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Author Topic: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)  (Read 13825 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« on: 12 Sep 2007 - 05:00 »

ANTHROPOPHAGUS 1980 aka ANTHROPOPHAGUS THE BEAST aka THE GRIM REAPER aka SAVAGE ISLAND

George Eastman, Tisa Farrow, Zora Kerova, Serena Grandi

Vacationers are stranded on a desolate Greek Isle and are stalked by a flesh eating madman who stalks them one by one. It is soon discovered exactly who the maniac is and how he came to be on the island.

Joe D'Amato does a sort-of slasher movie with this infamous horror flick that isn't quite as good as its reputation. I've always enjoyed it, but I find it hard to recommend it to anyone save for curiosity value. Too many slow stretches between the action even though the film picks up towards the end, it still has some seriously creepy moments. One of the best sequences is when the group stumble on a young blind girl who claims she can SMELL him coming. During a thunderstorm, she screams. When the others come upstairs and enter the room, she yells that "He's here, he's HERE!" As the people exit and close the door there's darkness. Then lightning flashes and you can see he was hiding behind the door the whole time!

Another bit deals with the controversial scene where the killer rips Grandi's unborn child from between her legs. It's understandable why such a scene would cause such a stir (I believe in Britain, censors thought this was snuff footage) as it is quite tasteless although you never really see him eat the fetus, you do see him bite down on it. In the trailer this scene is shown from a different angle that actually reveals a tad bit more footage. Supposedly this sequence was removed from US prints but in a review back in 1979 from the (in)famous drive-in critic Joe Bob Briggs, he mentions this and a later scene that was also supposedly trimmed. Perhaps theatrical prints were complete but cut for the video release? Or maybe some prints got out uncut? I don't know for sure.

The other scene that was removed at least for the US video release under the title THE GRIM REAPER (Great box art, BTW) is the final shot where the killer is stabbed with a pickaxe. His innards spill out and he then proceeds to chow down on them! In the video version, you see him stabbed then cut to him falling over cue THE END.

The effects in the film aren't that great but are serviceable for what must have been a very small budget. Actually, Eastman confirms this in the interview on Media Blasters 2 disc set. There's an axe in the head, a head in a bucket, a scalp is ripped off and a hanging among other things. Nothing overly special but Eastman brings a fervent voraciousness to the role and is clearly the best thing about this movie and the one aspect that holds it all together and the only reason to sit through the film.

The music in the original film is very pedestrian and uninteresting save for maybe one or two cues. In the US video version, the original score is supplanted by creepy stock music that can be heard in old TWILIGHT ZONE episodes, the films KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS (1977), THE DARK (1979) and briefly in ALLIGATOR (1980). I actually prefer the music in the US cut as it definitely sets the mood much better than the humdrum original.

For some odd reason the first scene is all in German until after the second kill. In the US tape, this bit is in English. I assume the elements they had lacked English dialog for this opening sequence. This scene is interesting as well as it sort of sets the story up like the killer might truly be a monster. With the first kill recalling JAWS and the POV shot of something emerging from the ocean blood dripping onto the wet sand, an impression is given that this thing may not be human.

Another creepy story conceit is the appearance of an old woman who wanders around aimlessly never acknowledging when anyone has spoken to her. Also the seemingly abandoned villa. Everyone seems to have vanished without a trace. Director D'Amato sets the film up very well and is successful in certain areas but the near endless parading around by the cast members seems to go on for what seems like an eternity. With some of this trimmed down, the film could possibly flow better.

On the interview with Eastman and Kerova, it seems to be quite a laid back affair, although Eastman seems embarrassed to be still talking about this movie. He does mention that the film was not overly successful. Kerova, who looks more beautiful now than she did at the time of the film, seems to enjoy the attention the film has gotten. A bit more in depth discussion on this film would have been nice. There's also a continuation of a Joe D'Amato documentary that covers his career and not this film in particular. An audio commentary would have been great. I'm sure judging by Kerova's enthusiastic responses, she would have gladly participated in one.

The sequel, ABSURD (1981) is a bit better and is a far gorier version of HALLOWEEN. It's unrelated other than the fact that it shares the same crew. As it stands, ANTHROPOPHAGUS is an enjoyable movie whose notoriety is more intriguing than the actual film itself.
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #1 on: 12 Sep 2007 - 09:03 »

For some odd reason the first scene is all in German until after the second kill. In the US tape, this bit is in English. I assume the elements they had lacked English dialog for this opening sequence.
This opening is also in German on the Italian ,English and Spanish tracks on the Beat Records 2 disc out of Italy,there are English subtitles supplied though.
Anyone else notice D'amato's blink and you'll miss him appearence as he comes out of the cable car?
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Peter Neal

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #2 on: 12 Sep 2007 - 14:21 »

Funnily enough, the opening scene got also totally redubbed into "proper" German for its release over there. Most fans prefer the silliness of the "original" German version of this scene though. "We" don't really talk like that, ya know.... ;D

There's actually an audio commentary on one of the Austrian releases - sadly only in German - by the guys, who created the "Antropophagus" homepage.

http://www.d-udo.de/antropophagus/index.html

The page has also a huge section in English and is highly recommended!
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IL COMMISSARIO

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #3 on: 13 Sep 2007 - 09:55 »

I'm really surprised MB didn't acquire the sequel. They must not have sold many of the first one. I was in conversation with some of these guys at the Lo Mang meet and greet a few weeks ago. I should have asked as MB was there discussing their Shaw acquisitions.
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #4 on: 13 Sep 2007 - 11:30 »

I'm really surprised MB didn't acquire the sequel. They must not have sold many of the first one.
I think the rights are held by some major label,i seem to remember Marc posting something about it ages ago.
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Kevin Coed

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #5 on: 13 Sep 2007 - 11:31 »

MGM I think.
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Hans

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jul 2008 - 18:12 »

I would put this one in my top 10 favorite eurohorror films.  The only thing that dampers this one from being a classic is the overly-contrived plot line involving the pregnant woman and the infamous gore scene.  This scene could have been totally eliminated and the film still could have held up.  D'Amato has a wonderful eye for the camera and an equal ability for creating atmosphere.  I love the scene where Tisa Farrow throws the candlestick and breaks the mirror.  The final piece in the mirror lingers on her face.  It could have been a wonderful, moody atmospheric piece, but ended up being a sensational curiosity.  Kind of a shame, but it is still a favorite of mine.  I love the sequel as well.
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Kevin Coed

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jul 2008 - 18:25 »

The wife thinks that George Eastman is the scariest fucker on Earth in this film. She can't even look at the cover!
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Michael Blanton

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #8 on: 26 Jul 2008 - 18:30 »

I'm going to have to sit down and watch this soon.  Bought it about half a year ago, but I've so many movies to watch it sits sadly :-( unopened.
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Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #9 on: 26 Jul 2008 - 19:00 »

The wife thinks that George Eastman is the scariest fucker on Earth in this film. She can't even look at the cover!

 :-* :-* :-* :-*

Show her this link from me Rich ::)

http://www.lovelockandload.net/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=186
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Kevin Coed

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #10 on: 26 Jul 2008 - 20:06 »

That's the cover she hates!  ::)
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Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #11 on: 26 Jul 2008 - 20:14 »

That's the cover she hates!  ::)
i thought it might have been, get a print of his face blown up and use it to scare her at night ::)
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Peter Neal

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #12 on: 27 Jul 2008 - 19:57 »

The wife thinks that George Eastman is the scariest fucker on Earth in this film. She can't even look at the cover!


I agree with your wife! :-\
Watching Eastman in "Absurd" for the first time all alone at home gave me nightmares for a few days....when I was 17 (Oh, the shame! :-*)

Anyway, here's my review I posted originally over at "Shameless":

Antropophagus Revisited

WARNING! This review will contain some plot spoilers, so if you haven't seen Antro yet, don't read any further!

The hate and hysteria media ralley against "violent videos" in the 80's had different faces in different countries:
In Germany, this face clearly belonged to George Eastman munching on his own entrails with a prizeless facial expression of insanity.
It's one of those images which did the rounds in prime time news programmes to stir up the mood against the video industry in general and horror movies in particular. It's the type of scene which'll get your average Joe to subscribe to any kind of censorship you lay down his doorstep.
Unfortunately, and very much unlike the UK, Germany hasn't left those dark ages in the last 20 years and is still living with a media policy very much rooted in that repressive 80's mentality.
Anyway, that's why "Antropophagus" is THE nasty for me.
It's not the best movie on neither, the DPP's or German list of banned movies, but it embodies so perfectly the charme, the attraction and shortcomings of the profilic Italian exploitation industry, which was originally- and funnily enough- catering much of their output directely for the bloodthirsty tastes of its hungry neighbouring country, Germany, in which movies like "Zombie Flesh Eaters" had become HUGE theatrical sucesses.
Tisa Farrow, Zora Kerova and , of course, George Eastman aside, this movie is populated by a mostly pretty forgettable bunch of non actors.
But although I'm aware that many regard this as a rather boring affair with nothing much happening for the first two thirds, I see a lot of nice building up of atmosphere here. You really get a sense that our protagonists are trapped on this Greek deserted island with a cannibalistic madman and even sceptics have to hand it to Joe D'Amato that the scenes in the catacombs (combined with the spartanic, but effective synth score) are the stuff of true, primal nightmares.

As far as I'm concerned, no movie takes me back to 80's unspoiled VHS magic quite like "Antro", but I guess the likes of " Spit On Your Grave", "Cannibal Holocaust" or "Driller Killer" should have the very same joyful effect on UK fans of the "nasties".

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ecc

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #13 on: 27 Jul 2008 - 21:55 »

Quote
For some odd reason the first scene is all in German until after the second kill.

So were they German tourists in the Italian version?

Peter Neal

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Re: Anthropophagus (Joe D'Amato 1980)
« Reply #14 on: 28 Jul 2008 - 07:24 »

Quote
For some odd reason the first scene is all in German until after the second kill.

So were they German tourists in the Italian version?

Yes...though what they're talking is fairly far removed from "real" German, hence even the intro got "dubbed into German" for the release over there. :-*
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