Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cannibal Terror (Alain Deruelle, 1981)

"What's that over there? Oh, it's just a bird." Hello, before I go any further, I would just like to quickly inform you that particular line of dialogue is one of the few hings that makes Cannibal Terror a totally worthwhile experience. It's true, I had to wade knee-deep through a mile of festering garbage to hear it uttered, but when the line finally spews from the mouth of Silvia Solar, and we're shown stock footage of a bird sitting in a tree (the same exact footage of a bird we saw at an earlier point in the film), I fell headfirst into a five second giddy fit. While I'll be the first to admit that  five seconds doesn't sound like whole lot of time for one to engage in an action that contained enough giddiness to be considered full-on by any giddy means. But as those who have seen the film can properly attest, five seconds of giddiness is as good at it gets. Just for the record, the reason I enjoyed the bird line so much is because it's the kind scene you might find in a parody of a bad movie. However, this film, which is directed by Alain Deruelle and co-written by an uncredited Jess Franco (Devil Hunter), is no parody, it's deadly serious. Sure, I would have probably been a tad more forgiving had Jess Franco directed the film instead of this Alain Deruelle fella. But he didn't, so get over it. Oh, I will. It's just that Monsieur Deruelle doesn't know how to film a shapely woman walking down the street if his life depended on it. In fact, someone should ban him from owning and operating a camera, because he doesn't have the pervert's eye. The pervert's what? The pervert's eye. All European men are born with the eyes of a pervert, but it's up to the individual to maintain the health and well-being of their perverted peepers. And clearly the director of this barely competent cannibal opus has not done that.
The scene where the gorgeous Montserrat Salvador walks down the street was botched beyond belief. Of course, I'm not saying the entire scene should been nothing but close-up shots of her undulating buttocks. I just thought shooting the scene with a long lens from start to finish was a mistake from a filmmaking point-of-view. And, on top of that, it's not a smart way to introduce one of the film's key characters, as it keeps us at a distance.
Meanwhile, her bumbling accomplices, Mario (Jess Franco regular, Antonio Mayans) and Roberto (Gérard Lemaire), are down at the docks breaking into a boat in broad daylight. Well, at least they try to break-in to one. You see, while Roberto keeps watch, Mario is struggling to gain entrance to the cabin. Which is weird, because all that stands in his way is a flimsy-looking door. Anyway, as they continue to wallow in their own ineptitude, I couldn't help but notice that they're all getting close-ups. Nothing against Antonio and Gérard, especially Antonio, who's quite handsome, but I don't want to be staring at their stupid faces. Eventually breaking into the boat (the door was unlocked), Mario and Roberto make off with a bag of miscellaneous loot.
As the shapely Lina (Montserrat Salvador), perhaps named after Lina Romay (after all, their respective booties have a similar buoyancy about them), makes her way through the streets of an unnamed resort town, her womanly hips swaying side to side with a hypnotic brand of child-bearing confidence, Madame Danville (Silvia Solar) is getting her nails done at a beauty salon. A mature goddess in a pink on pink summer dress with a giant slit up the side, Madame Danville, sitting with her legs crossed as the manicurist works on her left hand, decides to let her daughter Florence ("The Little Annabelle," that's what it says in the credits) play out outside.
This decision, as we will soon find out, is going to having a lasting effect on everyone I just mentioned. You know who else it's going effect? That's right, Florence's father, Monsieur Danville (Jess Franco regular, Olivier Mathot), who Madame Daville and Florence call from the beauty salon. At first, the call seems to revolve you're typical husband and wife bullshit. But all that changes once Florence picks up the phone. I don't know, there's something disturbing about watching Olivier Mathot making cat noises over the telephone while a little girl, whose voice has been dubbed by an adult woman, tries to guess what animal he is.
Have I mentioned that Montserrat Salvador is stunning? If not, I just want to make it clear that, even though Alain Deruelle doesn't know how to film a statuesque woman walking down the street, the sight of Montserrat going for a stroll in her strappy heels and long blue skirt with green flourishes here and there was breathtaking. Now, I'm not 100% sure if Montserrat Salvador is the name of the actress who plays Lina (the credits aren't that reliable), but the name Montserrat Salvador seems to suit her. So, until anyone tells me otherwise, Lina, the sexiest kidnapper to hit the French cannibal circuit in ages, will be known as Montserrat Salvador.
Running into Florence on her way to a bar, Lina has a brief chat with the little scamp. Their conversation, while innocent in nature, is the catalyst for the coming events. Sitting at the bar, drinking her troubles away, Lina rendezvous with her partners in crime, Mario and Roberto; I must say, I was quite envious over the fact Roberto got to grope the softness of Lina's supple hindquarters upon meeting her (she obviously didn't mind as his face remained slap-free for the duration of their stay at the bar). Frustrated that they can't seem to land a big score, Lina, Mario, and Roberto try to come with some new ideas how to make money; the level of their frustration gets to the point where Lina ends up telling Mario, "My ass says go fuck yourself." I don't know what means, but anytime Lina refers her ass, I'm a happy camper.
As they're brainstorming, Lina remembers the little girl she met on the way to the bar. And just like that, a kidnapping scheme is hatched. I wonder how long it will take for the threesome to botch the kidnapping. Oh, sure, the kid was easy to grab (for some strange reason the actual abduction isn't shown). But remember, Mario and Roberto had trouble breaking into an unlocked boat. As expected, a mild snafu occurs, a fourth accomplice ends up in police custody (he was struck by a car while crossing the street), so they end up switching to plan B; which entails them flying to the jungle to wait further instructions.
While their plan is evolving, you'll notice that Montserrat Salvador has changed into a white dress. You better get used this particular garment, because it's going to be clinging to Montserrat's succulent frame for the rest of the movie. And you what? I'm totally at ease with that, as the dress looks fabulous on Montserrat; the matching white strappy heels were not too shabby either. Oh, and keep an eye on Montserrat's face when Roberto is being given instructions over the phone, her reaction acting is top-notch.
After enduring a quick plane ride, Lina, Florence (who doesn't seem to mind the fact that she's been kidnapped), Mario, and Roberto meet Mickey Morris (Miriam Camacho) in a field. Hired to take them to a safe house, Mickey, a luminous double-chinned flower goddess with crimped hair, tells them to hop in her jeep. First, she's got to get them across the border, which might require some trickery. But don't worry, Mickey's got the thighs for the job. Did you just say, "thighs for the job"? I did. Oh, okay. Just checking. The reason I stopped you was because you don't often hear that expression. Well, let me a bit more clear. While Lina, Florence, Mario, and Roberto travel on foot, Mickey needs to get the jeep past the border crossing. Of course, I don't why they couldn't have just driven the jeep the same way they went on foot (it is, after all, an off-road vehicle). But that's not important. What is important that Mickey says, "I know what to do." Call me deranged, but I believe her.
Driving up to the check point, Mickey simply lifts up her orange hippies dress, flashes the guard a bird's eye view of her left thigh, and three seconds later, she's on her merry way. As she's pulling away, one of the guards can be heard saying, "Nice thighs." To which the other guard says, "You can say that again." Are you sitting down? Because the original thigh-praising guard actually says, "Nice thighs," again. Unbelievable! Maybe this movie isn't as bad as I initially lead on? I mean, double-chinned hotties with nice thighs are all I really need for a movie not to suck nowadays.
Unfortunately, Mickey's life is about to come to a tragic end. What do you mean? I'd rather not get into it. Okay, let's just say her world class thighs are about to be consumed by a tribe of cannibals. 
Arriving at the safe house, the foursome meet Antonio and his wife Manuela (Pamela Standford from Lorna the Exorcist). Deciding that now is a good time as any to take a bath, Manuela removes her red dress and starts to wash her milfy body in an outdoor tub. She thinks she's alone, but Mario is watching her. Horrified when she discover she's being spied on, she runs into the jungle (which are more like woods, if you think about it). Tying her to a tree, Mario rapes Manuela. It was weird watching one Jess Franco regular treat another Jess Franco regular so shabbily, but this technically isn't a Jess Franco film.
If you thought Mickey's thigh flash was awesome, wait until you see Lina's attempt to seduce Antonio's guitar-playing house boy. Entering the room with a girlish thud, Lina puts her left hand on her left hip, and pretty much dares the house boy not to get hard.
Playing it cool (he barely acknowledges her), the house boy tries his best not to notice the shapely slab of feminine perfection standing before him. Realizing that the house boy isn't going to succumb to her charms so easily, Lina sits down underneath a zebra pelt and crosses her legs. Holding her right leg firmly in the crossed position with both hands for a period of time that can be best described as "lengthy," Lina throws the house boy a sly smile.
The blue macaw perched next to the house boy has no idea what kind of structural metamorphosis is taking place inside his jeans. But since I own a pair of jeans that are similar to the house boy's, I know exactly what's going on in there. Still plucking away at his guitar, the house boy doesn't know it yet, but he's about to come face-to-face with every breeders fantasy; a short-haired brunette built specifically for hot, throbbing, infant-producing sexual intercourse.
Moving closer to the house boy (making sure to push the blue macaw out of the way), Lina sits down, re-crosses her legs, and goes in for the kill. Allowing him free reign to massage the corporeal viscosity out of her calves and thighs, the house boy metaphorically dines on Lina's  wonderfully proportioned body with the a reckless form of heterosexual abandon.
As you might have guessed, I was quite taken with Lina's encounter with the guitar-playing house boy. It was not only sexy as hell, it also managed to relieve the icky feeling I got from the rape scene. On top of that, it's the only scene I wasn't tempted to fast forward past. Granted, the drunken, post-rape party sequence has its moments; one in particular features Montserrat Salvador staring directly at the camera during her dance number. But the scenes where Lina, Florence, Roberto, and the house boy (don't ask me what happened to Mario) wander the jungle were downright tedious. Pursued by Monsieur and Madame Danville, who managed to track down the kidnappers (Monsieur Danville calls a border guard a "cunt" at one point), the sheer amount of jungle wandering in this film was too much to take at times.
The only instances you need to look at the screen during their exhaustive jungle march are when Silvia Solar thinks she sees something in the trees ("it's just a bird") and the part where Lina lifts up her dress in a veiled attempt not get it wet while walking through a stream, and, in the process, reveals more of her gams. Hey, man, if there's one thing Cannibal Terror gets right, it's the amount of times we see Montserrat Salvador showing off her tasty thighs.
Everything else, on the other hand, is bungled beyond belief. The so-called cannibals were some of the least convincing "natives" ever to be captured on film, the film's editing is sloppy, the gut-munching scenes were bland and repetitive, the continuity is piss poor, you could see cars traveling on a nearby road during the scenes that are supposed to take place at the cannibal tribe's remote jungle village, and...well, actually, I could spend all day listing things that are wrong with this movie. But truth be told, I'd rather not do that. If you like buxom women with short hair and sturdy legs, one's who might respond to name Montserrat, then I'd say it's your duty to see this film. As for everyone else, steer clear of this abomination.

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  1. Sometimes a real clunker isn't worth it. Even if one of the actresses does have nice legs.

  2. Amen, brother.

    "Don't go mistaking paradise for a pair of long legs." ~ Watts, Some Kind of Wonderful