Cannibal Ferox - Grindhouse Releasing Deluxe Edition (Blu Ray)
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
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Although we've chosen to cover an international selection of exploitation films on this website, at the heart of it all is our dedication to the genuine inner city Grindhouse experience of the 20th century. As you probably know, there's many wild and crazy movies that define that unique, down n' dirty world of moviegoing. One of the crown jewels of this brand of often controversial cinema is Umberto Lenzi's 1981 shocksploitation horror masterpiece CANNIBAL FEROX aka Make Them Die Slowly. Now, thanks to the film aficionados at Grindhouse Releasing, we have an all new hi-def Blu Ray presentation of the gore-filled cannibal classic to enjoy in the comfort of our homes.
College student Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle) has planned an investigative expedition to South America's Amazon River in hopes of disproving the myth of cannibalism as part of her final thesis. Her brother Rudy (Danilo Mattei) and friend Pat Johnson (Zora Kerrova) join Gloria on the excursion. Upon arrival, they take a small charter boat deeper into the exotic environment. As they try to drive their jeep into the unforgiving jungle, it gets stuck in the mud due to a "jaywalking iguana" they almost run over. With no transportation (but plenty of whiskey), they've got to travel on foot.
They soon encounter two scared, disheveled men stumbling through the treacherous terrain, Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) and his friend Joe Costolani (Walter Lucchini). A frightened yet angry Mike recounts a terrible story about the deadly tribe that attacked him and Joe (now injured) before they were able to escape impending doom thanks to two friendlys. The others become understandably shaken by this tale and decide its safer to stick together than split up. The next day, Gloria mysteriously dissapears so the group must go looking for her. This leads them back to the same village Mike and Joe fled from. There they find the gruesome remains of Mike and Joe's friend the "Portuguese" that was tortured and killed while they watched.
When Mike suddenly begins acting erratically and taking cocaine, the others learn he is actually a psychotic criminal who was in search of priceless jewels on the river and forced a tribal member he called "the Portuguese" (since he spoke the language) to help him. This led to Mike killing the man and hurting several others in the tribe. When the natives turned on them for this violent aggression, he and Joe fled. The younger tribesmen began searching for them in the meantime, leaving the elders, women and children alone. Gloria, Rudy, Pat and Joe find themselves stuck in the center of a tribal vendetta on Mike they had nothing to do with. Their journey off the beaten path of civilization has become a real nightmare they never expected.
Like Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust, this movie is infamous for its controversial subject matter. Yet both Deodato and Lenzi's original intent was to show that the reckless, violent white man is ultimately responsible for the atrocities that lead to the cannibalism and mutilation in the stories. The unsuspecting tribespeople are depicted as peaceful until they are provoked into defending themselves. This theme could be compared to the holocaust of Native Americans and their reaction to the European frontier settlers stealing land and raping their women (see films like Soldier Blue). As we know, whenever history repeats itself, bad things are bound to happen.
Cannibal Ferox is notorious for its unsettling, gruesome SFX but even more offensive is the real animal cruelty that's depicted. There are several cringeworthy and sickening sequences of poor critters being killed in various ways that really will turn your stomach and have you looking away. While the movie was clearly made to provide grindhouse audiences with puke inducing thrills and bloodcurdling chills, it is sharply directed, photographed and edited. The nasty imagery (everything from gut munching to castration) may be highly offensive but there's no denying the daring quality of the low budget filmmaking by Lenzi & Co. This movie is a cannibal subgenre classic that deserves its lofty place in the pantheon of shock cinema. But beware, it's definitely not for the squeamish!
Blu Ray Review
PICTURE: Presented in (1:85:1) Widescreen. This Original, Unrated Director's Cut is remastered to a gleaming 1080p High-Definition. The latest transfer makes the film seem like it could've been shot recently. Gone are any artifacts or distortion from previous editions. A stellar restoration that gives this cult film a brand new life on home video.
AUDIO: The Blu Ray offers the following options for your listening pleasure: DTS-HD 2.0 Remixed English Master Audio / DTS-HD Original English 1.0 Master Audio / Original Italian DTS-HD Italian 1.0 Mono. All channels were Remixed by Academy Award Winner Paul Ottosson.
Audio Commentary with Director Umberto Lenzi and Giovanni Lombardo Radice (aka John Morghen)
Hooked On You - Director Umberto Lenzi Interview: The Italian Godfather of Cannibal Films talks more about his earliest entries in the genre like Man From Deep River, Jungle Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox. An interesting note is that for years, Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato has claimed he is the true originator of what we know as the cannibal genre while Lenzi conveys that he would rather be known for being a great director of gialli or polizios.
The Many Lives (and Deaths) of Giovanni Lombardo Radice: The beloved cult film actor takes us through his entire career with comments on being discovered as well as acting in the grindhouse film hits The House On The Edge of The Park, City Of The Living Dead, Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Apocalypse. You'll hear his perspective on these films today, decades after they played theaters and became cult favorites on VHS/DVD.
Danilo Matttei's Amazon Adventure: A pleasant interview with the co-star of Cannibal Ferox as he speaks on his views of the movie and the time he spent on the production in Leticia, South America where it was filmed.
Zora in Cannibal Land: The upbeat actress who played Pat Johnson in the film relates her own experience in the cannibal cult shocker including how she got the role, the production woes and performing in the memorable breast hanging torture scene.
They Call Him Bombardone: Special FX Master Gino DeRossi reminisces on working in the movie biz (including Cannibal Ferox) and his special talents as a one of a kind inventive SFX man.
EATEN ALIVE! THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ITALIAN CANNIBAL FILM: An extensive, extremely informative documentary by Calum Waddell that traces the infamous cannibal genre's origins in the early 70s through to the 80s when it's popularity dwindled. Fans will get the lowdown from the people that were there as these shock-adventure films were making an impact on audiences. Interviews with: critics/historians Shlegh Rowan-Legg, John Martin, Mikel Koven, Kim Newman, movie stars Me Me Lai, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Robert Kerman and directors Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Sergio Martino. Classic Cannibal Films featured include: Man From Deep River, Jungle Holocaust, Mountain of The Cannibal God, Cannibal Ferox, Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Doomed To Die and Cannibal Holocaust.
Hollywood Premiere at The Vine Theater in 1998: Producers Bob Murawski and Sage Stallone are joined by lots of fans and friends at the debut of Grindhouse Releasing's Cannibal Ferox's re-release.
Two Controversial Deleted Scenes: The Killing of the Pig and Piranha Attack (both without audio)
Original Italian, German and US Theatrical Trailers
Still Gallery and Poster Art
THE FINAL WORD: Cannibal Ferox is a legendary cult classic that has been on home video before but none of the previous releases have been as wholly satisfying as this current deluxe edition. Grindhouse Releasing prides themselves on giving movie fans the very best when it comes to DVD and Blu Ray packages and this is yet another must own in their library of exploitation treasures. If you love Grindhouse Cinema, you simply must pick this set up. It gets our highest recommendation!
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.