Starring Tisa Farrow, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, Margaret Mazzantini, Mark Bodin, Zora Kervova, and Bob Larsen
Directed by Joe D’Amato
Released by Media-Blasters
What’s in a name? Let’s see, thus far this film has been known as The Man Eater, Antropofago, Man Beast, Cannibal, The Savage Island, and most commonly as The Grim Reaper. My favorite though has got to be its original title Anthropophagus. Why? Because it’s damn fun to say! Maybe it had so many titles because the people marketing the film either couldn’t pronounce it, or more likely, they figured that even if someone could sound out the word, chances are they’d have no clue what the hell it meant. For those too lazy to go and look for themselves, I’ll help out. Anthropophagus means a person who eats human flesh. Big word for something so simple, eh? Who cares, it’s still fun to say and even more fun to watch. Get out the mop, folks, this one is a bit messy!
Anthropophagus has a storied history, but before we get to all that, let’s tackle the storyline. A bunch of tourists hankering for a tropical vacation set out to a remote island for a little fun in the sun. Upon their arrival they start noticing a few things. The island is pretty quiet. As a matter of fact, it’s too quiet. There’s not a single soul to be found anywhere. Right about here my Brooklyn, New York instincts would have taken over, and I would have begun vigorously looting and then quickly gotten the fuck out of Dodge before anyone noticed. But these cats ain’t me. They’re decent folk! Instead, they set out to find an explanation for these developments. How could an entire town full of people just vanish? I’ll tell you how: Much to the delight of horror fans everywhere, they were eaten. By whom? By what? By the Anthropophagus of course! After a couple of twists and turns, our horrid hungry heathen starts knocking them off one by one in fairly imaginative ways.
Those aforementioned ways are just the start of the problems for Anthropophagus. The film happens to be one of the most notorious films of the Video Nasty era as it’s been banned in a few different countries. Banned? That’s pretty harsh, no? There’s no accounting for the weirdness of this world when it comes to what’s acceptable and what’s not, so I’ll save that rant for another time. Moving on. Along with its several titles there have also been countless different cuts of the film itself. I’ve seen at least three of them in various forms from old VHS tapes to bootleg DVDr’s. Each one claimed to be fully uncut too. Maybe they were. I couldn’t tell. The main problem was that the quality of these copies was about as bad as watching the film through a fish tank. My eyes still hurt from such sittings. Finally Media-Blasters has delivered the goods here as Anthropophagus hits U.S. shores fully restored and completely 100% uncut. No more spending top dollar importing bad copies of this puppy; it’s all here and readily available from almost any store.
So now that we’ve cut through all the hoopla, the question beckons: How is the movie? Bad? Good? Shocking? Shit? Well, the true answer is a little bit of all of the above. Director Joe D’Amato is mainly known for exploitation and sexploitation films with some horror sprinkled in here and there. With Anthropophagus he decided to have all of his actors keep it in their pants, and the result is a taut and gory little film that drips as much atmosphere as it does gore. However, if you go into this film riding the hype, you are apt to be somewhat disappointed. The kills and the gore (except for a couple of really choice scenes) are rather tame. People are stabbed, throats are bitten, we’ve seen it all a gazillion times.
On the DVD side of things we get two discs full of goodies. However, before I get to them, it needs to be mentioned that Media-Blasters has done a great job restoring this film. It’s never looked or sounded better, and then to give it the two-disc treatment? *kisses fingers* Magnifique! Disc One contains the film itself and some trailers, and Disc Two houses the bulk of the supplements. Included are the Joe D’Amato documentary Totally Uncut Two, which focuses on the making of films like this and of course the man himself. Also included are recent interview footage from 2005 of two of the film’s stars, Zora Kerova and the man with the appetite, George Eastman; the alternate U.S. theatrical opening; a photo gallery; and you guessed it, even more trailers! All in all, it’s a great little package!
So can this film live up to fan expectations? If you are well acquainted with the material, this is the DVD for you! For the curious, ignore the hype and forget about the bannings. At its heart Anthropophagus is little more than your typical giallo. Take the film for what it is, and you’re bound to have some fun with it. Besides, where else can you see a baby ripped from its mother’s womb and chomped on? Oh, was that a spoiler? My bad!
Joe D’Amato documentary Totally Uncut Two
Public appearance footage of Zora Kerova and George Eastman from 2005
Alternate U.S. theatrical opening
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