Monday, February 27, 2017

FRANCO FEBRUARY! DEVIL HUNTER (1980)

CANNIBAL TERROR (1981) / DEVIL HUNTER (1980) 


Label: Severin Films
Region Code: Region FREE
Duration: 93 Minutes / 102 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English 2.0 PCM Uncompressed, Spanish 2.0 PCM Uncompressed 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen 
Director: Alain Deruelle / Jess Franco
Cast: Robert Foster, Pamela Stanford, Burt Altman / Ursula Fellner, Al Cliver, Robert Foster, Gisela Hahn

CANNIBAL TERROR (1981)

There are awful b-movies and then theres Alain Deruelle's Cannibal Terror, a French/Spanish co-production that is just mind-numbingly dumb from start to finish, with a minimal plot that involves a pair of kidnappers and a kind hearted whore who abduct the adolescent daughter of a wealthy couple. Afterward they head for the jungle with the kid while they wait for the ransom, but wouldn't you just know it... their headed for cannibal country!

The movie is straight-up horrible beginning with a cast of truly wooden stiffs. At least one of which, actress Sylvia Solar, being kind enough to bare her ample bosom on more than one occasion, enough to spice it up a bit but not enough to save it from trash cinema Armageddon. There's a rope bondage rape scene that is a thing of true b-movie bullshit, a scenario so traumatic the victim finds herself dancing topless in the very next scene in front of the man who raped her just moments ago, standard b-movie logic.

The stand-ins for the "cannibals" are pale-skinned actors with moustaches and lamb-chops, their faces are painted with dayglow grease paint leaving them looking more like Ziggy Stardust rejects than the flesh-hungry cannibals they're meant to be. Some of whom are very obviously laughing through the more "gruesome" gut-munching scenes, if you look closely several of the young child actors playing cannibals can be seen wearing tennis shoes, yup, it's that sort of production, a Eurocine cheapie for sure.
The gut-munching is like most everything else in the movie, horrible, with too few scenes of pale-skinned cannibals tearing away a pig intestines, it's amusing stuff, but this falls rather short of rivaling Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox, in fact, this falls short of being as on par with those nineties era Bruno Mattei cannibal movies. Adding annoyance to injury is an awful score that at times feels like an epileptic organist scored it, and with a sound design that loops in a cycle of bird, duck and hissing reptile noises ad nauseum. This is pretty cheap and mighty awful and by several measures one of the worst cannibal movies I have suffered through yet, plodding along painfully with way too many scenes of walking through the jungle, this is the Lord of the Rings of cannibal films in that respect. 

Special Features:
- The Way Of All Flesh – Interview With Director Alain Deruelle in French with English Subtitles (3 Mins) HD
- Spicy Deleted Scene (2 Mins) HD
-Theatrical Trailer (3 Mins) HD
DEVIL HUNTER (1980) 

Onto the second feature on this disc I must say that I expected a bit more coming from Eurocult pioneer Jess Franco, a director who can be a bit odd, but who has made more than a handful of movies I dig quite a bit, usually of the erotic variety. Cannibalism is a genre he did not dabble in very often from what I can see, and unfortunately I can see why, but just to put it into perspective this is nowhere near as brain-burning awful as the first half of this double bill, Cannibal Terror.
This time out we again have another kidnap gone wrong scenario, when actress Laura Crawford (Ursula Buchfellner, Hellhole Women, a.k.a. Sadomania) is whisked away by thugs into the South American jungle. There they encounter a tribe who are not so much cannibals themselves as they are sacrificing victims to a nude, bug-eyed, cannibal God who stalks the jungle in search of naked prey, natch.

Peter (Al Cliver, The Beyond) is hired by the movie studio to recover the kidnapped starlet and heads into the jungle to do just that... and there you have the whole movie in a nutshell. This time out the native people are slightly more realistic in appearance than in Cannibal Terror, but not less stereotyped and exploited by Franco for his own movie. There's plenty of blond eye candy by way of a mostly nude Ursula Buchfellner and loads of dancing ebony-skinned natives, Franco's a bit out of his element here but ticks to what he knows, naked people and weird scenarios.

Franco manages to squeeze a watchable movie out of this one with some decent cheapie production value and some much appreciated nudity, but falls woefully short of the seminal Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust, but it does manage to be trashy fun that is at least competently made, which is more than I can say about Cannibal Terror.

Special Features:
- Sexo Canibal – Interview With Director Jess Franco (17 Mins) HD
- Spirit Of The B Hive – Interview With Actor Bertrand Altman (11 Mins) HD
Audio/Video: Severin have done a fine job of bringing these trashy cannibal terrors to Blu-ray with new HD transfers, they appear properly polished without having been overly manipulated, while the source material limits just how good these are gonna look in HD they do a damn fine job, all things considered. Audio comes by way of both English and Spanish uncompressed PCM 2.0 Mono with no subtitle option available for either version. The Blu-ray errantly lists the audio options as English and French, while I may have flunked both French and Spanish back in my school days the track certainly didn't sound French to me.

Extras for Cannibal Terror are a deleted scene with some more nudity, a 20-minute interview with director Alain Deruelle and trailer for the movie. Extras for Devil Hunter include a fun interview with the typically chain-smoking director as he discusses cannibal movies and how he doesn't care for them, speaking a bit about Ruggero Deodato's iconic cannibal movie and discussing a few of the actresses on the movie. There's also an interview with actor/stuntman Bertrand Altman who speaks about transitioning from stuntman to actor, and his experience on this movie and others.

While I do think these are some of the worst cannibal movies I have seen to date I do applaud Severin Films for putting them together on a reasonably priced double feature disc with some decent extras. If bad cinema gives you a chubby you best get out the Kleenex, it's gonna be a sticky night.  2/5

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