“Anthropophagus” – Chris Luedtke

Joe D’Amato made quite a name for himself on the banned movie list with this Anthropophagus. A group of tourists take a boat to an island where a cannibal has all but wiped out a small village. Sounds simple enough? Well it is.

 

The biggest problem with this is that most of it feels like filler. Many scenes do bear significance to what is going to happen in the future, whether that be introducing the fact that new characters are on their way or announcing events to come. The problem is that the writing is so bland and uninteresting it becomes more tempting to press the skip forward button than it does to sit through the present. The only thing that kept me holding on was the anticipation of the fetus eating and the consumption of the cannibal’s own entrails.

 

In addition to the story being bland and unfulfilling, the characters aren’t anything new either. Every one of these characters has popped up in one horror movie or another which left me nothing to dissect and making things more predictable. The killer was probably the worst however. Somehow being stranded at sea for days made this guy real hungry for human flesh after he tried to eat his dead son and, in the process, killed his wife. Does he have a creepy camera presence? Eh, he’s really not any scarier than Jason or Michael Meyers because he’s presented in the “unreasonable psychopath” light and, like the two aforementioned, has no problem making sudden appearances or getting to places with inhuman walking speeds. The formula is tired, especially today.

 

The fact that is filmed mostly in daylight doesn’t help to improve anything either. There is a night shot but it’s not very long. It does help the movie a little bit to start building a creepy atmosphere but it ends quickly and doesn’t feel like it did enough. The rest of the movie would have been better shot in the dark, even if it would have been harder to see something. Sure light would be needed to add the gross effect to its two shining scenes but that’s all. The camera looked crappy enough as it was, some extra dark shots wouldn’t have hurt anything.

 

If anything Anthropophagus tries too hard. I think Joe D’Amato had a decent idea that wasn’t experimented with enough. This could have been a lot darker and nastier than it ended up being. Fans of Italian horror might want to stick to Demons and Zombi 2 because both of those are far superior to this. With the exception of the two memorable scenes in this film – the eating of a fetus and the eating of the cannibal’s own intestines – there really is nothing to behold.

 

Rating: ★☆☆☆

 

-Chris Luedtke

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