Once there was a movie called simply enough, Emmanuelle. Released in 1974, it starred Sylvia Kristel as a horny French gal living in Bangkok. Sporting such a powerful plot, the movie easily spawned about seven legitimate sequels. But this isn’t our Emmanuelle. You see our Emanuelle is known as the Black Emanuelle and if she had to sacrifice an “M” in her name to avoid being sued, she more than made up for it by ditching the French softcore style of the original for an even more trashy Italian style!
Black Emanuelle was played by Laura Gemser and the character managed to star in eight movies beginning with Joe D’Amato‘s Black Emanuelle. This particular Emanuelle is usually portrayed as some variety of reporter or magazine photographer and her assignments usually end up taking her into such traditional Italian schlock territory such as the cannibal-infested Amazon or a women’s prison.
The D’Amato directed Emanuelle And The Last Cannibals is listed as the third film in the Black Emanuelle series, but I counted at least twenty films in Laura Gemser’s body of work involving an Emanuelle of some sort, so maybe there is some international board of arbitration that makes the call as to what qualifies as an official entry in the series. Can you imagine having to be the one deciding that Emmanuelle on Taboo Island, Emmanuelle Goes Japanese, and The Degradation of Emanuelle didn’t have what it took to qualify?
After squirming my way through this one like I caught a bad case of whatever it was that one of the last ten guys that “co-starred” with good old Black Emanuelle must’ve had, I was wondering if there was an appeals process I could use to go before the board and get this movie booted from not only the Emanuelle mythos, but more importantly, from the Italian jungle cannibal genre.
Why are the only cannibals I see in this movie for the first hour from some grainy film a professor is showing Emanuelle back at his swank bachelor pad in a pathetic (but strangely successful) effort to get her in bed? And why are those cannibals from Africa instead of the Amazon? And why is there close up footage of them whacking a guy’s dingus off with a machete?
But before Emanuelle is proving to us how easy she is in the apartment of some square she just met, she was proving to us how sleazy she was while she was undercover in a New York City mental hospital for the magazine she worked for.
An incident occurs at the hospital that sets her off on her trek to South America in search of some cannibals. A patient attacks a nurse and eats her breast and Emanuelle sneaks into her room and sodomizes her (don’t even ask – it made no sense except that Joe D’Amato must have had it in his contract to feature at least one gratuitous sex act every nine minutes) and discovers a strange tattoo on this girl’s stomach.
Back at the magazine, Emanuelle gets tipped off that the tattoo is the marking of some ancient tribe of cannibals from the Amazon that supposedly died out a long time ago. She joins up with this professor named Mark Lester (though the way he was all over her, you’d have thought his first name was Moe) and he hooks her up with a dude he knows down in the Amazon and the next thing you know, Emanuelle is saying goodbye to her old boyfriend (his only appearance in the movie) by screwing his brains out in broad daylight in New York City under some docks!
Down in the Amazon, Mark and Emanuelle meet up with his pal, an old fat guy named Wilkes. Since he’s an old fat guy and has a young daughter named Isabelle, he sits out this expedition and instead sends his daughter with them to look for cannibals.
Rounding out their group (not counting nameless native porters, guides, guards, cooks, etc.) is a nun named Sister Angela. This seems like a slightly dubious assortment of folks to go off into headhunter territory, but their first stop is actually at Father Morales’ mission. The Father is friendly with all the local tribes, so if there’s any cannibals among them, he’ll likely know.
Things hit a bit of a snag though when they get word that Father Morales and his mission have been wiped out by an unfriendly tribe, but at least the group picks up the services of Donald and Maggie McKenzie. The McKenzies say they’re there hunting big game, but they have their own (rather mundane as it turns out) agenda.
The cannibal action in this movie doesn’t take place until over an hour into things, which means if you’re going to watch this, you’ll have to be prepared for way too much of what Emanuelle is known best for. It all seemed a bit incongruous that we’re suppose to be hunting for a bunch of vicious cannibals, but Emanuelle and Isabelle had time to bathe each other in the river.
Once the cannibals finally come out of hiding, they hold up their end of things relatively well. They eat people’s nipples, rip their guts out, tear a guy in half, gang rape a sacrificial chick, and ram spears into people with wild abandon.
The production values are pretty much what you would expect from a guy who directed no less than five films the year this one came out (four of them with the “Emanuelle” name attached) – beyond shoddy. Dubbing is likewise uniquely abominable with Emanuelle dubbed by someone who almost certainly had just learned English and is seeing the script for the first time as she reads it out loud in the recording studio.
It’s all suitably gory, but as it’s confined to the final twenty minutes or so of the movie, real cannibal fans are going to more satisfied going elsewhere for their kicks. And anyone else is going to have the good taste not to bother with this one at all. There’s simply too much skin and not enough skinning!
Reviews © 2017 MonsterHunter