Wednesday, July 11, 2018

EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS (1977) (Severin Blu-ray Review)


Label: Severin Films

Region Code: Region-Free
Duration: 94 Minutes 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: English, Italian DTS-HS MA Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Joe D'Amato
Cast: Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Monica Zanchi, Donald O'Brien, Geoffrey Copleston, Nieves Navarro, Annamaria Clementi,Percy Hogan 

From the filth-ridden mind of director Joe D'Amato (Sex and Black Magic)
comes an exploitation mash-up from some horny gore-fiends nightmares, combing the softcore delights of the Black Emanuelle films with the gut-munching atrocity of a cannibal film, it seems like a weird mixture, and it is. Like any cannibal film worth it's salt the film begin in New York City where investigative reporter Emanuelle (Laura Gemser, Violence In A Women's Prison) is undercover at a psych ward as one of the loonies, she carries around a doll with a camera hidden away in it's head to document her story. I suppose she's there to write an expose on the poor conditions at the asylum, sort of the same way she would go undercover as a whore in Violence In A Women's Prison to expose criminal justice corruption. While there one of the patients takes a bite out a nurse's breast and eats the mouthful of titty-flesh, it's a deliciously bloody scene with the nurse grabbing her mutilated breast and screaming in the hallway, as you do. 

The offender is tied to a gurney and later that night Emanuelle sneaks into her room to interview her, when she's less than forthcoming Emanuelle does what she does best, uses her sultry ways to massage the answers from the interviewee, and in this slice of exploitation that means finger-banging her, which not only seems like an unorthodox interview technique but it fails to elicit verbal response, though she does seem to enjoy it. However, a strange tattoo on the woman's body leads Emanuelle to a primitive people scholar who confirms that the tattoo is linked to a long thought lost tribe of cannibals from the Amazon, 'natch.

In typical Emanuelle fashion the promiscuous beauty beds the scientist, Mark Lester (Gemser's then husband Gabriele Tinti, Women's Prison Massacre), and the pair head to the Amazon on an adventure to document this flesh-feasting tribe of cannibals, which leads to a lot more fornicating with a heaping helping of gut-munching. Down in the Amazon our duo meets-up with a pal of the professor's, a Reverend Wilkes (Geoffrey Copleston, The Black Cat) who puts them on a boat downriver with his voyeuristic daughter Isabelle (Mónica Zanchi, Hitch-Hikeand a not-so-naughty missionary nun named Sister Angela (Annamaria Clementi, Pleasure Shop on the Avenue), once their knee deep in jungle muck they run into a sinister big-game hunter named Donald McKenzie (Donald O'Brien, Dr. Butcher, M.D.), his horny horny adulterous wife Maggie (Nieves Navarro, The Big Gundown) along with their jungle-stud/guide Salvador (Percy Hogan, War of the Planets).

This mixture of reporter, professor, horny teen, nun and big game hunter don't make for easy friends, and when they're not fighting and/or fucking each other they're having to contend with the cannibals, who really begin to rip into them one by one towards the end, coming to a head as the cannibals prepare to sacrifice one of the women to the local god, with Emanuelle once again having to go undercover - this time as river goddess to save the day!

Like Bruno Mattei I find Joe D'Amato's cheapie exploitation films to be typically overstuffed with lust and gore, only to the nth degree, and it usually makes for a fun watch and this Black Emanuelle mash-up is plenty fun, the idea of mixing these two genres is both blasphemous and wonderfully lurid, a kinky and uncomfortable mix of naughty bits being nibbled on by lovers and naughty bits being eaten by cannibals! D'Amato made five Black Emanuelle films with Gemser, this is only loosely connected and is definitely the strangest of the bunch.  

Audio/Video: Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977) arrives on Blu-ray from Severin Films scanned in 2K from original vault elements, there's plenty of speckling and scratches evident throughout and the density of the image tends to fluctuates quite a bit, additionally the film grain is fairly heavy and can be mighty course at times. Some of the jungle scenery is well-shot and clarity comes and goes to varying degrees but skin tones looks natural and the blacks are acceptable. 

Audio comes by way of both English and Italian DTS-HD MA Mono mixes with optional English subtitles, as they're both dubbed I went with the English track which seemed to have a bit more depth to the track, there's some hiss and crackle throughout, though not as heavy as the Violence In A Women's Prison disc, but dialogue sounded fine and the Nico Fidenco (Zombie Holocaust) score sounded great, so much so that I sort of regret not ordering the limited edition release with the soundtrack CD from Severin.

Thia disc has quite a few extras compared to Severin's release of Violence In A Women's Prison which was released about the same time, here we get over an hour and half of new interview with composer Nico Fidenco, actresses Annamaria Clementi and Monika Zanchi, actor Donald O'Brien and an archival audio interview with star Laura Gemser, these are all in Italian with subtitles. The disc is finished up with a trailer for the film. 

The single-disc release comes housed in a spiffy black Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork - the b-side is pictured below - the disc artwork is an excerpt of the a-side artwork. It's a good looking release with an handsome looking spine that looks good on the shelf. 

Special Features:
- The World of Nico Fidenco: An interview with composer Nico Fidenco (27 min) HD
- A Nun Among the Cannibals: An interview with actress Annamaria Clementi (23 min) HD
- Dr. O'Brien MD: An interview with actor Donald O'Brien (19 min)HD
- From Switzerland to Mato Grosso: An Interview with actress Monika Zanchi (19 min) HD 
- I Am Your Black Queen: Laura Gemser archive audio interview (11 min) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (3 min) 

B-side Reversible Artwork 

The flick is well-shot (by D'Amato himself) and he makes sure that every frame of Laura Gemser looks amazing, she's a knock-out and looks great among the verdant jungle scenery. One scene that will haunt you for life is one of Gemser and Mónica Zanchi bathing nude in a lagoon near a waterfall, as they seductively splash each other's naughty bits with cool water there's a chimpanzee just sitting on the shore smoking a cigarette watching the whole thing, it makes very little sense but it's not something you forget, it's just another WTF D'Amaoto moment of pure lunatic cinema, and that's why we watch his films, but make no mistake, the gorgeous and alluring sexpot Laura Gemser herself is reason enough to want to watch this, the lunacy surrounding her is just the demented whipped cream on top of this trashy, strangely erotic, cannibal film.

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