Director: Antonio Margheriti
Writers: Antonio Margheriti and Dardano Sacchetti
A fun film with above-average production values that nevertheless isn't scared to use stock footage in proper exploitation fashion, Cannibal Apocalypse sees cannibalism brought to America by Vietnam vets in the form of a virus which then spreads, nicely merging the cannibal and zombie genres. Furthermore the sexualised nature of the cannibal attacks, usually carried out Dracula-style as the cannibal goes in for a kiss only to bite off a breast or a chunk of neck, brings in a bit of sexy vampirism as well - so what we have are essentially vampire zombie cannibals, breeds that aren't that far apart anyway when you think about it.
Cannibal Apocalypse's main drawback is the (relative) lack of gore and scares, but despite a bit of a lull in the middle it's a fast-paced, action filled movie with some good location work. The inevitable anti-climax as we move from the exciting "Delta Force"-style opening scenes in Vietnam to boring American suburbia is familiar in Italian exploitation horror, but a later supermarket siege and the film's climax in the city sewers are more imaginative than I've come to expect from the Video Nasties. It's home to some of the best unintended humour I've come across in the genre as well, a psychiatrist telling a woman concerned about her husband: "I always said you should have married me instead. But anyway, speaking professionally..." being one of the gems in a line-up that includes weeing on tear gas cannisters to put them out, a cannibal called Charles Bukowski and a romantic paedophile sub-plot for our main hero, played by B-movie legend John Saxon.
Most importantly the ingenious crossing of cannibals, zombies and vampires remains, as far as I know, unique in horror cinema - though god knows why, given how tired contemporary zombie films are becoming. The present paucity of imagination is underlined by the way this cheap exploitation film casually tosses it in as if coming up with new ideas isn't actually that difficult. The baffling failure of modern identikit zombie films to even copy this suggests that maybe it isn't.