Film Review - Anthropophagus

Starring - Tisa Farrow, George Eastman, Saverio Vallone | Directed by Joe D'Amato | Shriek Show DVD WS Not Rated 90min 1980

Review By Xmortis

This is another Italian film that is known by a few other names like Anthropophagous: The Beast and mostly by The Grim Reaper.

A couple is having fun at an abandoned beach, but it quickly turns into a nightmare when a brute decides to butcher them in cold blood. Cut to a group of friends (and a woman they meet named Julie) who are traveling to a Greek island to have a fun get away for a month, but when they arrive they find that the town and island are empty save for an old woman who disappears when they try and speak to her. When the boat goes adrift at sea and the pregnant member of the group goes missing, they find dead bodies in the town and begin to realize that something's not right. That night they stay in the empty home belonging to one of Julie's friends, and the homeowner's blind daughter appears with a knife, scared out of her mind and speaking of a terror that has gripped the town in the form of a man who smells of blood. After one of the friends is murdered, the old woman hangs herself. She knows a lot about the killer - I'll let the details remain a surprise. His name is Nikos Karamanlis, and he was a man who lost his mind at sea and had to eat his dead child and wife to stay alive. Now he has returned home and craves blood. One by one Nikos kills the friends with brutal fury. In the end Nikos is chasing Julie and the blind girl, ending in a show down that leaves the young girl dead and Julie fighting for her life. The killer who gets his in the end with the help of the last surviving, and Nikos does what no one would think before he dies, ending his path of terror.

This is a guilty pleasure of mine and has been since the first time I watched it. Anthropophagus is know for its over the top gore and for being one of the slowest moving films on the "Video Nasty" list in England. The action really doesn't start until the last 10 minutes or so of the film, and that's mostly just running from the killer. The plot is very simple with a man who was stuck at sea going crazy and eating his wife and son to stay alive. After crashing back home he is no longer a person but a soulless killer who eats and kills whom ever gets in his way, and a boat full of unlucky friends just happen to stumble on his island and for this must pay with their lives. George Eastman is Nikos Karamanlis (The Grim Reaper) and does so well as the sun burned brute with a lust for flesh and blood, you forget that he is just an actor and not a killer. His wild wide eyed stare could send shivers up the spines of horror newbies. The rest of the cast is dubbed so it's hard to tell how well they act, and while the voice acting is as cheesy as a Godzilla film, it some how fits for this slow paced shocker. The gore effects are great, from the eating of guts and a fetus to the stabbing of human flesh, all work well and all make for some great gore squirms. What makes this film work for me more than the gore is the atmosphere of the town and mood of the film: dark, dreadful and hopeless. But what really makes this film for me is the way Nikos dies. While it's absurd and over the top, it makes for one iconic scene. Again this movie is by no means an amazing piece of cinema, but it is a guilty pleasure that I for one find very entertaining.

This two disc set is packed with extras that include English and Italian Audio, a documentary of Director Joe D'Amato, trailers, public appearances by stars George Eastman and Zora Kerova, still gallery and the US opening to the film. The cover, as you can see, is pretty kick ass as is the Widescreen transfer if the film.

While I know many people are not fans of this film and most diehard horror film fan friends of mine find it boring, I find it to be a great Italian Horror piece that is filled with gore, suspense and the best death of a horror villain of all time. The film sparked a semi sequel in 1981 and a remake in 1999, showing that this film had a small credit that would spawn such things. If you don't mind slower moving gore films that build like a Crockpot set on low, then check this great little gore gem out, but if you're looking for fast pace blood splatter horror then this is one you might want to skip. It's worth a buy for sure. And make sure to read my reviews for part 2 (Horrible) and the remake (Cannibal 2000) for more about this under rated series.