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By James Whittington, Sunday 3rd June 2018
The Mountain of the Cannibal God
A true "nasty" from the golden era of moral panic, Sergio Martino's The Mountain of the Cannibal God (La montagna del dio cannibal) was caught up in the furore mainly due to its graphic violence, questionable sex scenes and animal cruelty. Now, thanks to Shameless we can view this Italian gut-muncher in a smart UK Blu-ray debut with a 2K transfer without the unnecessary, out of context and meaningless animal cruelty sequences, well apart from what happens to a pig, more on this later!
Ursula Andress is Susan, traveling to the New Guinea jungle in search of her scientist husband who's vanished in the untamed Green Inferno. Soon the poisonous spiders and deadly snakes bare their teeth, as her exploration party lead by Edward Foster (Stacy Keach) journeys towards the sacred mountain of Ra Ra Me, where death awaits. Erupting in an insane climax of frenzied flesh-eating at the sacred mountain of the Cannibal God!
Cannibal films are not to every horror fan's taste and I have to admit I'm not their greatest champion finding most to be rip-offs of Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, but The Mountain of the Cannibal God has an edge to it, mainly because it came before those notorious titles. The film is done totally straight, has a great cast and shot incredibly well on location in Sri Lanka. The terror gradually builds up, from the alligator attack to the village invasion, the strange rituals, the waterfall climb and the madness of the final reel, everything you'd expect from a cannibal movie and a bit extra.
The effects are just as powerful as they were in 1978, blood is the deepest shade available and if there is a wound to be shown you can be sure there's some sort of worm-like creature moving over it or inside. As for the infamous end sequences, well they will test the casual viewer's stomach as it still is incredibly graphic with bestiality scene being only one of the more surprising and jaw-dropping moments that have passed the BBFC's scissors.
The camera work captures the heat and claustrophobia of the jungle setting with the pulsating soundtrack, a mixture of electronic heartbeats, crashing percussion and organic sounds giving it an off-kilter feeling of unease, doom and agonising death.
The transfer is stunning whether the scenes is outside the lush green judge, beside a cascading waterfall or in the village or caves the image retains as much detail as you could want. The soundtrack is a little flat with over enthusiastic effects used to emphasise the horror.
Extras wise the disc contains the documentary: Cannibal Nightmare - Return to The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Sergio Martino talking about filming animal cruelty, a theatrical trailer, and Italian credits.
Though not the goriest cannibal movie made but still an acquired taste, The Mountain of the Cannibal God is a fine example of a genre that sometimes created its own problems by trying too hard to shock.
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