Friday, 24 February 2017

DPP72: Cannibal Ferox

Cannibal Ferox also known as Make them Die Slowly and Woman from Deep River was written and directed by Umberto Lenzi. Upon its initial release it was claimed that it was the most violent movie ever made. It contains scenes of eye-gouging, torture, animal cruelty, castration and of course cannibalism. It should be noted that like Cannibal Holocaust, this movie features several actual cases of animals being killed on screen.

I have to admit that when I first watched this it was a downloaded copy, recenty I have gotten an actual DVD of it one of the Vipco Vaults of Horror releases which despite brgagging about how it was previously banned in 31 countries and claims it to be ''THE MOST VIOLENT FILM EVER MADE'' actually is not the full film, the original cut of the film was 93 minutes the feature on this film is only 83 minutes, so its lacking an entire 10 minutes. I point this out merly to say that if your looking for this film you might want to do a little research to find out if your paying for the full thing or a cut down version (I got my copy from a charity shop for £1 so cant really complain, plus I have watched the longer cut online).

The plot of this film can quickly be described as being about a small group of anthropologists who take a trip to the jungles of Colombia to try to disprove the existence of cannibalism. Once there they find drug dealers who have been using the natives to harvest coca leaves. The natives grow tired of being tortured slaves and as a result of this decide to turn their anger on the dealers and the anthropologists.

The opinions most often voiced in regards of Canibal Ferox seem to fall in to one of two camps. There are those who feel that the film is sick, and that it was justifiably banned. Sometimes this is due to the actual murder of animals and other times just because of its depraved and gory nature. Again there will be those who just simply enjoy violent films. No one really seems to try and argue that this movie contains any kind of deep or meaningful message.

I guess it is my turn to give my actual opinion on this film. Well I think it should be clear by this point that I am quiet anti-censorship, I believe that adults should be able to decide what they want to watch and what they can and cannot cope with seeing. There are limits to this for example you shouldn’t be able to see actual murder on film or any other action which violates a living persons rights. I also disagree with the idea of killing animals for the purpose of making a film; if you can simulate the deaths of people using effects then you can either simulate the death of an animal or merely offer up enough to suggest what has happened. It is not like seeing a turtles head shatter or a goat getting its throat slit is going to make or break a movie. 

 I have to admit that I walk into a lot of the DPP72 movies with very low expections, its not that I believe that something good cant come out of a low budget enviroment in fact I often think that good ideas can be destroyed by having too much money thrown at them, its simply the fact that I think in a lot of cases a lot of the people making these films didnt have that solid an idea in the first place, they just simply wanted to draw people in with the promise of blood and guts.

 I was kind of shocked to find that Cannibal Ferox is better than I thought it would be. The storyline, acting and production values were far beyond what I expected of them especially given the fact that it was one of those multi-lingual sort of productions were there are various language barriers getting in the way of things. There is a bit of a mix when it comes to the performances provided by the actors and actresses Lorraine De Selle delivers a very serious perforrmance trying to give it her all and act as if she is in real situations  while in comparison Giovanni Lombardo Radice in comparison basically overacts to an almost camp degree but overall all of it seems to fit togther well.

The gore is not quiet as heavy as you might expect for a film that was banned but what there is was used very effectivly, yes there is the castration scene that people might have mentioned when talking about this film but its handled rather quickly really, there are far more slowly paced grusome things in other films and indeed there are a few in this film. I despise the animal cruelty but I have to begrudgingly admit that some of it really isn't as awful as people have made out, bits of it are on the level of Discovery Channel style documentary footage the sort were animals chase attack and kill each other which as disturbing as it can be at times I think you need to kind of stop and remember that well thats just the way the animal kingdom works in real life. You could make the argument that showing it for entertainment purposes is wrong but then documenterys as much as people might argue are for aiding in the pursuit of knowledge are also a form of entertainment are they not?

I still hate the bits where people actively kill animals, I dont think they have any part in this film or any other for that matter and I personally would edit them out of the film but I guess some might call me naieve after all I eat meat and animals die for that to happen. If I had to rate this and bear in mind I am ignoring the fact the animal killings are real so as not to be biased to do so I would rate it a 7 out of 10

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