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Immediately banned in many countries after its release, Joe D'Amato's
Italian Gore Classic "Antropophagus" of 1980 is a truly disturbing and
immensely scary video nasty, and fans of ultra-violent and nasty Horror
should not be disappointed. Potential viewers have to be warned,
however: You need a strong stomach for this! The uncut version of
"Antropophagus" features some of the most graphic and disturbing and
goriest acts of violence you will ever see in a movie, and if there was
a ranking of the most out there gore scenes ever brought to screen,
this sick little flick would easily make it in the top 10! I don't want
to give the most shocking scenes away, but I assure that anyone about
to watch this flick can prepare for extremely horrid gore scenes.
A couple of tourists travel to a Greek island which they find deserted at their arrival. It quickly becomes clear that something evil is haunting the place. Something with an appetite for human flesh...
Whether you like it or not, "Antropophagus" is a movie that you will not forget quickly! In case you don't like gore this is not your type of film, but in case you do, avoid any censored version and watch this demented Cult-sicko uncut. There is simply no point in watching cut versions of Exploitation-King Joe D'Amato's movies, and "Antropophagus" in particular is a movie that is intended to shock, so the uncut version is essential. Apart from its shocking violence, "Antropophagus" maintains a very scary atmosphere, and its cast includes many familiar faces for Italian Horror fans, such as Tisa Farrow and George Eastman (whom Spaghetti Western fans might also know).
In case you are easily offended, avoid this movie! But if you're a fan of Italian Gore films and Exploitation, you should certainly not miss this one! I advise my fellow Horror-fans to get a beer, lean back and start to enjoy the sick imagination of Joe D'Amato... When the movie reaches its climax, you will only be using the edge of your chair!
Well, I FINALLY got to see this infamous shocker after hearing about it for years. 'Antropophagus' a.k.a. 'The Grim Reaper' is one of the most despised and loathed of all the so-called "video nasties", and director Joe D'Amato seems to be regarded as little more than a figure of fun for many. The people who hate this movie usually call it "boring", "dull", "too slow", and so on for the most part, and then complain about the bad taste of the two infamous gore scenes towards the end. One involving a pregnant woman, the other the killer. I won't go into any detail regarding either scene so as to not lessen their shock value. Now, the strange thing is I inadvertently watched the DVD of 'The Grim Reaper' which cut both of these scenes out, and while I was sorely disappointed not seeing them, I didn't find the rest of the movie dull at all. In fact I thought the movie managed to create quite an effective feeling of dread and suspense throughout. While I don't think the movie is as strong as Fulci's 'Zombie' (which also starred Tisa Farrow), I enjoyed it a lot more than say, 'Zombie Holocaust', which is generally rated higher by many hard core horror fans. So make of that what you will. My advice though is try and see the original uncut 'Antropophagus' for maximum effect.
Being a rather jaded horror/exploitation fan, rarely do I find anything
that actually shocks me or scares me to the core (although there are
some D'Amato films I refuse to ever watch!). I was rather disappointed
with his "masterpiece" Buio Omega, so I didn't have high hopes for this
one, either. But when I found a copy of Anthropophagus, I couldn't pass
up the opportunity. I popped it in not expecting to be all too wowed by
it, and boy, was I surprised. This is the first movie in a long time
that I can honestly say scared the life out of me. Most D'Amato sleaze
isn't worth a second thought, but I found myself engulfed by
Anthropophagus. Not very often do you find exploitation films that are
actually scary, as they're usually just shocking and grotesque. This
makes D'Amato's film very unique to me. What I think he did better than
most schlock was that he used actual tricks of the scary movie trade,
rather than just thinking of the most vomit worthy ideas imaginable
(which are still present here). He uses horror techniques such as great
cinematography, character development, and perhaps the best part, one
hell of a fear inspiring monster.
The horror starts in the opening scene, when two teenagers on a beach are killed in a very gory fashion. We learn more of these two later. It cuts to the main characters, a group of family and friends: Andy, Maggie, Daniel, Arnold, Carol, and a kind stranger, Julie, who they decide to let come along. They're all heading for a small island in the Mediterranean for some vacation time, except for Julie, who's there to meet up with those two killed on the beach. They arrive to a mysteriously deserted town, save one woman who disappears from sight often. As night falls, the group soon fears that something horrible is happening, and they begin to panic when a pregnant Maggie goes missing. They decide to search the house they're staying in when they find Rita, a blind girl who is a friend of Julie's. She says something has killed everyone on the island except her, because she is the only one who can sense when the killer is coming and is able to hide. Later, when Carol finds Julie and Daniel kissing, she runs off and locks Julie in a cemetery, while all but Rita and Daniel go to find her. Unfortunately for those two, Rita senses the killer later that night, and Danny is butchered. The terrified survivors then set out to unravel the mystery, rescue the still missing Maggie, and find the strange disappearing woman. One by one, the victims fall to the Grim Reaper, leaving Julie and Rita alone with the slowly approaching monster. Can they escape?
Anthropophagus manages to be a very effective scary movie without any flash or special effects by going back to the basics. Simple techniques like creaking steps or strange sounds in the basement helps build tension, and the release is some of the scariest jump moments I've ever experienced. The scene where the group is searching the basement is one of the most eerie in the movie, and then, completely unexpectedly, Rita jumps out of casket with a knife in her hand. I literally jumped from my chair. After these scares, it manages to keep the atmosphere, because whatever is stalking them, whatever this monster is trying to kill them is still an unknown to the audience. When he's finally revealed in the bedroom, my stomach dropped out. His appearance is so strange, so grotesque, that it makes him one of the most fear inspiring creatures ever in movies. What makes him scary is that you can see that he's still just a man. He's not some strange sea creature or alien. He's an insane, disfigured, and emotionally tormented human being running rampant (he's actually a very sad character). Instead of having him kill everyone in an insane, bloody onslaught, he chooses his victims carefully, stalks them, and dispatches them in unexpected and disgusting turns of events. Included are some of the most appalling scenes ever thought of, most notably the bite out of the fetus. Displays such as this not only make Anthropophagus a legitimate scare fest, but keeps it as hardcore horror. D'Amato really works his magic with this one.
Of course, nothing's perfect. A big problem with Anthropophagous is long, drawn out scenes of characters slowing walking around the island, either doing nothing or searching for survivors. These scenes are extended within an inch of their lives, and are meant only to pad running time. That's what I found wrong with Buio Omega: too much filler, not enough action. When you get to the last half hour, then the movie flies into gear and knocks you out with a punch, but other than that, there are some notable events here and there, but it's mostly rather dull. Still, just that last half hour makes it one of my favorite thrillers of all-time, and personally, one of the scariest movies ever. Of course, this is unusual, because not only is D'Amato not known for thrillers, but this movie is usually considered simply dull, gross, and an over-the-top video nasty. Too often are movies cast aside simply because of grotesque content, with no other aspects considered. This is never included in lists of actually good movies, so most people are probably going to disagree with my review. I'll say it boldly and proudly; Anthropophagus is one hell of a horror movie, and is one of the scariest movies ever made.
I first watched this movie under the title of The Grim Reaper. Most of
us fans of the movie probably have as well. Surprisingly, I had never
heard about this movie until a few years ago. I remember watching it
and think that there was something about this movie that was above most
of its competition. Of course, I hadn't seen the uncut version of the
film yet so I was just going off of the atmosphere. When I was told
what I was missing in the uncut version I had to find it. Obviously, I
did. And it wasn't through Shriek Shows new DVD.
A group of people, including Tisa Farrow of Zombi 2 fame, set sail to a secluded island. Upon setting shore, they notice that no one is in site and begin to find dead mummified bodies throughout the town. They don't realize that an extremely impending figure has murdered everyone on the island and they are next.
Sounds simple and it is. George Eastman who plays The Monster even says in an interview that this movie was only made to make money. There was nothing artistic about it. But, nevertheless, the movie is great. Obviously, this movie is not for everyone as some find it boring and over-hyped. I happen to love this film. The sense of impending doom covers this movie from top to bottom. And the 2 particular controversial scenes are great. Sure, the special effects are terrible but it is the thought of what is happening that makes you realize how sick this really is.
I am not a huge fan of D'amato's works but this movie is excellent. For any real collector of horror, this is a must have. By the way, I did end up picking up The Shiek Show release of the movie. It is well worth having. But, if you can find the original American version of the movie I would get it also, under the title of The Grim Reaper. The music selection in certain scenes are different. 10/10
This is a pretty cool movie, although I do reckon that you need to be a little sick in the head in order to truly enjoy Joe D'Amato's wicked imagination. "Antropophagus" (LOVE the title!!) is a notorious video-nasty because it contains shock-sequences that ...well...aren't exactly for the squeamish! The pivot figure is a savage and bloodthirsty man that prowls a Greek island (Greek islands are dangerous tourist places apparently...anyone remember 'Island of Death'?) and devours pretty much everything and everyone that crosses his path. The film focuses on the encounter between this maniac and a group of young tourists that coincidentally strand on the island. Apart from the downright nauseating gore (he eats a fetus, for Christ's sake!), this is a rather suspenseful and atmospheric Italian horror film that surely ranks among D'Amato's best work, alongside "Beyond the Darkness" and "Death Smiles at Murder". In case you're a fellow Italian horror fanatic, you'll love the cast that includes George Eastman, Tisa Farrow and Serena Grandi. True, there are some really tedious moments to sit through but the gore is rewarding and the music is terrific. There equally is some gratuitous sleaze to enjoy, as well as some nice photography. Due to its violent and raw nature, "Antropophagus" is one of the most cut films ever. Avoid any version that says "Grim Reaper" on the cover because that's the version that leaves out all the sweet nastiness you're so desperately looking for :)
I have already seen this classic formula in horror films, in which a
group of young friends go on vacation to a far-away land, only to find
their trip cut short by a series of fortuitous and gory events,
followed by an imminent death. "Antropophagus" manages to stand out in
its own way, by offering a genuinely frightening villain, extreme
gruesome deaths and a perfect setting for the story. I have always
thought that the locations of a horror film sometimes have a greater
role than the central characters of the story. In this case, the
scenario in which the action takes place is a beautiful island in
Europe; a beautiful island indeed, but also a devastating scenario that
causes a feeling of isolation and vulnerability.
In "Antropophagus", a group of travelers go on a trip to Greece and are joined by a young woman named Julie, who asks them for a ride to an island because she wants to meet some friends. The group agrees to go to the island with Julie, except for one of the girls (Maggie), who stays on the boat, because she finds herself unable to walk due to an ankle injury. When the group leaves, a frightening looking man breaks into the boat, killing the sailor, and taking Maggie with him.
While the group explores the seemingly deserted island, they come across a rotten dead body, which causes them to rush back to the boat, only to find it adrift. Julie suggests taking shelter at her friends' house, and when they get there, they find the family's blind daughter in an utter state of panic. The teenage girl, named Henerietta, explains them that her family was killed some days ago by a lunatic. Later, the friends find out that most of the island residents were murdered by the same insane killer, a man named Nikos, who feasts on human flesh and is now out to get them.
I have seen hundreds of horror films and I can honestly say that I am not easily frightened. While I can see that certain horror villains, such as Michael Myers, are frightening and creepy looking, that's basically it; I can acknowledge their creepiness, while not necessarily being afraid of them. With this film, I was genuinely afraid of the antropophagus (performed by the surprisingly good-looking Luigi Montefiori). The cannibalistic villain appears as a gruesome beast-like creature with hideous scars all over his face, shredded clothes and most of all, a very sinister smile and crazy eyes that give the impression that he is a wicked combination between a man and a ravenous wild animal that is about to catch his prey. The antropophagus is definitely one of the most intimidating villains I have seen and his image is haunting. "Antropophagus" features some very effective chase sequences full of suspense and desperation, in which the killer unstoppably goes after his human prey with ferociousness in his eyes and a deranged smile.
The gore is plentiful and intense, which made my stomach turn once or twice, while not necessarily making this film a torture show. I admit I am easily impressed by gore and I tend to dislike extreme brutality, even when it looks ridiculously fake. However, just like I feel about "Cannibal Holocaust", sometimes gore is justified, when is not just there for the sake of seeing guts scattered all over the place. In some cases, like it happens with this film, the crudeness of the gore contribute to evoke a strong feeling of vulnerability and even anxiety.
The lead actress is Tisa Farrow (Mia's less known sister) who gave her last performance in this film, in which she accurately provided everything we expect on a lead girl from a classic horror movie: she's beautiful, but also angelic and innocent. Her character is likable and nice, but also capable of becoming a warrior towards the end and facing that horrible man that is out to get her. And speaking of the devil, the antropophagus himself is played by Italian actor Luigi Montefiori (who goes by the name of George Eastman in this film). I have never seen Montefiori in anything else, except "Antropophagus", but I honestly have to say that this is one of the scariest horror villains I have seen in basically 20 years as a horror fan. His performance should be praised, as well as the makeup artists who turned the handsome Montefiori into a horrible beast-like creature that literally gave me nightmares.
To this day, "Antropophagus" remains as one of my favorite horror films, although in all honestly, I don't see it very often, because I actually find it scary and even depressing for moments.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An group of tourists offer to give an American, Julie(Tisa Farrow), a
ride to an island village where pals of hers(..a French couple we see
killed at the opening of the film)were supposed to be waiting for her.
Deciding to remain on the island for a spell, the group find the
village without people, providing quite an ominous suspicion that
something's amiss. When the sailboat they were riding is sent away
mysteriously into the sea adrift, the group ponder why, holing up in
the home of Julie's friends, awaiting for the night to fall, hoping
that the boat would return to shore. The remaining members of the group
do find a person in the village, but she remains elusive warning for
them to leave the village. They then find the French couple's blind
daughter who is deeply traumatized. But, what none of the visitors plan
on is encountering a dangerous, psychopathic cannibal(George Eastman,
in hideous make-up, with unhinged eyes..his build works to enhance how
scary he looks as he approaches victims)without an ounce of humanity.
He seems devoid of anything remotely civilized and there's a reason
revealed later involving his son and wife in a raft isolated in the
middle of the ocean.
Aristide Massaccesi(Joe D'Amato)and George Eastman craft quite a sickening tale which has given "Antropophagus-The Grim Reaper" an assured following. "Antropophagus" is the very definition of a slow-burner as it idles along showing the tourists walking throughout the village(..modeled after the Greek Islands and looking eerily similar to Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's "Island of the Damned")attempting to find any citizens. I love horror films which show visiting outsiders finding a complete village abandoned like a ghost town as if they just vanished off the face of the Earth, and seeing our cast moving throughout and finding no one certainly worked for me. I think this beautifully sets up just how monstrous the film's predator really is..such a menace that he empties a city of it's people. I think Massaccesi's decision to not show the killer until 50 minutes in will test the patience of many, but I felt that the director was building the dread of his arrival. I mean, we know that someone is on this island somewhere and I felt that Massaccesi wishes to keep him hidden for as long as possible. His impact to the film, when he does arrive, is immediately felt when Eastman's fiend bites a plug of skin from the neck of a victim. He'll also bite a chunk of flesh from a throat later in the film when he pulls a victim's face through the hole of a mansion's ceiling. The most infamous death concerns the removal of a fetus from a pregnant victim's womb(..Massaccesi said it was a rabbit)taking a bite out of it. You also see the aftermath of a cleaver stabbed into a victim's face. Massaccesi even pays homage to Spielberg with an underwater attack at the very beginning reminiscent of Jaws. There's even the eating of intestines that will leave many jaws dropping to the floor in dismay. Massaccesi has shown(..as Buio Omega will prove)that he isn't afraid of making films with disturbing subject matter and scenes with (in)human behavior that shock. I think the film's finest moments occur when Massaccesi shoots the use of candle-light at night through the darkened rooms of the French couple's home with Julie and Bodin's Daniel encountering a frightened innocent hiding from Eastman's monster, and specifically the Roman catacombs where Eastman's lair of eaten bodies is located(..this is very akin to the work of Lucio Fulci with the presence of remains, corpses, skulls, bones & red-eyed rats running about). The film also has a nifty sequence where Julie finds a hidden room where Eastman's sister kept many of his first victims through the breaking of a mirror, in the mansion of a family who worked for the village. Also, cool is a suicide where a woman decides to hang herself, and Julie, at one point, is trapped in a gated graveyard by a jealous Carol(Zora Kerova; who was upset because Daniel preferred Julie over her). A young Serena Grandi has an early role as the pregnant victim, Maggie, who is found by her husband in the catacombs. I think "Antropophagus" is very similar to Fulci's works at the time(..from "Zombie Flesh Eaters" into his more sadistic 80's gore flicks)and just as willing to push buttons, repelling weak-hearted audiences. To those of us who have seen a bunch of these movies, though, the impact isn't as severe, but I find his unflinching ability to shock rather amusing. But, I think it can be sensed, here, that when inspired, Massaccesi can create a sense of atmosphere. With the amazing setting, Marcello Giombini's often haunting music score, and Enrico Biribicchi's lush cinematography, Massaccesi had all the tools to make quite an impression. Unlike many, I didn't have any problem with the pace because my eyes were taking in the location and how it was brought to the screen. And, Eastman is quite an impressive beast.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A perfect example of a "notorious" film that has been canned by many
and seen (uncut) by few. As I have been in the latter bracket for
years, I thought it was high time I chucked in my two cents worth.
Not only do I like "Antropophagus" very much, I think D'Amato has been unfairly maligned. His "Emmanuelle and the Last Cannibals" (see my review), for example, is classic trash, and never less than enthralling. It zips along and delivers everything the ad art promises. It isn't dull and it's nicely shot, too. His "Beyond The Darkness" (see review) is also righteous exploitation, a shameless look at a deliciously revolting subject.
Which brings me back to "Antropophagus". Often criticized for being boring, badly made and slow, it is none of those. Its island setting is atmospheric, D'Amato creates creeping suspense, and George Eastman, as the flesh eater, is memorably hideous. And the scene involving the removal of a fetus and its ingestion is just want genre fans ordered.
There is a creeping sense of death and decay surrounding this fine horror entry and I, for one, appreciate its stench.
Big George 'Luigi' Eastman 'Montifori' wreaks havoc on a Greek Island
in a film I'd only ever seen in severely cut form (under the title 'The
Grim Reaper'). Is this film any good in it's unedited form? Well, I
After two German tourists are murdered on a beach, we get to meet Tisa Farrow (of Zombie Flesh Eaters and The Last Hunter) who appears once again in an Italian gore film, this time getting a lift to a Greek Island from some holidaymakers, including a pregnant woman, her husband, some guy, his sister, and another guy and a sailor. The sister does tarot cards and doesn't like what she sees, and she doesn't like Tisa either because the guy she fancies keeps putting the moves on Tisa instead of her, even though due to the very blurred copy I watched both of them looked almost exactly the same.
They all sail to the island and find it strangely deserted. The pregnant woman hurts her leg, and is soon kidnapped by someone who cuts of the sailor's head (and puts it in a bucket for safekeeping). The rest wander around town, catching fleeting glimpses of a mysterious woman and finding another survivor who keeps rambling on about how someone killed everyone on the island. Our poor victims gather in a house, wandering what to do, and how to get back to their ship, which is now adrift. Plus, a storm hits the island.
I'll warn you now: Even though you get to see a couple of killings near the beginning, it's fifty one minutes before Big George puts in an appearance! What a sight he is though, all seven foot of him done up like some one man zombie army. Once he shows up, he tries to munch down on those who remain, but who will survive and will we get to see a certain character eat his own intestines (which was entirely cut out of the British print)? Although slow, and cheap, Anthropophagus neatly builds up the suspense so when Big George does appear he's really creepy and daunting. The whole empty island thing helps the film a lot (as it did in Island of Death and The Wind) maybe folks should make more films set in Greece. And is it just me or does this whole premise rear it's head in Stephen King's Desperation? You know, the 'one person killing an entire town' thing?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Also known as "Man-Eater" or "The Grim Reaper". This film is a definitive
must-see for all lovers of those 70s Euro horror trash flicks!!! Nearly the
whole time there is nothing happening, the actors behave as if they were in
a soft porn and the special F/X are pretty cheesy! But "Antropophagus" has
his very own charm that makes him so enjoyable: the last 15 minutes are a
real splatterfest and main actor George Eastman is giving an immortal horror
film performance with playing the insane man-eater. Two notorious scenes
made this movie being legendary:
- in one scene George Eastman tears out the embryo out of the stomach of a pregnant woman.
- at the end a heavy wounded man-eater starts to eat his own guts...
Not to forget that trash mastermind Joe D´Amato was really able to create a pretty creepy atmosphere! If you liked "Antropophagus" check out his great "Erotic Nights of the living dead" - a semi-porn zombie shocker that also stars the outstanding George Eastman!!!
Euro horror trash at its best!!!!!!
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