In recent years the Zombie film concept seems to have gone into overdrive. Shaun of the Dead, and the excellent remake of Dawn of the Dead hit the cinemas at roughly the same time in 2004, and faired well with the audience and critics alike. It looked the crumbling, brain yearning, meat sacks where chic again, and there’s been a steady stream of zombie related features hitting the cineplex ever since.
So, I find it curious that Zombie’s lesser known, and darker sister – the Cannibal, hasn’t garnered real renewed interest as a result. Could it be the racial stereo typing? Maybe modern film makers don’t feel there’s anything new to this breed of film?
Cannibal films lack any real glitz, and they’re as brutal and unmerciful as the natives themselves. Despite the savagery, seedy titilation, and flesh chomping, Cannibal movies tend to be highly moral tales. A group of westerners, fresh from the modern world journey deep into the Green Inferno in search of fame and fortune. These characters are usually quite unscrupulous, and their masks of civility are swiftly lifted once they leave the cities, and enter the unknown. They trample over the natural environment, abuse the local populace and inevitably meet their end in the gullets of the primitive tribe. The key theme is disrespect – you may think you’re more advanced than the lowly primitives, but once you leave behind the comforts of the world and try and impose your will on natural world, expect to become the prey…
The best and most notorious example of this is Cannibal Holocaust.
It’s a wonderfully grim number from 1980, and its handheld style predates the Blair Witch by twenty odd years. Sure, there’s plenty wrong with Cannibal Holocaust, but it’s nonetheless a true landmark in the history of the Horror genre.
(As far as I know there’s only been one Cannibal film made in recent years – the relatively unknown ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ (2007). This is not the worst film ever made, but it’s inferior to the likes of Cannibal Holocaust).
3-D Cannibal Vision, anyone?