Cannibals (1980)

CANNIBALS (1980)
aka Mondo cannibale, White Cannibal Queen
Article 5086 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-21-2016
Directed by Jesus Franco and Franco Prosperi
Featuring Al Cliver, Sabrina Siani, Jerome Foulon
Country: Spain / Italy / France
What it is: Cannibal film

An explorer escapes from a tribe of cannibals after his wife is devoured and his daughter is kidnapped by the savages. Years later he returns with another expedition to get his daughter back.

According to the trivia section of IMDB, Jesus Franco reportedly hated the cannibal genre and refused to make any more after this, his second foray into it. Certainly the script he penned for this one shows little interest in the way the genre was developing; it’s little more than a double-stuffed safari-o with a “white goddess” plot and paper-thin characters. At least he leaves the animals out of it; there’s no gratuitous animal snuff footage in this one. Still, it’s a pretty tired affair, and it may be one of Franco’s worst. I do find myself wondering, however, if the actual cannibal footage may have been grafted onto the movie after the fact; it looks like it was shot at a different time and in a different style than the rest of the footage, and I notice IMDB credits a second director. Certainly, the awful English-dubbed print I saw makes the movie seem even worse than it may have possibly been originally. Still, I’ll make a couple of observations. One is that it’s pretty weird to hear the natives occasionally breaking into English (though they usually have little more to say than “I’m going to kill you!”, which didn’t need to be said), and I wonder if the original movie had them breaking out into Italian. Secondly, the “white goddess” plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when most of the cannibals are played by white men.

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