the Blu-ray and kicked back to take it all in. I sat there speechless for the entirely of the film. The colors, the sound, everything about it was breathtaking and I was seriously over the moon that I had decided to make this purchase.

Synapse Demons Steelbook

After the credits rolled, I started in on all the bonus features. In addition to the ticket replica, there are plenty more. If you are a fan of Italian horror and names like Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, Octavio Dell'Acqua and Luigi Cozzi, then you really need to see/own this Synapse release. The interviews are very informative and are a must see for the diehard fans. There is also audio commentary with director Lamberto Bava, actress Geretta Geretta, Claudio Simonetti, and SFX make up artist Sergio Stivaletti.

A few days later, I finally got the chance to open up and inspect the Demons 2 steelbook and It's pretty much more of the same awesomeness and badassery. There is a replica of Angela's birthday party invitation and more fantastic artwork on the inside cover, as well as a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the film. I started the Blu-ray, got comfortable and once again, the sound, the color, and clarity were all truly amazing. I was glued to the TV until the credits ran.

Synapse Demons 2 Steelbook

Of course, I also had to check out the bonus features and they are once again a treasure trove for Italian horror fans, complete with English and Italian soundtracks, the original theatrical trailer, and interviews with Lamberto Bava, Roy Bava, Sergio Stivaletti, Federico Zampaglione and Soundtrack Composer Simon Boswell. And like all the interviews in the Demons steelbook, they are a must see for the diehards.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with what Synapse has given us with these steelbook releases and I am extremely happy that I was able to get my hands them, especially since they are limited to 3,000 each. I'm telling you, if you are an extreme fan of these films like me, these are pieces you have to have in your collection and proudly display.

Earlier in 2015, I discovered that Synapse had also taken on the restoration of three Dario Argento films, Suspiria, Tenebrae, and Phenomena (aka Creepers). Because of what Synapse has done with Demons and Demons 2, I am eager to see what they do with these classics from one of my all-time favorite directors.

I highly recommend these and I give them both a solid rating of 10/10.

Posted by Alan Smithee in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Jungle Holocaust (1977)

MOVIE REVIEW: Jungle Holocaust (1977)

Ultimo Mondo Cannibale

By Nick Durham

JunlgeHolocaust3
I've been on a bit of a cannibal kick lately. This is mostly because of the looming release of Eli Roth's much-maligned The Green Inferno, but in all honesty, that's beside the point. The cannibal film, much like the giallo, is a seemingly lost sub-genre of horror that experienced a boom back in the day, but has sadly been all but forgotten in recent years. Going back over the many cannibal films of years past, I came across Jungle Holocaust. Released before the more infamous Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, Jungle Holocaust isn't remembered all that fondly. However, there's good reason that Jungle Holocaust isn't as revered as either of its more well-known brethren...

...and it's because it fucking sucks.

Directed by future Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato, Jungle Holocaust tells the story of an oil prospector named Robert Harper who, along with a couple others, lands in the middle of the jungle. Before you can say "what's cooking", Robert runs afoul of a cannibal tribe that proceeds to capture and humiliate him, which ranges from being stripped naked to having his dick fondled (seriously) to witnessing the fine delicacies of cannibalism. There're also assorted moments of rape, animal death, and hilariously dubbed voices as well. This is a cannibal movie after all, what the fuck else would you expect?

Anyway, it isn't long before a native girl frees Robert (and gives him a handjob...before he rapes her later on...which she seems totally okay with...because reasons) and they're on the run, with the cannibals on their heels. Will Robert ever make it home? Do we even care? Fuck no, because he's so fucking unsympathetic that it isn't even funny. Granted I usually wish everyone involved in these films meets a brutal and gory death, but this guy in particular? Eat him. Eat him alive. Eat him until you're all full. Fuck, I'll carve off a piece, too, if I have to. I like to participate in group activities after all.

The only thing really notable at all about Jungle Holocaust is that Ruggero Deodato made this before Cannibal Holocaust, which I already mentioned. That's pretty much it. It's a shit movie plain and simple. Even the actual cannibal action is lacking. For a movie of its type, it is nowhere near as graphic or unflinching as others of its ilk. Well, then again, it does claim to be a "true story" (seriously), so I guess that's something?

Yeah, this is a true story...and those actors aren't dubbed either. I hope the handjob that the real Robert Harper (I can't believe I just fucking typed that) received in the jungle made the whole ordeal worth the trip. So, yeah, let's just ignore that shall we?

If you're new to the cannibal genre, don't put Jungle Holocaust high on your watch list. It's notable only because Ruggero Deodato learned his lessons from this as shown in the monumental Cannibal Holocaust a few years later, and that's pretty much it. Oh, and the look on the female native's face while giving the previously mentioned handjob is unintentionally hilarious, so I guess there's that too.

Fuck this movie.

Rating: 1.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 2 comments