CANNIBAL FEROX Ultrabit Tin Edition
Also Know As:
Make Them Die Slowly
Woman From Deep River
Die Rache Der Kannibalen

Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Italy/1981 – 93 minutes/Widescree
DVD Provided by Sazuma
Article written by Mark Engle

CANNIBAL FEROX along with CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST have stood the test of time as THE essential Cannibal films. Many fans of the genre have spent much of their efforts arguing which is the better of the two with Deodato’s foray usually winning the vote (I still prefer FEROX), but this review will not venture into this debate or the infamous animal cruelty subject as well. The film was meant to shock at an exploitative level and to thrill the audience as an adventure film. “Banned in 31 Countries”, cries out the ad campaign and for once, a film lives up to its reputation. Well, I don’t think any movie has the guts to necessitate a barring from several countries, but if you had to pick a certain subject matter, cannibalism would probably be in the top five. Living with years of bootlegs, Sazuma has put together a very nicely packaged DVD that while it doesn’t have a lot in the extras department, is a pristine print flush with lively color, detailed picture clarity and crystal clear audio.

Simply enough, the story follows an anthropology student, Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle); her brother, Rudy (Danilo Mattei) and female friend Pat (Zora Kerova) into the deep Amazon to study primitive tribes and dispel of any theories that cannibalism is still practiced. After the trek throws them some minor hurdles (broken jeep, etc.) they run into Mike Logan (played to the hilt by John Morghen) and his wounded partner Joe (Walter Lloyd). According to Mike they were attacked and taken hostage by a tribe of cannibals while excavating for gems. Their partner, a Portuguese, was tortured and killed via castration while tied up to a giant post. They claim they barely escaped with their lives Brother Rudy feels that something isn’t quite right with their story, but venture on with the two new comrades. They head off toward the river, but circle around until they end up in the village. Once there, Rudy discovers more is amiss than he originally thought. Sure, there are the remains of a victim tied to a post, but the rest of the village contains only the elders, women and children and they seem extremely frightened of their new visitors. With Joe falling ill due to his wounds, the group decides to stay temporarily until he is well enough to travel. This proves to be a big mistake. The men of the tribe return to capture our travelers and immediately tie Mike to a post and perform the same tortures that befell the Portuguese. Meanwhile, Gloria and Rudy find out the truth from Joe. It seems that Mike, during a long bout of cocaine abuse, tortured their new partner, an actual native of the village, and killed several members of the tribe. In fact, Mike Logan is quite insane. The villagers now seek revenge via original torturous ceremonies i.e.: Cannibalism, eating the remains of one’s enemies. From here on out, the film deals with severe torture and the feeble attempt of survival.

Umberto Lenzi had dabbled with cannibalism before with MAN FROM DEEP RIVER and DEEP RIVER SAVAGES in 1973 and seven years later with EATEN ALIVE in 1980. While MAN FROM DEEP RIVER may have more heart in the adventure department as a sort of MAN CALLED HORSE knock off, Lenzi headed off in a different direction later with EATEN ALIVE that dwelled more on the exploitation end. Only a year later after filming NIGHTMARE CITY did Umberto really hone his talent for extreme cinema. With gut pulling and munching, breast piercing, limb severing, castrations and all other kinds of gruesomeness, Umberto delivers the goods in Italian fashion. For all gore connoisseurs and fans of Italian horror, this is one hell of a picture. For those with a weak stomach, stay away. You’ve been warned.

Sazuma’s Limited Edition Tin release was completely remastered and transferred in Ultrabit via DVD-9 and of course comes 16X9 Enhanced for Anamorphic television at 1.78:1. As for extras, you get the original American, German and Italian Trailers, an Umberto Lenzi filmography and eight really cool post cards featuring some nasty scenes from the movie. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST may have recently received a great DVD release from Grindhouse, but for those fans who can’t get enough Italian gut-munching in their horror diet or prefer FEROX over the other, then I have no problem recommending this exploitation trash to any genre fan of extreme cinema.