by Scott Weinberg
Not nearly as extreme as its title and reputation suggest, Cannibal Apocalypse is a whole lotta chit-chat and very little people-chomping - though the gory moments are gruesome indeed.Infamous 1980 horror/action flick that's known under about a dozen other titles, though its first moniker (translated literally from the Italian title) is clearly the most apt. B-movie King John Saxon stars as a Vietnam Vet who can't seem to shake a few horrific memories. Seems that back in 'Nam, Saxon came across a bunch of American POWs who've long since reverted to cannibalism. No ordinary strain of flesh-chompers here, these poor souls have contracted a nasty virus that makes them crave human...meat.
"One of those 'not nearly as cool as the title' flicks."
Saxon starts getting his unsavory cravings at about the same time that an old war buddy is released from a mental institution. Quicker than you can say 'Rambo', this War Buddy has taken a massive chomp out of a busty naked gal and waged a one-man war against an entire flea market. Every bite breeds another rabid carnivore.
While the switch is a fresh one in a generally stale genre (usually the flesheaters and dead - or undead - and not normal Joes off the street), Cannibal Apocalypse suffers from too much simple yap in between the rather gruesome gore scenes. It's also clear that there's a social conscience underneath all the lovingly depicted carnage, as the correlation between Post War Distress and the rabid people-eating is all but drilled into your brain.
Often edited and altered, and remembered fondly by fans of hardcore Italian horror, Cannibal Apocalypse is nowhere near as grotesque as its reputation implies, though there ARE quite a few scenes of genuine and lingering nastiness. Oh, and in case you thought I was kidding, this flick is also known as Cannibal Massacre, The Cannibals Are in the Streets, Cannibals in the City, Hunter of the Apocalypse, Savage Apocalypse, Savage Slaughterers, and The Slaughterers. Weird, eh?
DVD Info: Widescreen format, Dolby Digital Mono, 30-minute Interview Featurette, "Apocalypse in the Streets" video tour, European theatrical trailer, Japanese theatrical trailer, Poster and Still gallery, "The Butchering of Cannibal Apocalypse" text essay, alternate U.S. opening sequence, cast and crew filmographies, text liner notes.If you're an enthusiast of all Italian horror flicks in which human flesh gets devoured in nasty fashion (as if there's another way to depict violent cannibalism), this one's surely worthy of a look. Take out the Zombie stuff and replace it with a Vietnam-era social conscience, toss in a LOT of dull moments, and this is the result.
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originally posted: 01/08/03 12:27:43