Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Al Cliver, Lina Romay
I love Jess Franco. He did some really fun exploitation films form the 60’s and 70’s but he also did some very bad films too. He reminds me of Takeshi Miike, my favorite Japanese director making modern horror films.
Miike does so many films in a year that there’s no way they can all be good. He has a few key films each year that are great and the others are made to help fund the good ones. I don’t know if that’s why some of Franco’s movies are really bad but some of them really are. None of Franco’s films aren’t “classics” but when all cylinders are firing he can create some of the best in the exploitation genre.
With all of that said I was thrilled to see a Franco film from Blue Underground. I had high hopes for a fun romp. What I ended up with is something that’s entertaining but entertaining for the wrong reasons.
Like so many films of this type the story starts with Jeremy taking his wife and daughter with him on an expedition into the jungle. This is where things get entertaining. A bunch of natives that look oddly Euro (hilarious) attack the boat, kill Jeremy’s wife, kidnap his daughter, and cut off his arm and eat it. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen African tribesmen played by Caucasians. My favorite instance, which is slightly funnier than this instance, is an Ilsa movie where a group of sheiks are played by Hispanic and Italian guys.
Jeremy heads back to New York, recovers from his injury, bounces around town for a few years, and finally decides to head back to the jungle to search for his kidnapped daughter. Upon his return to the jungle Jeremy discovers that his daughter has been taken as a white queen (hence one of the original names of this film White Cannibal Queen) and is worshiped by the tribe that kidnapped her. So bizarre action follows.
Had the box not had Franco’s name on it I wouldn’t have realized he made this film. His best films are far from perfect but he does have a way with cinematography and I’ve always loved his use of color. None of that is present here. His films often feel very lavish and this one comes off cheap. Did he make it for a quick buck? Probably. On top of the low budget look of the film the acting is also bad and so is the script. You’ll get characters with no depth and that appear from nowhere and the assembly is bear amateur quality.
Cannibals is funny in that really bad MST3K way that could be fun to watch in a group but it will disappoint true Franco fans.
This anamorphic widescreen presentation probably looks better than the film actually deserves. The presentation is consistent even if the source film isn’t. Some shots are much more crisp and clear than others but not due to the transfer but due to the source material. Detail is pretty good even through the grain and artifacting. It’s no hi def presentation but it’s a pretty solid one considering the age of the film and the quality of it.
This English mono dub is a pretty basic presentation but it gets the job done. It may make you laugh along with everything else because the film will remind you of old Kun Fu films where the dub doesn’t even try to match the lip movements of the actors. There’s no dynamic range but everything is fairly clean and easy to hear.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The packaging here is pretty basic and the art isn’t as inspired as what we’ve come to expect from Blue Underground. Franco Holocaust nearly makes this DVD worth owning. This is a fairly long interview with director Jess Franco discussing the cannibal film genre and his experiences making this film. His stories are interesting and surprisingly honest.
Other than the interview there’s a theatrical trailer.
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10
The Movie 4/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10