Hungry For Flesh? Top 10 Third World Cannibal Films!

During this month of ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and zombies, it is important to remember that there are other sub-genres of horror films that still make essential viewing. Unbeknownst to a lot of horror fans, there was once a style of film made mostly in Italy during the Seventies and Eighties known as The Third World Cannibal Film, or simply The Cannibal Film genre.

These films gained a certain notoriety for their savage imagery (most notably the onscreen killing of animals) and brutal conventions (predominantly white people being set upon by primitive tribes and being summarily eaten). Due to this, a lot of otherwise intrepid horror audiences shied away from this sub-genre, thinking the filmmakers “out of their minds.” When certain governments caught wind of what was going on, these films soon found their way onto banned lists. Despite the efforts of “morality watchdogs,” the movies are just as much a part of the horror pantheon as any other archetype. So, if you’re in the mood this Halloween for something … different … take our advice and give some of these a try.

Oh, and bring a barf bag. Some of them can be pretty gory.

Hungry For Flesh? Top 10 Third World Cannibal Films!

One of the first films in the genre, this Umberto Lenzi-directed flick is basically a riff on A MAN CALLED HORSE. The film is an interesting one and notable if only for its “going there” first. The story-form is still finding its way – think of it as baby steps toward a great goal – but the film’s impact is palpable. The main actor (Ivan Rassimov) chews scenery like a champ and we are introduced to genre staple Me Me Lai who stars as the welcoming native girl.


MORE Top 10 Cannibal Movies on the NEXT page!

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  • Terminal

    I really liked this list. Well done.
    “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

  • Cinemascribe

    “I distinctly remember grainy, multi-generational dubs of this film being passed around between friends (usually with a shake of the head and a muttered “Dude…”).”

    And with this line you just sent me back twenty four years to what may have been the most enjoyable era of my life, at least as far as being a horror fan is concerned.

    It’s 1986, I’m fifteen and I’m expanding my genre horizons beyond the mainstream slasher stuff by hitting the video store to check the shelves for the REALLY hardcore stuff I would read about in Fango( funny how prevalent the video distribution company Wizard Video seemed to be during this time. I swear, it seemed as if 80% of the VHS tapes for the really graphic films were put out by Wizard,usually in those oversized boxes). No shit, man, you really nailed it..that was exactly how it went: Handing the tape to a buddy while shaking my head,wearing a twisted grin – “ GOTTA see this….if you thought the unrated version of that flick The Mutilator was bad ass,wait ’til you check this one out. This is up there with Zombie…” and so on. Man, I miss that.

    Great list and a terrific, evocative article. Good job.

    “I’m saying that I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man…and loved it. But now the dream is over..and the insect is awake.” – Seth Brundle