• Cannibal Terror/Devil Hunter



    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: August 18th, 2015.
    Director: Alain Deruelle/Jess Franco
    Cast: Robert Foster, Pamela Stanford, Burt Altman, Ursula Fellner, Al Cliver
    Year: 1981/1980
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    The Movie:

    Two low budget European gut munchers previously released on DVD from Severin Films live again, this time in high definition, thanks to the magic of Blu-ray!

    CANNIBAL TERROR:

    Cannibal Terror begins when pair of small time thugs laments the fact that they just can't seem to make that one big score they need so bad. Thankfully for them, a hooker with a heart of gold just happens to know the young daughter of a wealthy businessman who they could kidnap and hold for ransom! They swipe her up and a mysterious contact of theirs sends them out across the border into ‘cannibal country' where they'll hide out for a while until things cool down or the ransom is paid.

    After they grab the girl, who doesn't seem in the least bit upset that she's been kidnapped, they cross into the jungle where their leggy guide is promptly devoured by a bunch of European guys in bad face paint with bushy sideburns pretending very ineffectively to be savage tribesmen. This doesn't stop our intrepid group of no-goodniks from sallying forth, however, and they soon forget about their dead friend and make their way to the hideout. Unfortunately for them, their hideout happens to be right in the middle of cannibal central and they soon find that they're what's for dinner!

    This movie is bad... so, so bad. After a disco-fueled opening credits sequence the film wanders around for a good twenty-minutes or so before much of anything really happens. From there, the plot just gets more and more ludicrous with long stretches of bad dialogue and inactivity. The film is poorly shot and makes use of a fair bit of bad quality stock footage in an attempt to make Europe look more tropical than it really is, but sadly, it doesn't work very well.

    The film does have one saving grace, however, and that's the cannibals themselves. There are obviously not natives, they're just a bunch of grubby looking Euro-dudes with really bad makeup. They’re often seen running around in loin clothes trying not to laugh at one another or trip over each other. One of the cannibal children that we see towards the end of the film is actually wearing what look to be Converse All-Stars or some sort of equivalent sneaker.

    The scenes where these most unconvincing cannibals are running around wreaking havoc are fun in a ‘did they really think we'd buy this?' sort of way and these scenes are at least entertaining, even if it's for all the wrong reasons. Aside from that, however, this is a pretty slow film. It's kind of cool to see some Euro-cult regulars pop up in the movie – Pamela Stanford and Antonio Mayans are both here - but this one was made fast and cheap and it shows - you have been warned.

    DEVIL HUNTER:

    Directed by the late, great Jess Franco, Devil Hunter begins when a gang of hoodlums kidnap an up and coming actress named Laura Crawford (Ursula Buchfellner). They decide to ask for a huge ransom and wait it out at a remote island somewhere in South America that is, unfortunately for them, inhabited by a tribe of cannibalistic natives!

    Meanwhile, back in civilized Europe, Laura’s manager hires a tough guy named Peter (the mighty Al Cliver) to head out to said island and not only bring Laura back unharmed, but to return with the ransom money as well. So Peter sets out to do what he’s been hired to do, but…. Cannibals! Oh and there’s a pretty awesome decapitation in here too.

    There’s not a whole lot to the story here and those expecting the intensity of something like Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox will be sorely disappointed but if you want to see what Franco can or can’t do in the cannibal sub-genre, well, this offers you that chance. So does the director’s earlier film Cannibals, mind you, but this one is the better choice if guilty of many of the same cinematic crimes.

    So yeah, with the story pushed to the wayside what does the movie offer us? Naked ladies, cheap gore and horrible racial stereotypes. Not enough? Well, leave. Because that’s basically all you get. The scenery is nice (if you like frequently out of focus shots with people off camera holding palm tree bits in front of the lens), so there’s that, but there’s no deeper meaning here, no serious plot twists and no particularly interesting characters. It’s a lot of good brainless fun, but don’t expect anything more than that.

    You’ve got to give Jess credit though for putting together a tribe of ‘cannibal natives’ that are as multicultural as a United Colors Of Benetton ad. Anytime that these guys are on screen the movie is pretty awesome. They lead a simple life, they don’t want to work but instead want to bang on their drums all day, strip and kill any female virgins they come across and appease their horrible cannibal god. They’re not interested in the ways of the white man, probably because every white man in this movie is an asshole.

    It all builds to a satisfyingly weird conclusion where a naked cannibal lady with long fingernails and no eyebrows does a writhing jig of sorts that segues into a fight where Al Cliver takes on the evil cock-swinging main cannibal god/thing.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Cannibal Terror and Devil Hunters are presented on a single BD-50 disc framed at 1.66.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. There’s a fair bit of print damage in the opening few minutes of Cannibal Terror but once we get past that part it’s not in bad shape. Colors look decent here and while minor print damage does pop up throughout the movie you really have to look for it to notice it. Devil Hunter fares the same, and it’s also taken from a pretty clean looking source, though the colors in this feature are a bit more faded than in the first one (there are scenes that look a bit darker than you might expect them to). Detail is good on both transfers there isn’t much room to complain about compression or edge enhancement here. Grain is obvious throughout both movies but never overpowering.

    Audio options are provided for Cannibal Terror in English and French language LPCM Mono and for Devil Hunter in English and Spanish but there are no English subtitles available for the French or Spanish tracks unfortunately. Subtitle issue aside, the audio here is fine. Both tracks are properly balanced and easy to follow with reasonable depth to them.

    Extras for Cannibal Terror start off with The Way Of All Flesh which is an interview with Alain Deruelle (aka Allan W. Steeve), the director of this mess. He speaks for just under twenty-one minutes about going to film school and how he got his start in the industry. He talks about where his Steeve alias came from, how his films were distributed, and of course, shooting Cannibal Terror. He then talks about Jess Franco, making two films at the same time, working on low budget films and quite a bit more. There’s also a single ‘spicy deleted scene’ (basically a strip tease with one of the actresses that runs a minute and a half) here as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.

    As far as the extras for Devil Hunter go, carried over from the previous DVD release are the film’s trailer and an interview with the late director entitled Sexo Canibal. Here Franco speaks for seventeen minutes about how he dislikes cannibal movies. He smokes a lot of cigarettes and says fairly insulting things about some of the actresses he’s worked with over the years. You know, it’s a typically disjoined and fascinatingly odd interview, the kind Franco excelled at giving. We also get an interview with Bertrand Altmann called The Spirit Of The Beehive that runs eleven minutes and that lets the man talk about his work as a stuntman, dealing with producers, the locations where this movie was shot, what it was like working on the movie and more.

    The Final Word:

    Cannibal Terror and Devil Hunter are both pretty horrible, but you probably figured that out by this point. Having said that, there is loads of entertainment to be had here and plenty of cheap, trashy, pulpy thrills.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




























    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Lalala76's Avatar
      Lalala76 -
      Its been said that Devil Hunter has in fact the superior Spanish Audio, even though its listed as French.