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By James Whittington, Wednesday 11th July 2018
Another month another cannibal classic from Shameless, this time its Umberto Lenzi's intestinal-churning gut-muncher, Cannibal Ferox. Often used as a test for one's ability to stomach some of the hardest scenes filmed on celluloid, this brutal movie from 1981 has troubled censors constantly. Now available on Blu-ray in its fullest form ever in the UK, thankfully most of the scenes of animal cruelty have been removed.
An academic, Gloria (Lorraine De Selle), journeys to the Amazon jungle where things go awry when her party encounters sadistic druggy villain Mike (Giovanni Lombardo Radice aka John Morghen), as the travellers venture further into the heart of darkness, they soon discover what it means to be the hunted prey.
Known across the globe as Make them Die Slowly and Woman from Deep River, Cannibal Ferox is one of the true nasties, a movie that likes to push boundaries as far as it can fling them and then punch you in the face. Still retaining some questionable animal brutality, the film is still a difficult watch even after all these years. Umberto Lenzi had already struck gold with his work Man from Deep River (also known as Deep River Savages and Sacrifice!) in 1972 and Eaten Alive! in 1980, but here he turns up the brutality to 11. The effects are quite something looking as horrific and real as they did when I first saw this some thirty years ago or so.
Its surreal at times such as the moment the two female leads sing whilst being held captive to keep their spirits up then switches to a story of survival and a manhunt whilst constantly hammering home just exactly who is the monster(s) of the piece.
As I said earlier the effects are truly stomach churning and still have a powerful impact when viewed today. The castration sequences, the hanging by hooks and head slicing pieces will still make you squirm and even if you have watched the interviews in the extras section and know how they were achieved you still feel nauseous when watching. The 2K restoration transfer is nothing short of miraculous, now you can appreciate the stock it was shot on in all its grindhouse gory glory. Yes folks, it was shot on 16mm and is bereft of any digital noise reduction or sharpening. This was how Lenzi wanted it to be seen and Shameless have truly delivered. The remastered soundtrack is just as impressive being almost free of any clicking or drop out.
The extras, though not comprehensive include two fascinating pieces; the last ever interview with Director Umberto Lenzi and an incredibly outspoken interview by Giovanni Lombardo Radice. Raw and brutally honest these pieces are worth the price of the disc alone just for their uncensored thoughts on each other.
Other extras include a video piece comparison of before and after 2K Restoration, exclusive photos for Director Lenzi's own archives, the original English audio soundtrack as well as a hand finished barf bag!
Shameless have given a one-time nasty a truly stunning release, just make sure you don't eat before you view!
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