Ratings Key


★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but good entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Usually a level of technical competence, yet seems by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. Either an absolute chore to sit through or unintentionally comic.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sexo caníbal (1980)

...aka: Chasseur de l'enfer
...aka: Devil Hunter
...aka: Mandingo Manhunter
...aka: Man Hunter, The

Directed by:
Jesus Franco

Blonde Ursula Buchfellner (a German-born 1979 Playboy Playmate) is Laura Crawford, a saucy actress/model who is location scouting somewhere in South America. After meeting with the press and a photo op on the beach, she is kidnapped (right in the middle of a bubble bath) by a bunch of sadistic thugs (Antonio de Cabo, Werner Pochath, Gisela Hahn, etc.) and brought to an island. While she's being held for 6 million dollars in ransom money, she's raped, beaten up and even has her nipple sliced with a machete to show they mean business. Meanwhile, mustachioed Vietnam vet Peter Weston (Al Cliver) is hired by the girl's agent to find her. He and his group fly a helicopter to the island and agree to trade off the girl for the loot. The switch however is botched, gunfire is exchanged and the kidnappers yank Laura back through the jungle, where they're picked off one by one and she's abducted by the local cannibal tribe. The natives eat human hearts and place an especially high value on light skinned sacrifices, so Laura fits the bill nicely. They strip her naked, bathe her in a stream and rub flowers over her nude body to get her ready to meet their ancient cannibal God. The God (usually shown through a hazy POV shot) is a tall, naked cannibal/zombie-type guy with bloodshot ping pong ball eyes. His interests include ripping off human heads, beating in faces with rocks and eating female genitalia. And yes ladies, he's single!

Despite all the rampant nudity and some cheap looking gore, this is tamer and much less disturbing than most of the major Italian cannibal titles because it's technically inept, slow and never seems to be taking place in reality. First off, the "jungle" doesn't look a thing like a tropical South American jungle. In fact this one was filmed near the coastline in both Spain and Portugal. Secondly, the cannibal tribe consists not only of a bunch of black men and women, but also a slew of white guys, some not even sufficiently tan to pass themselves off as natives. The acting's bad, the direction's bad, it's padded out and the dialogue and dubbing are pretty horrendous ("This wild vegetation gives me the creeps!" hisses one of the kidnappers at one point). Perhaps the worst part is the editing. It's one of the worst hack-jobs I've seen. Hard to tell whether that's just how the movie has always been or if it's been re-cut over the years by different distributors. In any case, it's badly done all the way around.

The DVD version from Videoasia seems to be a Japanese print of the film. While there is a sufficient amount of T&A, the hoo-hoos (and briefly, a hee-hee) have been digitally scrambled. Not that it really matters, this thing wouldn't suck any less with the nude scenes intact. Also the DVD has some of the strangest letterboxing known to man, with about 80 percent of the black strip on to bottom of the screen. I'm not going to deduct any points for the bad print. If I did, it would get a "NO STARS!" rating instead. Franco regulars Antonio Mayans and "Victoria Adams" (Muriel Montosse) are also in it.

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