• Cannibal Apocalypse (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: March 17th, 2020.
    Director: Antonio Margheriti
    Cast: Giovanni Lombardo Radice, John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Tony King
    Year: 1980
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    Cannibal Apocalypse – Movie Review:

    “Relentless Action... Brutal Terror... Savage Hunger!”

    In Antonio Margheriti’s Cannibal Apocalypse, John Saxon plays a Vietnam vet named Norman Hopper who has recently returned to American soil after serving his country overseas. He leads a quiet life in Atlanta with his wife Jane (Elizabeth Turner) until the return of an old army pal named Charlie (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, or John Morghen if you prefer) causes him to flashback to the war – see, when over there in the jungles of the ‘Nam, Hopper had to rescue Charlie and his fellow prisoner of war Tommy (Tony King). When he found them in a pit, they were feasting on a Vietnamese woman unfortunate enough to have fallen in with the starving soldiers. Not only that, when Hopper puts his arm down into the pit to try and help the guys out, they bite him!

    Now Charlie and Tommy are on the run from the fuzz and they’re hoping that Norman will help him get the fuck out of Dodge. Norman doesn’t want anything to do with them – can you blame him? – and when he makes that clear, Charlie and Tommy go on a rampage, biting women in bars and fighting bikers and then eventually killing a few people at a flea market. The cops, led by Captain McCoy (Wallace Wilkinson), eventually capture Charlie with some help from Norman, but afterwards? Norman isn’t quite feeling like himself and after the promiscuous teenage girl next door flirts with him and he can’t help but bite her, he heads to the same clinic where Tommy and Charlie are locked up. By that point it’s too late! Unable to control his cannibalistic urges, he frees his old war buddies and they carve a wave of carnage through the streets, and then the sewers, of Atlanta!

    “POWs In Vietnam... starved in captivity... released with a taste for HUMAN FLESH!”

    Also known as Invasion Of The Flesh Hunters, Cannibal Apocalypse is an unabashed work of exploitation, moving along at a nice pace and throwing in enough seedy, trashy elements to work. It’s a goofy, gory mix of action and horror that basically throws logic out the window in favor of cheap thrills and it’s all the better for it. Margheriti was always just as good at directing action set pieces as he was horror and here he gets to combine the two genres quite nicely while the effects work from none other than Gino De Rossi do a fine job of bringing all of the story’s graphic carnage to vivid life on screen.

    The performances are pretty great here. Saxon gives the best ‘acting’ out of anyone in the picture. His character is also a bit more fleshed out than the others, so to be fair he’s got a bit more to work with here but really, John Saxon is great in most of the film’s he was involved in and this one is no exception. Radice gets to really chew the scenery here and he makes the most of it, playing his ‘infected’ Vietnam vet to the hilt, with King taking things almost as far. These two are an absolute blast to watch here!

    Cannibal Apocalypse – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino Lorber brings Cannibal Apocalypse to Blu-ray with the feature taking up just over 30GBs of space on a dual layered 50GB disc. Presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed in its proper 1.66.1 widescreen aspect ratio, the film is taken from a ‘new 4k restoration’ and overall it looks very, very good. Colors look quite good and the upgrade in detail, depth and texture compared to the older DVD release is very welcome and generally pretty impressive. Skin tones look good and black levels are solid. There are no noticeable compression problems and the image is free of any noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement. The picture is also very clean, retaining some natural film grain but showing very little in the way of actual print damage.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track is also of very good quality. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. Dialogue is clean and clear, the score sounds good. Everything is nicely balanced and there are no issues with any hiss, sibilance or distortion to complain about. The track is clearly dubbed but fans of the film will know that going into the movie.

    Extra features start off with a new audio commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas. As is typical with Lucas’ work, this track is very well researched and loaded with both information and opinion. He gives us plenty of background on director Antonio Margheriti and his genre-hopping filmography as well as the many hats he wore on some of his productions in addition to plenty of info on the leads and the supporting cast. He covers the score, the locations, the use of stock footage, the different characters that populate the picture, the cinematography and lots more.

    Also new to this release is Cannibal King, a ten-minute interview with actor Tony King. He speaks here about how he got into acting, gives us some background information on his career and then shares some stories about how he wound up being cast in the film and what it was like to work on the picture.

    The rest of the extras are carried over from the older Image Entertainment DVD release, starting with the fifty-four-minute Cannibal Apocalypse Redux documentary that is made up of some seriously great interviews with cast members John Saxon, John Morghen (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) and director Antonio Margheriti. For those who haven’t seen it before, it’s a fantastic piece that goes into a lot of detail about how the director and two leads felt about the film, what it was like working on the picture, Saxon’s own personal feelings on horror films and gore effects and lots more. It’s very in-depth and quite interesting.

    Also be on the lookout for the seven-minute location featurette Apocalypse In The Streets. In this piece we get a look at the Atlanta locations that were used in the shoot as they appear in the modern day compared with how they looked in the movie.

    Additionally, the disc carries over the European and Japanese trailers and the alternate US opening sequence. Menus and chapter selection are also provided and Kino provides some nice reversible cover sleeve art as well.

    Cannibal Apocalypse – The Final Word:

    Cannibal Apocalypse is pretty great stuff, a gleefully ridiculous mix of horror and action featuring top notch work from Radice and Saxon in their respective roles. Margheriti keeps things moving at a quick pace and this trashy little epic holds up well. Kino’s worldwide Blu-ray debut for the film looks and sounds great and contains a nice selection of supplements as well. Highly recommended!

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

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I wish Tony King would have got more work back in the day.