DVD Review – Cannibal Ferox (Siren)

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This icky hypocritical little bastard reared its seedy little head in 1981 and comes courtesy of Italian director Umberto Lenzi, the guy who apparently started the Cannibal exploitation genre in the early seventies with Man From Deep River. For many in this questionable little sub genre the plots are remarkably similar. A bunch of cocky outsiders (usually Italian’ pretending to be Americans) trek into the jungles of South America and torment the natives until they push too far and the natives respond in the only way they know how: By sadistically torturing them and dining on their entrails. Cannibal Ferox pretty much sticks to the formula though develops a palpable sense of unease thanks to the morally questionable technique of engaging in a spot of animal snuff. So a baby alligator is disembowelled, a small furry hedgehog type creature is attacked and swallowed whole by an enormous boa constrictor, all for the benefit of the camera. The dull bleak grain of the film, a delightfully b grade Morricone esque soundtrack that mashes menacing chorals with 70′ funk and a certain hackneyed awkwardness of the scenes really do contribute to the foreboding here. So that when the inevitable torture scenes do come we’re already well and truly primed. But don’ think it’s all snuff and gore because as exploitation films love to do Ferox poses one of those delightfully “cinematic’ questions. “Who are the real monsters here?’ It then spends the next twenty-five minutes revelling in the torture and gore it flimsily attempts to condemn. So we’ve got a couple of castration scenes, a women stabbed through the breasts with hooks and suspended in the air, a few impalings, a hand getting chopped off and other assorted shenanigans that those cheeky cannibals get up to in the name of revenge. And of course don’ forget the entrail dining. As our Western heroes fall the natives disinterestedly scoop out a bunch of bloody organs and start chomping. . The special effects here range from fantastic to incredibly average and unconvincing but it all contributes to making Cannibal Ferox great dinnertime viewing for the whole family.

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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