The Cannibal Man (1972)

THE CANNIBAL MAN (1972)
aka La semana del asesino, Apartment on the Thirteenth Floor
Article 2900 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-16-2009
Posting Date: 7-22-2009
Directed by Eloy de la Iglesia
Featuring Vicente Parra, Emma Cohen, Eusebio Poncela
Country: Spain

When a slaughterhouse worker accidentally kills a cabbie, he finds himself caught up in a spiral of murder to cover up his crime.

This movie was promoted with a gimmick; patrons were offered free vomit bags when watching the film. Combine that with the lurid (and inaccurate) English title (the Spanish title translates into WEEK OF THE KILLER), and you have a promotional campaign designed to appeal to horror fans. The first half of the movie may satisfy them, but the second half won’t, as the movie’s focus shifts away from the killer’s spiraling nightmare and more onto his relationship with a neighbor who lives in a nearby high-rise who may be aware of the bodies that the killer is keeping in his bedroom. It’s this relationship that gives the movie its soul; it’s more interesting than the murder spiral, which gets repetitive in its predictability (people keep discovering the previous murders, and he has to keep killing new people). If the barf bags were useful at all, it was most likely during the opening slaughterhouse scene, which was probably grotesque enough to drive many people away who might have appreciated the subtler character aspects of the film. Still, given the subject matter, it’s no surprise it was promoted the way it was; after all, it had a better chance of making money that way than by being promoted as an art film. And it is at least halfway a horror film.

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