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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

unexpected, indeed.

7/10
Author: yuukimaiko from ohio
12 June 2001

While perusing the 50cent rental section at the local video store, I came across "The Mafu Cage." Reading the flipside of the box led me to believe that this would simply be a run-of-the-mill 70s horror flick. However, it was hardly that; And very perversely bizarre. Cissy falls into the depths of insanity and general crackness while living with her older sister after her ape/monkey researching father dies...

Riddled with tribal music, inferred incest and a living room converted to a jungle, I'd recommend "The Mafu Cage" to any who desire a high weirdness factor in their movies.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Very fine work

Author: Chris Davis from Newbury, England
31 August 2003

Nobody going to say a word about Carol Kane's extraordinary performance? She was working with a series of animals, and having to ad-lib her character continuously. An amazing job by this superb and often overlooked actor.

Regarding the film itself - boggle. It's been years since I saw it, but it blew me away at the time. Here's hoping some noble figure will step up and put it on DVD soon.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

It was great in the theatre

5/10
Author: damien-16 from Lao People's Democratic Republic
11 July 2010

It seems to me all reviewers refer to the DVD when reviewing the film. That's a pity. In the theatre release, which I was fortunate enough to see, the colours are warm and rich, the lighting is subdued but atmospheric, and the acting, of course, is excellent. Especially Mz Kane, who could be whining and annoying in other films but does a great job here. It would be an error to simply see this movie as a horror flick. If you do so, you will be disappointed. This is a psychological thriller that draws on our archetypical fears. It thus presents us with a highly interesting content, but also the form is interesting. The unity of space, the closedness of the oppressive interior, contribute to the feeling of unease.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Weird!!!!!

5/10
Author: sugar-bear from Anywhere
25 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was flat out weird. Carol Kane plays Cissy, a woman who dresses in African-type clothing and has literally turned the house into a jungle. Cissy lives alone with her older sister, Ellen. They only have each other and you can tell right from the back that Cissy has issues!!! She loves her sister dearly and longs to spend time with her. She sleeps with her sister at night as if she's a child and does things that maybe not many women do to their sisters. For instance, there's this one scene where Cissy is sleeping with her sister in a hammock and then Cissy begins to kiss and touch her sister while she's asleep and then you see the hammock turn over. Don't know what the heck that was supposed to mean. Then this other night, Cissy is telling her sister how she loves to be naked next to her and how she's the only person that's touched her breasts and all that stuff. Then Cissy is pouring hot oil over her sisters back and giving her a sexual back massage. WEIRD!!!

Anyway, Cissy kills her pet monkey and threatens to commit suicide when she can't get another one. After cutting her wrist, her sister gives in and gets her another one. One day Ellen hears Cissy screaming and sees her beating the monkey to death with a chain. ISSUES!!!!!!!!!!!! Cissy then kills her sister's boyfriend, whom she hated. She then causes her sister to go crazy and eventually the sister dies. The quality of the DVD was very weak and dark. You can hardly see much of the movie but other than that....it was good!!! Once again, KUDOS to Kane!! She's excellent!!!! Every movie I've seen her in so far she blows me away. She's really good!!! I especially love it when she plays psycho characters like this one and the one from 'Office Killer'.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Actually its a clever study of the human psyche under captivity and dependency.

9/10
Author: imdwhispersbook from United Kingdom
4 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Actually, I rather liked this film. I was lucky enough to find the DVD edition on a shelf in my local Pound Shop. The lighting/filming techniques were behind those of the day and I think that was intentional - as it adds to the mystery of the whole story. You don't really understand the whole story until you've seen the whole film, sat for a while, thought about what it was about, watched it again and then finally formed a thesis around what and why the story went the way it did.

To answer a previous post; they don't appear to have any neighbours as such as they live in an old dilapidated manor house and its quite clear that any friends they do have are of the open-minded, scientific type who are'nt that interested in why someone may need something unusual.

It's a sort of 'what if' scenario where the extremes of entrapment are explored and it is quite clear why the two sisters are so psychologically deranged - if you have a little bit of insight in to the human psyche.

There are also two levels of captor/captee that maybe many miss.

The younger sister is actually captee of the older sister who is her provider of food/water/bedding/...and pets.

And the younger sister becomes captor through learnt behaviour from watching her father at his 'study', which is why she copies him and sketches her captives in the same way.

There is also a suggestion that hypnotic musical rhythms help to strengthen these psychotic pathways of the brain(hence the African rituals).

Her general behaviour is childlike, not grown up and illustrates that even though she has taken on the responsibility of captor she is not prepared mentally to accept this and care for her captees - which is why her psyche revolts. But at the same time she is trying to understand how the captee feels because she gets locked in the cage herself.

If you understand what I've said here, then you'll also see the similarities with 'The Cell'.

Quite an intelligent story I thought, though admittedly I originally bought it for a horror flick night in. I'd have given it a 10 if there was more explanation in the film of how it all started.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie

Author: wertufar from United States
25 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The review previous is wrong in every judgment. It was a terrifying movie but a movie of substance. The lighting was dark but terribly effective. There was a seventies look to the color and pacing but I think that is a good thing. And if such things concern you, Carol Kane was phenomenally beautiful and sexy and Lee Grant was also very attractive in a real person sort of way. James Olson was charming and acted well but he is one of those guys so ugly you are amazed there is a place for him in the industry. The acting by all was superb, truly superb. The use of stillness and quite speaking was wonderful... the person above most just not appreciate 70's cinema. This was a film not a movie... It would be terrifying to you if our buddy above had indicated he was a spoiler. This film is on my short list of great movies.

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15 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

The Sound Of Simka Screaming

1/10
Author: mamamiasweetpeaches from New York, NY
16 June 2005

Wow. This movie gave me a headache. I had seen the box for this movie in Mom & Pop video stores over the years and always wanted to rent it but never got around to it. It's now on DVD and I'm disappointed. Both by the quality of the DVD and also less than pleased with the movie itself. I think the whole premise of these gals living in a house that is part African jungle, complete with caged ape, with loud tribal music blasting and Carol Kane walking around in Afro-centric clothes complete with tribal make-up is just too surreal. Don't the neighbors MIND??? And how is the sane sister even sane having to live this way? this is explained away by the fact their father was an explorer in Africa who raised them like this. But he'd dead now. Yet they continue to live this way in "modern day" America. Well, anyway: the older sister (Lee Grant) works and watches over the younger crazy sister (Carol Kane) who plays with pet monkeys and illustrates them. When she gets mad she kills her pet monkey "MAFU!" and demands a new monkey. Like buying a new lipstick at the drug store within days a new pet monkey is provided her. Really? Can anyone order up a pet monkey and get one? Is it that easy. When not playing with (or killing) monkeys Carol also likes to play dress up, drink wine and dance around and spoon in bed with her sister. The rest of the time she's pitching a fit and screaming, screaming and screaming some more. "Mafu, Mafu, Mafu!" I swear if I ever have to hear the word "Mafu" again someones gonna get it. I respect them for trying to do something different.....but different doesn't always mean "Good". Avoid like the plague.

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4 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

I Can't Un-See It!

1/10
Author: David Fowler from United States
2 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An insane woman serially kills her multiple pet apes, has sex with her sister, murders the sister's boyfriend, then the sister dies and everyone but the nut-job ends up buried in the back yard....the end. It is a criminal pity that such a cast - Grant, Olson, Geer, and especially the brilliant Kane should have been wasted in this dire, depressing, profoundly ugly little movie - who's "high point" is the unspeakably vicious, brutal beating death of a captive orangutan - which I deeply wish that I could scrape from my memory as one scrapes dog excrement from the sole of one's shoe. Anyone who could derive any entertainment or enjoyment from this could sit smiling through a snuff film. Utterly irredeemable trash to be avoided at all costs.

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4 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

What the hell is this??

1/10
Author: JSwallowX1 from Ireland
5 January 2012

Honestly, I stopped watching this after half an hour. Usually I wouldn't stop watching a movie, no matter how bad it is. But there's a fine line... by god there is, and "The Mafu Cage" or "Don't Ring the Doorbell" as was the title I watched it under, certainly crossed that line. Firstly, it made no sense. Just what the hell was going on here? I was looking forward to watching it (albeit wasn't expecting a masterpiece) as Carol Kane ("When a Stranger Calls") was starring. The directing was awful, and the surrealism gave me a very bad feeling of melancholy... in fact, everything about the film did! The lighting and effects were diabolical, I couldn't make out what was happening half the time, and it's not just me who had this problem, as other reviewers have noted. Basically, Carol Kane plays a young woman with obvious mental problems from the word go who is struggling to adjust to life in America after she moves home from Africa where she grew up. Such is the extent of this problem that she insists on blasting jungle music all day, and sleeps in a hammock at night in a room full of plants. She screams for a Mafu... a type of monkey apparently, like the one she had in Africa. Her sister forbids having one in the house as would any sane rational person, until Cissy threatens to kill herself. I didn't get any further from there because on top of how depressed it was making me feel, and due to the fact I couldn't comprehend what the hell the director was trying to do, it was boring the crap out of me! There's some killings later on I've heard, including the brutal murder of an orangutan... and apparently the sisters have a incestuous relationship. I'm glad I stopped at the half hour mark. This was driving me crazy...

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6 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Huh?

1/10
Author: anxietyresister from United Kingdom
30 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you're going to make horror picture, you should make sure of the following:

1. It has an understandable plot.

2. It is scary.

3. It should filmed in enough light for you to know what's going on.

This film follows none of the above criteria. In fact, the words "PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER" on the front of the DVD box must be the biggest lie in the English language. So what as it got to offer? Well, no attractive women, Carol Kane and whoever plays her weird sister in this are as ugly as sin. What they wear is quite nice, perhaps because they moved from Africa at the start of the film. Why do I mention this? Because the plot seems to revolve around the younger sister missing her old home to such an extent, she plays tribal music full blast all day long, and walks about in outfits that wouldn't look out of place on a shaman's wife. Eventually she hears voices in her head(?) and decides to kill and torture a few people in a cage they have built into their house. There is a rather grim ending. And that's it. I was seriously freaked out by this surreal movie, which I doubt even made sense to its director. What was she hoping to accomplice? If it was giving me a hernia, her efforts were an unqualified success. 0/10

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