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Cannibal Girls

Cannibal Girls

By Patrick Samuel • May 1st, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 2/5
Scary Pictures Productions

Original release: June 8th, 1973
Running time: 84 minutes

Director: Ivan Reitman
Writers:Daniel Goldberg, Ivan Reitman, Robert Sandler

Cast: Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Ronald Ulrich, Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Neilson, Mira Pawluk

Cannibal Girls

In the 1970’s and 80’s filmmakers dared to enter that forbidden world of cannibalism with films such as Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Cannibal Apocalypse (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981). Their graphic depictions of flesh-eating maniacs and blood thirsty tribes-people lead to these titles being banned in the UK under the Video Recordings Act of 1984, but they weren’t the first films to show them. From as early as the 30’s and 40’s cannibalism’s been hinted at in movies, most notably Tarzan Finds A Son (1939), but in 1973, director Ivan Reitman came up with an altogether different way of approaching the cannibal story with Cannibal Girls, an early entry in the horror sub-genre.

Coming across as comedic take on the Hammer horror films and cannibal films from Italian directors of that time, such as Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Sergio Martino, Cannibal Girls is set in the small, friendly town of Farnhamville where a young couple, Clifford (Eugene Levy) and Gloria (Andrea Martin), become stranded while on a romantic getaway when their car breaks down. They check in at a local bed and breakfast where an old landlady tells them tales of a cannibalistic group of women who lure unsuspecting (an un-attractive) men to their house where they’re butchered and eaten. The landlady puts them up in the very same house where the stories took place and they’re greeted by the bizarre Reverend Alex St. John (Ronald Ulrich) whom they assume is in character for the night’s entertainment.

Things don’t go very well for the couple as they realise they could be on the menu. Clifford starts to behave oddly after getting a taste for the local meat at the butcher shop while Gloria’s desperate to leave Farnhamville, but with the phones out of order and bus services worse than here in London, she might as well start seasoning herself up with some salt and black pepper.

Cannibal Girls

Filmed on an almost non-existent budget, Cannibal Girls swaps the stomach churning gore of those aforementioned cannibal movies in favour of something funnier and campier while at the same trying to tell a story. There’s not a lot that can be taken seriously at all in this film; with improvised dialogue the acting offers almost as many laughs as the kills do. The blood looks like red paint, wounds (the few which are shown) wouldn’t make today’s viewers bat an eye-lid far more send them running in terror but part of the film’s charm is its ‘Warning Bell’ which goes off just before something “gory” happens so you can avert your eyes from the terror on screen! When it’s over, another sound plays to let you know you can look again.

Although Reitman would go on to direct cult classics Meatballs (1979) and Ghostbusters (1984), Cannibal Girls is worth a look if you’re a fan of his other films. It’s also worth a look if you’re into the cannibal genre although there’s not much in here that will really shock or thrill you and that’s probably why it escaped becoming one of the notorious video nasties of the 1980’s.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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