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Cannibal Ferox ( Umberto Lenzi, 1981 )

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Posted 28th April 2009 at 11:31 AM by Pete
Updated 2nd May 2010 at 05:44 PM by Pete

After the success of Ruggero Deodatos Cannibal Holocaust, Umberto Lenzi was hired by Dania Films to make two quickie cash inns, Eaten Alive and the film under review here Cannibal Ferox.

Cannibal Ferox kicks off in New York with the murder of a drug addict by two mobsters who are looking for someone named Mike Logan (John Morghen aka Gianni Lombardo Radice). We then cut to the Amazon to meet the main characters; Gloria (Lorraine De Selle), Rudy (Danilo Mattei) and Pat (Zora Kerova). Gloria is writing a thesis on how cannibalism is just a myth invented by the white man. After their jeep breaks down our trio have to make it on foot where the come across Mike and his pal Joe (Walter Lloyd aka Lucinni) who have had a run in with the local tribe. Asked what happened Mike tells a story about how, along with a local named the Portuguese they where innocently going about their business when they were attacked by cannibals, who killed the Portuguese and injured Joe. Something seems strange about Mike’s story and when Mike is away Joe tells the truth to Gloria and Rudy. It turns out it was Mike who killed and tortured the Portuguese along with other members of his village. Understandably the cannibals aren’t happy and are out for revenge and that means all of them ,even if they are innocent, are for the chop.

Cannibal Ferox is - after Cannibal Holocaust – the most notorious of the Italian cannibal films.. Lenzi goes straight for the jugular with scene after scene of torture and mutilation including, castration, eye gouging, dismemberment, brain eating and in the most memorable scene, Pat has hooks put through her nipples a hung! These effects by Gino Di Rossi are impressive and although not a strong as Holocausts still pack quite a punch. Of course no Italian cannibal film would be complete without some animal abuse, and sure enough we see turtles, crocodiles and a muskrat being strangled by a snake. According to Radice the muskrat was saved because the snake didn’t want to eat it. The most notorious animal scene involves Mike stabbing a pig. But after Radice refused to do it, Lenzi tried to convince him by saying “Robert De Niro would do it!” to which Radice replied “De Niro would kick you in the ass all the way back to Rome! “. The scene was performed by someone else with reaction shots of Radice who had to stab a bowl full of fake blood.

Of course if you ignore these scenes you will find Ferox tremendous fun. The funky music score, Radices OTT performance and the impressive gore scenes make this a guilty pleasure of the highest order.


There have been a few releases around the world with the best being The R1 Grindhouse and The R2 from Sazuma. Avoid the UK DVD as it is missing almost 7 minutes of gore.

Picture and Extras:
In terms of picture quality the Sazuma disc wins hands down with an excellent 16:9 transfer. The Grindhouse disc has a functional letterboxed 1.85:1 transfer that looks like it has seen better days. However the R1 disc wins for having the best extras including a hilarious commentary with Lenzi and Radicce.
If you can be bothered VIPCO's uk disc has full frame ( open matte ) transfer that looks like it came from the old Replay pre-cert. The only extras are the usual VIPCO trailers, gallery and filmographies.
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  1. Old Comment
    Peter Neal's Avatar
    Another good alternative would be the "Another World Entertainment " release, which has a similar pq to the Sazuma disc. Obviously the same master was used.
    Unfortunately it's lacking in extras and it's not featuring the slightly beefed up (sound effects-wise) audio from the Grindhouse and Sazuma disc.
    "Ferox" is probably the most "entertaining" of all the classic Italian cannibal flicks, which doesn't neccesarily qualify it as a "date movie"....
    It's a nasty, silly cartoon for adults....far easier to watch than "Cannibal Holocaust", but nevertheless NOT an easy watch!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 28th April 2009 at 05:39 PM by Peter Neal Peter Neal is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Almar@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Ach Peter - I was going to watch a cannibal film with my dinner Now I have to choose something else!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 28th April 2009 at 07:50 PM by Almar@Cult Labs Almar@Cult Labs is offline
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