Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Cannibal Ferox DVD CoverA woman goes down to the Amazon with her brother and her best friend so that she can find proof that cannibalism never has occurred and is in fact just a cruel myth. But how do you prove a negative? Let’s say she goes down there and doesn’t see any cannibalism. What does that prove? Only that on that particular day at that particular time she didn’t see any. I was never real sure about whether she had thought through this whole thing as far as her research methods go, but since this is an Italian cannibal movie, I figured that the point would be moot soon enough!

Once in the Amazon, their jeep gets wrecked so they have to hitchhike through cannibal country. The movie also periodically shifts back to New York City where a drug deal has gone bad and everyone is looking for Mike Logan. Mike is some goof who runs drugs with a buddy of his and they’re hanging out in the Amazon looking to steal emeralds from the natives.

The three hikers see a native impaled on some spikes and then run into Mike and his buddy who has been wounded by the natives. Mike spins some bogus tale about how they were attacked by the natives for no good reason. That they then all go back to the village makes no sense.

If Mike’s story was true and he had been brutally assaulted by these cannibal Amazon warriors, why would he go back to their village and hang out for a little while to see if his pal can get better with a little bed rest? The only thing Mike would see from me after telling his story is my ass heading in the opposite direction of that village!

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But our three young people think that taking a little R&R in this village would be just grand. The old people in the village just give them dirty looks and they all wonder why. Even more mysterious is that all the young villagers are nowhere to be found. Then Mike’s pal begins to die and spills his guts (figuratively, he literally does it in a little bit) about what really went down.

It turns out that Mike is a psycho who gets all jacked up on coke and does some crazy stuff. He wants emeralds from the natives, but they don’t have any so Mike ties one up to a stake to see if he can jog this dude’s memory.

Then Mike gets a little out of control. He cuts this guy, digs his eye out with his knife and then castrates him. Then he leaves him there to die. The natives are unamused.

After spinning that yarn, Mike’s buddy croaks. The natives open him up and eat his guts. Finally, the hikers decide that maybe this isn’t the best place to hang around. They’re just a little too late because here come the warriors back from the jungle and they seem a bit put out about Mike’s enthusiastic questioning of their fellow native.

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So Mike and the three of them are taken prisoner. Mike is tied to a stake and he gets castrated. A pee pee for a pee pee. That’s the law of the jungle! (They cauterize it so he doesn’t die which I thought was considerate.)

Then they get taken down the river for some reason and the anthropologist’s brother decides to make a break for it. He gets a spike in the leg, runs into a piranha attack, and gets shot up with a poison dart for his trouble. He’s probably had better days.

Back at the village, the women are put in a hut with only a hole in the ceiling being the way out. A bloody heart is lowered to them to eat, but they spaz out and refuse to eat it. But most horrifyingly of all, they begin to sing!

The movie is headed for the home stretch so they pick up the pace on the gore. Mike gets his hand chopped off, his skull opened up, and his brains eaten! Remember when he thought having his pecker whacked was the worst thing that would happen that day?

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While all this is going on and the anthropologist is watching her friends get eaten, you can bet she’s thinking about how it turned out she was all wrong about her “cannibalism is a myth” theory. “I’ll never get my Masters Degree now!”

Some people from New York track her down somehow and she escapes and makes it back to civilization. She then gets her Masters Degree for proving that cannibalism was a myth!

But how, you ask? She just tells everyone that their canoe tipped over and everyone but her was eaten by crocodiles and so she proved there was no such thing as cannibalism!  The critics are right. This movie is disgusting. Because it endorses academic dishonesty!

The other reason this movie is a vile piece of trash is the violence visited upon animals. Like so many otherwise upstanding Italian cannibal movies, there are a number of scenes showing animals getting slaughtered. There’s no reason some animal should get killed so that Umberto Lenzi (Eaten Alive, Nightmare City) can make his stupid, pointless cannibal movie. How am I supposed to enjoy all the castrating, dismemberment, disembowelment, and scalping when stuff like that is going on?

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