Two movie reviews of family-friendly Oscar-calibur features!
I am practising writing film reviews, and I am starting with my BluRay collection. When my website is up, I plan on checking out some new releases in the cinemas every week. Until then, one is left with writings like these. Constructive criticism will be appreciated.Cannibal Ferox (1981)
Grade – 3.5 / 5
In this knock-off of the superior Cannibal Holocaust
, nihilism is pervasive. It manages to successfully relay a message that the Americans who enter the jungle to prove that cannibalism is a myth are truly and deeply fucked beyond belief. There is more than enough animal slaughter, so much on display here that it will even annoy people who do not subscribe to the PETA crowd. And like Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox
gleefully revels in its own hypocrisy.
What is this hypocrisy, you ask? It condemns the savagery of modern New York society while relishing in the savagery that is dealt upon them by the broadly caricatured cannibals. Then again, nobody is really watching these movies for their social or political commentary.
Umberto Lenzi's controversial knock-off delivers exactly what it promises. It promises a nonstop barrage of graphic violence and unrelenting misogyny. To the film's credit, most of the practical special effects and makeup work is adequately done, considering the low budget. And as we all know, practical special effects and makeup work are pretty much the sole reasons why films like these have developed a following.
The screenplay viciously attacks a group of young college students who enter the Amazon jungle just so one of them can obtain a PhD in anthropology. This woman believes that cannibalism is a myth that was created by colonialists solely as an excuse to massacre indigenous people worldwide. She very strongly believes this, and yet she still manages to be a candidate for a PhD in anthropology. I guess that either universities were considerably more lenient on doctorate standards back in 1981, or that this film is demanding that I suspend my disbelief.
She brings along her slutty sister and her noble white knight brother. They run into a pair of cocaine dealers who escaped into the jungle to get away from mobsters that one of them ripped off. One of these dealers is a sadistic motherfucker whose bad boy image lures in the slutty sister. And so on, and so on. Then they start getting brutally massacred and eaten. That is a spoiler-free plot description in a nutshell.
There is a subplot where an extremely well-funded NYPD goes looking for the sadistic motherfucker cocaine dealer in the Amazon jungle. But outside of that, there is not much more to this sleazy display of sex and violence. Then again, nobody is really watching these movies for their well-written screenplays. Cannibal Ferox
is a midnight movie that has rightfully earned its controversy. Fans of vicious grindhouse fare will find lots to love here. However, somebody who has never seen a cheap Italian horror knockoff from the 1970s and 1980s will most likely not be converted if this was the first such film he was to be exposed to.The Mutilator (1984)
Grade – 3 / 5
Few slasher movies from the 1980's have managed to stir up as much controversy as Buddy Cooper's The Mutilator
. Originally released under the title of Fall Break
, this is a slasher movie that has an extremely narrow cinematic focus. First it spends half an hour getting the victims out to the abandoned beach house. Then it spends the last 50 minutes showing them being killed off in extremely graphic ways. It all leads up to a cinematic showdown between the last survivors and the killer that is over-the-top even by 1980's slasher standards.
There is a lovably awkward tonal inconsistency at play throughout this infamous slasher. Most of the first 30 minutes play out like an incompetent teen sex comedy, complete with a theme song that sounds like it was ripped off from a 1980's disposable sitcom. Then the killing starts, and few of the graphically violent details are spared to the viewer. And then these college kids keep on insisting upon splitting up even after some of them start disappearing from their view.
This is not a well-produced movie, but it has a purity to its vision. This film was made to be accompanied with beer and good friends, while sitting around a tube TV late on a Friday night with a VHS copy playing. Thankfully, the Arrow BluRay release is the uncut version, containing the entire fishhook killing scene that pissed off censors worldwide.
There is no social or political commentary. There is no character development. The screenplay leads up to the killings with an almost moronic simplicity. The kills are ironic in their nature, as the always-helpful cinematic foreshadowing tells us how most of the victims are going to be disposed of in the film's first half-hour. The Mutilator
has absolutely no pretension behind it whatsoever. It knows it is a silly slasher flick, and it runs with it the whole way with a few less-than-clever winks to its audience.
The best thing that can be said here is that this is exactly the film that director Buddy Cooper set out to make. It is trashy entertainment that demands little from its audience outside of a willingness to run along with its 1980's slasher clichés. There is very little filler in its running time after the first kills are presented to us. The editing is tightly done and it fits the narrow cinematic focus extremely well. This is a must-watch for fans of the slasher genre, as it distils the formula to its purest form after a slow start. Everybody else need not bother with this, however.
Posted by JRPGsForTheWin
yesterday at 03:49
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