Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Writer: Umberto Lenzi
Watching the UK release of Cannibal Ferox - cut by a massive five minutes - I came across a problem I thought would have reared its head a lot sooner: a film that has been more or less ruined by the censor's cuts. It still makes sense and there's the odd bit of gore, but the film is so obviously constructed around its nastier, missing scenes that the entire point is lost completely.
I have an uncut version as well (for some reason dubbed in German, which is why I hadn't watched it) so skipped through to take a look at the scenes that are supposedly so horrific they cannot be seen by British eyes. There is some unpleasant animal cruelty which of course would have had to go, and an eye-wateringly nasty sequence where a female character is suspended by the breasts from metal hooks, but other cuts are pretty tame by today’s standards. An eye-gouging scene isn't as bad (or anywhere near as effective) as the one in Zombie Flesh Eaters, and the castration and torture scenes have since been surpassed by relatively mainstream films like the Hostel series. This is a film that would probably benefit from being resubmitted to the BBFC.
Cannibal Ferox isn’t particularly good. It blatantly rips off Cannibal Holocaust, released a year earlier, from plot, characters and anti-Western sentiment right down to the butchery of a turtle, all done with none of the flair, art or melancholy of its infinitely better predecessor. As such it is a proper exploitation movie and possibly of interest culturally, but couple the low quality with the BBFC’s cuts and you get a supremely pointless piece of cinema.
Posted by Ben at 16:06