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Cannibal Films

edited November -1 in Movie Discussion
Cannibal films, otherwise known as the cannibal genre, are a collection of graphic, gory movies made in the early 1970s on into the late 1980s, primarily by Italian moviemakers. These movies mainly focused on torture and cannibalism by Stone-Age tribes deep in the South American or Asian rain forests, usually perpetrated against Westerners that the tribes hold prisoner. Similar to Mondo films, the main draw of cannibal films was the promise of exotic locales and graphic gore.

Cannibal films were very popular exploitation features in the 1970s and 80s, after Umberto Lenzi made Il Paese del Sesso Selvaggio, the first film to depict on-screen cannibalism, in 1972. In 1977, Ruggero Deodato made Last Cannibal World, inspiring several other film makers to follow suit in a period known as the cannibal boom. This period would also see the most notorious film of the subgenre, Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust (an acknowledged influence on The Blair Witch Project), in 1980. After 1981, however, the cannibal boom had ended, and cannibal films were few and far in between. The fad concluded in 1988 with Mondo film director Antonio Climati's Natura Contro (also known as Cannibal Holocaust II).


  • I would like to dabble into the cannibal films a little bit more. Any good suggestions on any? I've seen the biggies like Cannibal Holocaust as well as Ferox. Could someone please suggest some other good ones?
  • I would be more than happy to oblige you...

    Although realistically neauseating films such as "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Make Them Die Slowly", and the satirist antics of "Motel Hell" added new definition to the gore flick, you may want to consider looking outside of the actual horror genre if cannibalistic subject matter is what you seek...

    Listed below, are several of my personal favorite pieces of cinematic goodness that either hold the idea of cannibalism as the main subject matter, or at least throw in a scene or two for shock value:

    "Parents" directed by Bob Balaban (1989)

    "Pink Flamingos" directed by John Waters, whom I absolutely adore (1972)

    "Ravenous" directed by Antonia Bird (1999)

    "Mountain of the Cannibal God" directed by Sergio Martino (1979)

    Happy Viewing!
  • Mountain of the Cannibal God starts very slowly, but there are some nice scenes that a gore-lover would appreciate.
    Especially the dick-scene!

    Further more, something I can't get used of is the gory scenes of animals being killed/eaten/tortured. That is the only thing that makes me turn my head. But it is a big part of the Cannibal-genre, so I just bite through it..
  • The main issue that I see in cannibal-related films, is that, for the most part, the idea is turned into more of a comic farce rather than being depicted as something serious. Thus, being the reason why we don't see many films like Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox.

    I think the most amazing aspect is the fact that we are willing to sit through 2 hours of horrendous acting, long nature sequences, animal deaths, and badly-composed music in order to see a few short scenes of a cannibalistic nature. I am definitely one of those people.
  • I just realized that I forgot one of the most substantial films of this genre--Soilent Green, directed by Richard Fleischer.

    This movie brings forth the idea of an overly-populated earth in which food resources are extremely low. Charlton Heston plays a detective in New York City who begins to investigate the source of a new "food product" which will remedy the need for nutrition.

    At any rate, I simply couldn't let this thread go without mention of this film...
  • We now know cannibalism is something that only happens in germany or korea, or some other evolved community (except for the War-plagued African countries, where coke-snorting rebels eat their victims), BUT in the eigthies cannibalism was something mystique, something exotic, something real. That whole experience of something up to date but far away has disappeared.
    Only the gore-lovers appreciate the slow and boring storylines of cannibalfilms. And let this be..
  • so do zombie movies fall into cannibalism films? their people eating people, but their dead people eating people. i really havent had the opertunity to see alot of the old flims mentioned
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