Two inept thieves and their prostitute girlfriend decide to hit the big time, crime-wise, by kidnapping the little girl (clearly and disturbingly dubbed by an adult) of an automobile tycoon. When their contact manages to get himself run over by a car while crossing the street, they have to hightail it out of town until the heat cools (or something like that – don’t press me too hard for clear logic in this film). So off they head to what I suppose is the South American jungle, by my goodness there seem to be a lot of pine trees in the jungle. There they hole up at the home of a friend-of-a-friend, a middle-aged man who has the role Jess Franco would be playing if this were a Jess Franco film. He has a beautiful wife, and one of the thieves takes it in his head to rape her. So their host now has vengeance on his mind, and there are cannibals (you were wondering when I was going to get to them, weren’t you?) lurking in the woods.
This is the sort of movie that makes life worth living. Sure, you could throw away your 90 minutes on something that is actually good, but in that case you would miss the following: cannibalism sequences where, once the victim has been killed, the carcass being gutted is very, very obviously that of a pig; the most pasty-skinned, European looking cannibals on record, complete with gruesome 70s hairstyles (I swear Sonny Bono is among their number); characters trudging through the brush, ignoring the road visible not three yards from them; and of course, the truck that cruises by in the background of the cannibal village, supposedly deep in the heart of darkness, but clearly a stone’s throw from a highway and a beach (look for this wonderful moment at the 92 minute mark). And I haven’t even said a word about the hilariously chipper, gratingly hummable Euro soundtrack.
Right, so about that soundtrack. It’s for those who thought the music for the Black Emanuelle movies was just a bit too classy. It shows up a soundtrack that is not, as far as I could tell, the 2.0 surround mentioned on the box. Sounds like mono to me, and rather distorted one at that. The dialogue, rendered in dubbing that couldn’t be funnier if it were meant to be, is also prone to sounding muzzy, and there is sometimes an audible background buzz. Still and all, I can’t imagine that the original, given what a throughly cheap piece of 1981 trash this is, sounded any better. I’m blaming the film, and not the transfer, and the bad sound is simply part of the joy of the experience.
The opening credits look utterly atrocious, with awful grain, dirt, and an image that is actually blurry. But the moment the credits end, the print improves dramatically, and for the rest of the film looks amazingly good, with strong colours, contrasts and flesh tones, and virtually no grain. There is nothing to stand in your way of enjoying every golden moment of the incompetence that follows.
There isn’t much, but what there is, is priceless. A “Spicy Deleted Scene” is an extended version of the mind-blasting dance sequence, and is even more awful than what was kept (and that’s with the scene in the finished film now ending on a prolonged, inexplicable freeze frame). The theatrical trailer, for whose narrator English is a second language, will have you quoting lines for weeks to come. Play around on the Feartures page, and you’ll unlock an Easter Egg which is a short interview with Jess Franco, who confirms that, yes indeed, he had nothing to do with the film, other than let director “Alan W. Steeve” (Alain Deruelle) use some of his resources. Franco, a man who has been known to pump out the outrageously cheap effort from time to time (ahem) is himself flabbergasted and amused by Deruelle’s ineptitude.
Pick any movie a hundred times better than this one (won’t be hard). This one will still be a thousand times more entertaining. For the lover of hoplessly naive trash, this Franco-Spanish production must surely be the most bone-headed (and oddly, incongruously innocent) entry in the cannibal subgenre.