CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE (1980)
aka Cannibals Are in the Streets, Apocalypse domani
Article 4972 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Featuring John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Country: Italy / Spain
What it is: Movie about eating disorders
Three Vietnam vets return home infected with form of rabies which turns them and those they bite into cannibals.
Given the main title of this movie, it took me a little bit of time to come to terms with what this movie really was. The opening scene featuring helicopters flying over a jungle had me suspecting it was your typical Italian “encounter with a tribe of cannibals” movie, but this sequence turns out to involve the Vietnam war and quickly turns to a modern-day American city. Then I suspected it was going to be your typical “zombie apocalypse” movie; despite the fact that the infected people were not technically “zombies”, in practice there’s not inherently a lot of difference between them. However, the paucity of people infected never quite makes this pan out. It wasn’t until I was a ways into the movie that I realized what it was; it was a “disturbed Vietnam vet” movie with the cannibal/rabies angle grafted onto it. Though I will grant that this approach was unexpected and unusual, the end result isn’t particularly good; the action sequences adequate at best and confusing at worst, the movie’s gore content is relatively low for this sort of thing, and the movie is full of horrible dialogue with a plethora of awkward cursing. I think the latter problem may be due to the English dubbing; the actors who speak English normally (like John Saxon) fare well enough, but those that are dubbed have some awful lines. Saxon and Radice fare best acting-wise, but the story never really takes off, and overall it’s quite disappointing.