Tuesday, November 18, 2014

MONDO CANNIBAL (2003)


MONDO CANNIBAL (2003) 


Label: Intervision Picture Corp
Region Code: 1
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 90 Minutes
Video: 4:3 Full Frame (1.33:1 )
Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo
Director: Bruno Mattei
Cast: Claudio Morales, Cindy Matic, Helena Wagner 

Infamous Italian exploitation director Bruno Mattei was making sleazy movies straight up until his death in 2007 at the ripe old age of seventy-six. These later years found the director churning out familiar gut-munching gore and sleaze but on a smaller shot-on-digital budget. Lucky for is Intervision Picture Corp have just released two of his late-era cannibal films for the first-time in the US!

One of these is the sensationally re-titles MONDO CANNIBAL (2003) wherein driven TV reporter Grace Forsyte (Helene Wagner) finds her weekly ratings plummeting in light of competition from more sensational tabloid programs. In a last ditch effort to pull her ratings out of the toilet she enlists the help of a scumbag jungle guide Bob Manson (Claudio Morales) travelling to the jungles of South America to capture the gut-munching exploits of the indigenous people. Along for the ride are a cameraman and a busty blond assistant played by Cindy Matic. 


Once on location in the jungle the crew find that the poor indigenous tribes want nothing to do with cannibalism as the unscrupulous reporter and her scumbag cohorts commit a string of unsavory atrocities upon them. The film quite unashamedly rips-off Deodato's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST from start to finish, Mattei manages to squeeze in pretty much everything from that film into this shot-on-video cheapie, even the scenes of TV execs back in the US viewing the vile footage captured by the crew That Mattei would shamelessly steal the premise of an entire film should surprise absolutely no one, the man was a one-man copyright menace with a camera crew and he provided a string of pilfered exploitation throughout the 70s and 80s with such films as HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) and RATS - NIGHTS OF TERROR (1984). Not an original idea in the bunch but they're just so much fun and filmed with a genuine gusto that it's hard not to enjoy.


With this one we have an endless parade of gut-munching, rape, murder and exploitation of the indigenous people.  The crew is willing to set fire to an entire village in the name of capturing a few sensational images to drive viewer ratings. The entire film is really just regurgitating the who-are-the-real-savages question raised by the superior films which came before it. A trashy slice of cannibal fun from dripping with enough guts, gore and nudity to please fans of this particular brand of exploitation cinema. Surprisingly the film really captures the sleazy aesthetic of the cannibal films from the genres glory days, and while he shot-on-digital images won't win any awards for cinematography it fully delivers the cannibal goods from start to finish with some great locations shot in the Philippines. 


The cast is damn decent with Claudio Morales as the guide who begins the film as the moral compass but is quickly drawn into the cynical world of TV personality played by Helena Wagner who turns in a decent performance as the unscrupulous reporter who will do anything to drive her TV ratings. Of course all the performances are cranked-up to ten and I wouldn't have it any other way, cannibal films were never really known for subtlety. Aside from some requisite indigenous nudity both the attractive Helena Wagner and Cindy Matic offer up some bare-chested nudity to enjoy and it was fun to see each of the culprits .


SPECIAL FEATURES: 

- Trailer (2 Minutes) 

VERDICT:

MONDO CANNIBAL (2003) is short on inspiration and long on gut-munching gore making this shot-on-video cannibal entry from Bruno Mattei a bit rough and unsavory - which suits me just fine. Not having been familiar with Mattei's post-80s filmography I went into it not expecting much from such a recent shot-on-video production but I walked away from it thoroughly entertained and surprised just how authentic to the vintage cannibal films this was - loaded with gore, guts and vintage Mattei sleaziness!

A heads-up that in early 2015 Intervision are releasing Bruno Mattei’s zombie swan songs: ZOMBIES – THE BEGINNING and ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD plus the women-in-prison film THE JAIL – A WOMEN’S HELL.

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