Blue Underground // 1980 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // January 11th, 2008
Kidnapped by cannibals! Raised to eat human flesh!
The tagline basically explains it all. Dr. Taylor (Al Cliver) goes into a dangerous region of the jungle with his whole family. Some cannibals attack, he loses his arm and his wife. But most tragic of all, his daughter is kidnapped. This, of course, could have been avoided if Taylor had not brought his family into a jungle known to be infested with cannibals. Oh well, live and learn. A whole mess of indeterminate years later, Taylor goes back and finds out his daughter has become the Queen of the Cannibals.
This is not the worst movie about cannibals ever made: that title still goes to Cannibal Holocaust if only because Holocaust slaughtered innocent wildlife. Cannibals keeps its hands clean of the blood of the innocent.
But for the love of all that is good and decent, I don't need to see twenty minutes of a woman having her innards eaten. It's just repetitive and the shock wears off around the third time this happens. I'm having trouble figuring out who would enjoy these scenes. Horror fans, jaded by the latest in gore porn and afflicted with cinema ADD are going to get bored and wander off during the lengthy cannibalism scenes. And the squeamish are busy watching The Notebook or whatever the hell it is normal people watch.
I can't really blame the original actors too much for the acting, because everyone has been dubbed. But the voice actors who did the dubbing should feel ashamed. One nurse talked like she was trying to do a crude impersonation of Hattie McDaniel from Gone with the Wind, despite being a rail-thin white woman. The other voices are no better, sounding like awful caricatures of what real people sound like.
The plot is rife with inconsistencies and insanities. Dr. Taylor, the main character, has amnesia at one point. But in spite of his amnesia he manages to recount what happened in the jungle twice. And then we get to hear a third recounting after he recovers from his amnesia. All in all, the audience gets to experience the same thing four times.
Then there's the lengthy passage of time that's never really elaborated on. The only indication we have that time has passed is that Dr. Taylor has a beard. It's a problem that could have been solved with a "Ten years later" text pasted on top of the stock footage of New York City that they used.
The best part about this disc is the included twenty minute interview with director Jess Franco. He can be pretty vicious at times (he goes on for about five minutes about how stupid Sabrina Siani is) and it's certainly a change of pace from most DVD featurettes where everybody talks about how wonderful everything was.
It's a movie with cannibals with watch tan lines, a deep jungle that's apparently a five minute drive from civilization, and offensively stereotyped natives. Cannibals is best watched once with a group of rowdy friends and then forgotten.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Blue Underground
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Franco Holocaust: Interview with Writer/Director Jess Franco
* French Trailer