Cannibal films are a sub genre of exploitation film made mostly by Italian filmmakers through the 1970s and 1980s. This sub genre is a collection of graphically gory movies that usually depict cannibalism by primitive, Stone-age natives deep inside the Asian or South American rain forests. Even though not all cannibal films show cannibalism on screen, all the movies are connected with the genre by stating that the tribe is cannibalistic. While cannibalism is the uniting feature of these films, the general emphasis focuses on various forms of shocking, realistic, and graphic violence, typically including torture, rape, castration and/or animal cruelty. Similarly to Mondo films, the main advertising draw of cannibal films was the promise of gore, exotic locales, and cruel behavior, and eventually became a popular aspect of Grindhouse culture. The peak of the genre's popularity was from 1977 to 1981, a period that has come to be known as the cannibal boom.
Due to their graphic content, the films of this subgenre are often the center of controversy. Many of the films include genuine slayings of animals, making them a common target of censors around the world. The inclusion of graphic gore and sexual violence has also landed the films in censorship problems.
The Mountain of the Cannibal God
A girl and her brother fly to New Guinea to look for a lost expedition, led by her husband, which has vanished in the great jungle. (99 mins.)
“ The Mountain of the Cannibal God (Italian title: La montagna del dio cannibale) is an Italian cult movie starring Ursula Andress and Stacy Keach with English dialogue. The film was also widely released as Slave of the Cannibal God and released in the UK as Prisoner of the Cannibal God. The film was banned in the UK until 2001 for its graphic violence and considered a "video nasty". ” - lankalion
During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew. (95 mins.)
“ Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian exploitation film directed by Ruggero Deodato from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici. Filmed in the Amazon Rainforest and dealing with indigenous tribes, it was cast mostly with United States actors and filmed in English to achieve wider distribution. Francesca Ciardi and Luca Barbareschi were among the leads as native Italian speakers to qualify the film as European for distribution on the Continent.
Cannibal Holocaust achieved notability because its graphic violence aroused controversy. After its premiere in Italy, it was seized by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges. He was charged with making a snuff film, due to rumors that some actors were killed on camera. Although Deodato was later cleared, the film was banned in Italy, the UK, Australia, and several other countries due to its graphic depiction of violence, sexual violence, and the slaughter of six animals. Some nations have since revoked the ban, but the film is still barred in several countries. The critic David Carter suggests the film is a commentary about civilized society.
Filmed in the Amazon Rainforest, the movie tells the story of the search for a documentary film crew who had gone to film indigenous tribes and been missing for two months. A second team, headed by the New York anthropologist Harold Monroe, recovers their lost cans of film and learns their fate. Much of the film is the portrayal of the recovered films' content; the sections of "documentary" film function similarly to a flashback and grows increasingly disturbing as the film progresses. ” - lankalion
After a photographer is captured by a native tribe and put through several trials, he must fight to protect the village and his new love interest, the chief's daughter. (93 mins.)
“ l paese del sesso selvaggio (1972), better known as The Man from the Deep River in North America or Deep River Savages in Europe, is an Italian exploitation film directed by Umberto Lenzi. It is perhaps best known for popularizing the cannibal genre of Italian exploitation cinema during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Lenzi was probably trying to imitate the content of notorious Mondo cinema, which had gained considerable Grindhouse popularity since Gualtiero Jacopetti and Paolo Cavara made Mondo Cane in 1962, even though this film is fictional. Like Man from Deep River, Mondo films often focus on exotic customs and locations, graphic violence, and animal cruelty.
The film was mainly inspired by A Man Called Horse, which also featured a white man who is incorporated into a tribe that originally held him captive. The title The Man from the Deep River is even supposed to echo the title of A Man Called Horse. ” - lankalion
An oil prospector escapes from capture by a primitive cannibal tribe in the Philippine rain forest and heads out to locate his missing companion and their plane to return home. (88 mins.)
“ Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977; English: Last Cannibal World, also known as Jungle Holocaust) is a cannibal exploitation film directed by Ruggero Deodato, which stars Massimo Foschi, Me Me Lai and Ivan Rassimov. The screenplay was written by Tito Carpi, Gianfranco Clerici and Renzo Genta, and tells the story of a man trying to escape from a jungle island inhabited by a native cannibal tribe.
The film was distributed under a confusing number of different titles and edits, and is available uncut on DVD from the company Media Blasters, under their "Shriek Show" label. It is the precursor to Deodato's controversial 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust, but was originally slated to be directed by Umberto Lenzi as a follow-up to his prototypical 1972 cannibal film Il paese del sesso selvaggio (Man from Deep River). ” - lankalion
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals
A reporter and an anthropologist traverse the amazon jungle to unearth the origins behind a mysterious woman, reputed to have been raised by a cannibal tribe. (85 mins.)
“ Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (Emanuelle E Gli Ultimi Cannibali; a.k.a. Trap Them and Kill Them) is a 1977 Italian sexploitation film by Joe D'Amato.
It is notable for its scenes of gore, which include rape, castration, cannibalism and disembowelment, and for being a mix of erotic and horror, something on which the director would later focus with his films Porno Holocaust and Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead. ” - lankalion
Papaya: Love Goddess of the Cannibals
A team of geologists attempt to remove a native cannibal population from an island to perform atomic research, but the cannibals' female leader disposes of them one by one by seduction. (86 mins.)
“ Papaya dei Caraibi (1978) (Papaya, Love Goddess of the Cannibals) ” - lankalion
After a raft accident in the jungle, three anthropology students and their guides attempt to escape from a primitive cannibal tribe that has hunted them down. (90 mins.)
“ Primitif (1978) (Primitives; Savage Terror) ” - lankalion
A young woman teams up with an adventurer to find her missing sister in the jungles of New Guinea and they stumble upon a religious cult led by a deranged preacher whom has located his commune in an area inhabited by cannibals. (92 mins.)
“ Mangiati vivi!, also known by its English title Eaten Alive!, is an Italian cannibal-rape film, directed by Umberto Lenzi, released in 1980. Alternative titles for the movie, include "The Emerald Jungle" and "Eaten Alive by Cannibals". It stars Robert Kerman, Janet Agren and Me Me Lai. In secondary roles, it stars Franco Fantasia, Mel Ferrer and Ivan Rassimov. It is one of the most notorious cannibal films, after Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust. The film features scenes of graphic nudity, castration, rape, beheading, animal abuse and impalement. While the whole genre is defined by these elements, this film goes significantly above and beyond the formula. Most of the violent scenes from the film have been lifted from other movies in the genre (like the scene where a python swallows a live monkey, lifted from The Mountain of the Cannibal God), even from Lenzi's other cannibal film Man From Deep River. It was released on DVD by Shriek Show. It is regarded as equal to Cannibal Ferox by the director, who says Cannibal Ferox did well at the box office. The story is loosely based on the Jonestown Massacre of 1978. ” - lankalion
White Cannibal Queen
A man who lost an arm and his family to a tribe of cannibals returns ten years later to bring back his teenager daughter, only to find that she grew up into a beautiful blonde woman who became the cannibals' queen. (90 mins.)
“ Mondo Cannibale (also known as Cannibals and White Cannibal Queen and Barbarian Goddess) is a 1980 cannibal film by prolific Spanish exploitation director Jesús Franco which starred a 17-year-old Sabrina Siani . It is one of two cannibal films directed by Franco starring Al Cliver, the other being Man Hunter (aka Devil Hunter, aka Sexo Canibal).
Mondo Cannibale is considered even by Franco himself to be the worst cannibal film ever made, due to its slow pacing, bad acting, terrible special effects and awful camera work. An uncut DVD was released by Blue Underground. The DVD features an interview with Jesus Franco and the French theatrical trailer. Franco said in the interview that he only did the 2 cannibal films for the money, and admitted he had no idea why anyone would want to watch them. He said that Sabrina Siani was the worst actress he ever worked with in his life (next only to Romina Power). ” - lankalion
A Vietnam veteran heads to an island inhabited by cannibals to save a kidnapped model not only from her kidnappers, but also from the cannibals' lurking Devil god. (102 mins.)
“ Il cacciatore di uomini (1980) (The Man Hunter; Devil Hunter) ” - lankalion
A man is doing research on an island where a strange tribe lives. The man's wife gets into a (sexual)... (90 mins.)
“ Orgasmo nero (1980) (Black Orgasm) ” - lankalion
Three friends out to disprove cannibalism meet two men on the run who tortured and enslaved a cannibal tribe to find emeralds, and now the tribe is out for revenge. (93 mins.)
“ "Make Them Die Slowly" redirects here. For the White Zombie album, see Make Them Die Slowly (album).
Cannibal Ferox, also known as Make Them Die Slowly, is a 1981 Italian exploitation film written and directed by Umberto Lenzi. Upon its release, the film made claims to being "The most violent film ever made". Claims were also made in promotional material that Cannibal Ferox was banned in 31 countries, though the official list of countries that have banned it has never been released. This figure has been quoted in the Guinness Book of Records. ” - lankalion
After botching a kidnapping, two criminals hide with their victim in a friends house in the jungle. After one of them rapes the friend's wife, they're left to be eaten by a nearby cannibal tribe. (93 mins.)
“ Cannibal Terror (French title: Terreur Cannibale) is a 1981 Cannibal film. It was directed by Alain Deruelle and written by Julio Pérez Tabernero and H.L. Rostaine. Released at the end of the "cannibal boom", this film is French, instead of Italian, like most films of the genre. ” - lankalion
A young woman seeks vengeance and finds love when her parents are killed in the Amazon and she is taken prisoner by an indigenous tribe of headhunters. (90 mins.)
“ Schiave bianche: violenza in Amazzonia (1985) (Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story) ” - lankalion
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley
A plane crashes in the Amazon jungle, and its passengers must battle their way through cannibals, slave traders, wild animals and murderous piranha fish to safety. (88 mins.)
“ Nudo e selvaggio (1985) Massacre in Dinosaur Valley; Cannibal Ferox 2) ” - lankalion
Cannibal Holocaust II
Four friends head into the jungle to locate a lost professor but instead face off against treasure hunters who are torturing and killing natives. (90 mins.)
“ Natura contro (English: Cannibal Holocaust II and English: The Green Inferno) is a 1988 Italian jungle adventure film directed by mondo director Antonio Climati. Climati had no intention of making a sequel to Cannibal Holocaust, and the title was used by distributors of the film to cash in on the success and notoriety of the earlier film.
Until recently, the film was relatively obscure. It is best known among cult fans as the film that ended the cannibal genre, which, by then, had virtually fallen extinct. In 2002, British distributor VIPCO released Natura Contro on VHS and DVD as Cannibal Holocaust II, the film's most common release.
This was the last film directed by Climati, who had gained notoriety as a major player in the mondo documentary film genre. Although fictional, this film deals with many common tropes of mondo films, including exotic customs and locales, and cruel violence. Strangely, however, the film appears to show compassion towards animals, while a main staple of mondo films is often real violence towards animals. ” - lankalion
Giovanni Lambardo Radice and John Saxon are Vietman vets that bring back contagious virus that turn people into cannibals when bitten. (96 mins.)
“ Cannibal Apocalypse (also known as Apocalypse domani) is a 1980 horror film directed by Antonio Margheriti, written by Margheriti and Dardano Sacchetti, and starring John Saxon. ” - lankalion
An internet advertisement placed by a man with a cannibalistic obsession brings yields a willing victim to serve up his own flesh in this dramatic account of the crime that shocked the world. (89 mins.)
The Cannibal Man
A young man, Marco, working as a butcher, accidentally kills a taxi driver. His girlfriend Paula wants to go to the police so he has to kill her too... (94 mins.)
“ The Cannibal Man (Spanish La Semana del asesino) is a 1972 horror film, directed by Eloy de la Iglesia, and written by de la Iglesia and Antonio Fos. ” - lankalion
“ Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death is a 1989 film starring Shannon Tweed and Bill Maher. The film is a campy send-up of pop culture motifs and societal trends, including feminism (and feminist movements' fragmentation around various issues), B-movies (particularly Cannibal Holocaust), and California. It was written (under the pseudonym J. D. Athens) by J. F. Lawton, who also authored Pretty Woman, the Under Siege series of movies and the television show V.I.P. ” - lankalion
The network where the famous anchorwoman Grace Forsyte works, is collapsing and she would do everything to regain the favour of the audience... (91 mins.)
In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal. (101 mins.)
“ Ravenous is a 1999 horror film directed by Antonia Bird and starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle and Jeffrey Jones. The film revolves around cannibalism in 1840s California and some elements bear similarities to the story of the Donner Party and that of Alferd Packer. Screenwriter Ted Griffin lists Packer's story, as recounted in a couple of paragraphs of Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, as one of his inspirations for Carlyle's character. The film's darkly humorous and ironic take on its gruesome subject matter have led some to label it a black comedy. The film's unique score by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn generated a significant amount of attention. The film's production did not get off to a good start. Original director Milco Mancevski left the production two weeks after shooting started. He was replaced by Bird at the suggestion of Carlyle, who had worked with Bird on the film Priest. ” - lankalion
A young couple spend the night in a restaurant, only to find out that it is haunted by three dead women who hunger for human flesh. (84 mins.)
We're Going to Eat You
A secret agent investigates a village that is populated by crazed, inbred cannibals. (90 mins.)
Cannibal Janet, seems to be living a normal life but is eating her way through her family. (122 mins.)
Satan's Cannibal Holocaust
Kelly, a young journalist, is working on her next big article about her father, the local mayor. It... (70 mins.)
Welcome to the Jungle
Two young couples head into the New Guinea wilderness in an effort to find Michael Rockefeller, the heir to the Rockefeller fortune who disappeared in 1961. (83 mins.)
“ Cannibals: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2007 American horror film directed by Jonathan Hensleigh and starring Sandy Gardiner, Callard Harris and Nick Richey. ” - lankalion
Four teenagers on an outing in the woods are attacked by a trio of mutant cannibals. (88 mins.)
“ Cannibal Campout is a 1988 horror film directed by Jon McBride. It is about four teenagers on a camping trip who are attacked by a trio of mutant cannibals living in the woods. It was shot completely on video, and released to video in 1988.
Jon McBride would go on to make another low budget horror film the next year, entitled Woodchipper Massacre. ” - lankalion
The Curse of the Screaming Dead
A group of Southern deer hunters stop at a church graveyard in the woods. Their activities arouse the corpses of long-dead Confederate soldiers, who attack them. (91 mins.)
“ Curse of the Cannibal Confederates (also known as The Curse of the Screaming Dead) is a 1982 horror film directed by Tony Malanowski and distributed by Troma Entertainment. The film follows six young friends who unwillingly raise the undead corpses of Confederate soldiers, resulting in what the video box promises as a "a finger-licking good fright film".
The film is a remake of sorts. It's based on a film that director Tony Malanowski had collaborated with "star" Steve "The Sandman" Sankuhler, known as Night of Horror. The former was also about dead Confederate soldiers tormenting a bunch of dirty hippies in a Winnebago. ” - lankalion
A group of tourists become stranded on an uninhabited island where they are stalked by an insane, violent, and grotesque killer that slaughtered the town's former residents. (90 mins.)
Cut and Run
A reporter and her cameraman connect a surviving Jonestown leader and a TV exec's missing son to a drug war where jungle installations are being massacred by an army of natives and a skilled white assassin. (90 mins.)
“ Ruggero Deodato, director of the classic cannibal movies JUNGLE HOLOCAUST and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, returns to similar territory here. CUT AND RUN stars Lisa Blount as a reporter who, along with her cameraman, begins a story on a series of bizarre murders that soon seems to have a link to the case of their boss' missing son (Willie Aames of CHARLES IN CHARGE and EIGHT IS ENOUGH). When both stories lead the two to the Venezuelan jungle, they discover a drug cartel led by a deranged colonel who has commandeered an army of savage cannibals. Long shown in the US only in a heavily edited version, Anchor Bay presents Deodato's film completely uncut. ” - lankalion
A group of models find themselves trapped in a factory inhabited by a cannibalistic degenerated family. (75 mins.)
Six people find themselves trapped in the woods of West Virginia, hunted down by "cannibalistic mountain men grossly disfigured through generations of in-breeding." (84 mins.)
“ Wrong Turn is a 2003 American horror film directed by Rob Schmidt and written by Alan B. McElroy. The film was shot in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and stars Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jeremy Sisto, Lindy Booth and Kevin Zegers. It is the first film in the series which has since grown to include four direct-to-DVD films. ” - lankalion
The Green Inferno
A group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest and soon discover that they are not alone, and that no good deed goes unpunished. (100 mins.)
“ The Green Inferno is a 2013 American cannibal horror-thriller film directed by Eli Roth and co-written with Guillermo Amoedo. The film stars Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Sky Ferreira and Daryl Sabara. ” - lankalion
A young boy living in 1950s suburbia suspects his parents are cannibalistic murderers. (81 mins.)
“ Parents is a 1989 American black comedy horror film directed by Bob Balaban and written by Christopher Hawthorne. It stars Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, Sandy Dennis and Bryan Madorsky. The film is about a suburban boy in the 1950s who suspects his parents of cannibalism. ” - lankalion
In Germany, as graduate student Katie Armstrong researches cannibal killer Oliver Hagen for her thesis, she becomes obsessed with her subject and ultimately plunges into a lifestyle similar to Hagen's and the thousands of people like him. (87 mins.)
“ Grimm Love (original German title Rohtenburg) is a 2006 psychological horror film inspired by the Armin Meiwes cannibal murder case. ” - lankalion
A seemingly friendly farmer and his sister kidnap unsuspecting travelers and bury them alive, using them to create the "special ingredient" of their famous roadside fritters. (101 mins.)
“ Motel Hell is an American 1980 horror comedy film directed by Kevin Connor and starring Rory Calhoun as farmer, butcher, motel manager, and meat entrepreneur Vincent Smith. It is often seen as a satire of modern horror films such as Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Because of its low budget nature, the original intent was to make a serious horror film, with moments of disturbing wit and irony. ” - lankalion
Dying Breed interweaves the two most fascinating icons of Tasmanian history: the extinct Tasmanian tiger... (92 mins.)
“ Dying Breed is a 2008 Australian horror film that was directed by Jody Dwyer and stars Leigh Whannell and Nathan Phillips. ” - lankalion