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A grim, gritty and hellishly absorbing portrait of everyday madness and despair
Woodyanders19 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Dour, moody, petulant, very masculine and unsociable loner abattoir worker Marcos (a fine, low-key, creepily nonchalant performance by Vincente Parra) and his peevish, unhappy girlfriend (the lovely Emma Cohen) take a ride in a taxi one fateful night. The irritable cab driver tosses them out when they start making out in the back of his taxi. Marcos and the cabbie have an altercation which results in the cabbie being killed. Marcos' girlfriend wants to tell the cops. Marcos, who's distrustful of authority due to his lowly working class social status, throttles his girlfriend in a fit of pique. Pretty soon Marcos becomes extremely paranoid and begins to kill every last person who suspects him of being a homicidal maniac (Marcos even whacks his own brother with a wrench). Marcos strikes up an uneasy friendship with an earnest, but suspicious gay neighbor. Things get even more tense. Meanwhile, Marcos chops up the corpses residing in his spartan, squalid rathole abode and disposes of the body parts by incinerating them in the slaughterhouse furnace.

A grave, gruesome, exceedingly unnerving and disconcerting depiction of how severe self-loathing and one's miserably meager station in life can feasibly drive you murderously around the bend (Marcos registers strongly as a hauntingly sullen and scarily twisted proletarian anti-hero), this dark, stark, deeply disturbing and harrowingly plausible psychological horror portrait of everyday gratuitous violence, repressed sexuality (there's an edgy air of homo-eroticism apparent in the relationship between Marcos and his meddlesome neighbor), and seething, volatile little guy angst makes for a very queasy and unsettling viewing experience. The late, great Eloy de la Iglesia's taut, austere, fiercely humorless and deliberate direction, ably assisted by Raul Artigot's grainy, gloriously unadorned no-frills cinematography, Fernando G. Morcillo's spare, spooky, nerve-jangling score, occasional outbursts of hideously graphic and genuinely shocking violence, gradual pacing, an unsparingly solemn tone, and properly subdued naturalistic acting from the uniformly solid cast, creates a frightfully squirmy and sweaty suffocating gloom-doom atmosphere which ultimately delivers one hell of a potent and lingering kick-you-in-the-gut wallop. Anchor Bay's typically up-to-par DVD offers a nice widescreen presentation with the trailer as the sole extra.
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Sordid and macabre Spanish horror with a killer obligated to murder during a long week
ma-cortes11 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
¨The Week of the Killer" its correct translation of the original Spanish title results to be a grisly, superbly amusing horror story with vivid performances from the mature employee well played by Vicente Parra , also producer , as he is admirably enigmatic and mysterious . In spite of the English title "The Cannibal Man", this is not a movie about cannibalism. It's a Spanish slasher classic of the chilly grotesque with a convincingly gruesome playing . This suspenseful movie is plenty of thrills, chills, high body-count . Entertaining shocker about vicious killer terrorizing people deal with a worker (Vicente Parra) , working as a butcher, accidentally murders a cabman. His fiancé (Emma Cohen) wants to go to the police so he has to murder her too. He then goes berserk and has to kill his brother (Charly Bravo) , his brother's fiancée (Lola Herrera) and his father (Fernando Sanchez Polack ), who have become suspicious. The butcher origins a slaughterhouse and gets rid of the bodies by taking them to the butchery . Meanwhile a neighbor (Eusebio Poncela) is watching the creepy events .

Eloy De La Iglesia's great success is compelling directed with well staged murders plenty of startling visual content , though was submitted to censorship. The picture packs atmospheric blending of eerie thrills and creepy chills combined with a terrific finale. It displays lots of guts and blood but it seems pretty mild compared to today's gore feasts. It's an unrelenting shock-feast laced with nice acting by the Spanish stars that deserves its cult status . Vicente Parra plays his part to the hilt, unafraid of Eloy De Iglesia's unsympathetic camera and the viciousness of his character . The early 80s UK video made a prohibited list and was successfully prosecuted, but only made the list due to it's 'cannibal' title . Apart from some massacre footage, this is not a very violent film, and would almost certainly be released uncut in the UK if it was submitted now.

Passable photography with juicy atmosphere by Raul Artigot, but unfortunately turns too much murky in some video print , being necessary a a correct remastering . Good casting with usual Spanish secondaries as Rafael Hernadez , Ismael Merlo , Jose Franco , Valentin Tornos , Antonio Del Real , among others. The motion picture is professionally directed by Eloy De La Iglesia , a good Spanish movies director. He began working in cinema in 1966, though he became notorious in the years of the Spanish transition to democracy with provoking and polemic films as ¨El Pico 1 and 2¨ , ¨El Diputado¨, ¨The priest , ¨Clockwork terror¨ and many others . Drugs, delinquency, terrorism and generational problems are the habitual subjects in his films , as well as the gay world , here represented in Eusebio Poncela's character who falls in love with Vicente Parra's role . Rating : Acceptable and passable .
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If you discover Marcos's secret, you're really in the soup!
BA_Harrison26 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Thanks to a few moments of bloody violence (including some graphic slaughterhouse footage), The Cannibal Man earned itself a place on the official Video Nasty list during the 1980s. However, despite its 'notorious' reputation, the film is not simply a mindless gore-fest, but rather a depressingly nihilistic psychological thriller and a commentary on class divide and social intolerance in Spain during the rule of Franco, thus elevating it above many of the titles vilified by the BBFC.

Vicente Parra stars as Marcos, a blue-collar worker in an abattoir at a Spanish soup factory, who attacks a taxi-driver who beats his sexy girlfriend Paula (the gorgeous Emma Cohen). When the driver is reported dead in the next day's paper, Paula wants to go to the police to explain what really happened, but Marcos is convinced that, being poor, his side of the story will be ignored; during the resultant argument, Marcos strangles Paula and stashes her body in his bedroom, an act that sees the young man slipping into insanity. Over the next few days, Marcos is compelled to kill again and again to keep his terrible deeds a secret.

With the number of corpses increasing daily (and becoming all the more smelly thanks to the oppressive summer heat), Marcos decides to try and dispose of the evidence by chopping up his victims and sneaking body parts into the meat mincer at his workplace. During this time, Marcos develops a platonic friendship with fellow social outcast Néstor, a rich gay man living in a high-rise apartment overlooking Marcos's house, who possibly knows more about his neighbour than he is letting on.

Featuring great performances, solid direction from Eloy de la Iglesia, a chilling minimalist electronic score, well executed moments of tension, a very effective atmosphere of death and decay PLUS gratuitous sex, brutal violence, and a hilarious homo-erotic swimming pool scene for good measure, The Cannibal Man is one video nasty well worth seeking out, particularly if you're a fan of 70s Euro-horror.

Oh, and for those who say that the title is misleading because no cannibalism actually occurs—well, I reckon that's open to debate: at one point, Marcos tucks into a bowl of soup before discovering that it is from his own factory and realising it may well contain meat products other than those on the ingredients label.

7.5 out of 8, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
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BandSAboutMovies22 September 2021
Warning: Spoilers
La Semana del asesino (Week of the Killer) has no scenes of cannibalism in it, but hey, that title was catchy enough for international distribution. Now that the full version of this film is available from Severin*, people may see it beyond its lurid title and appearance on the section one video nasty list.

Instead, The Cannibal Man presents a journey into a place that few of us have experienced: the oppopressive rule of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Estimates are difficult to put together, but Franco killed between 15,000 and 50,000 of his political opponents. His oppression also led to how the arts were treated, with as a unitary national identity was created at the expense of Spain's cultural diversity. Women could not manage money, hold certain jobs or even open a bank account. And yet, in the words of geopolitics, Nixon referred to Franco as, "a loyal friend and ally of the United States" when the general died.

Basically, Spain was a real-life horror show and this film attempts to explain that pain through the life of a young butcher named Marcos who accidentally kills a cab driver. That murder sends him on a spiral as he has to start removing anyone who could potentially turn him in, from his girlfriend to eventually his family members, using his butcher shop to remove of the evidence. Then the dogs come searching for the rotting human meat hidden in his bedroom.

Even the potential relationship that the protagonist discovers with another man who lives in the high caste high rises above the city won't be enough to stop the drain at the bottom of this downward spiral. Franco's censors saw to that.

*Yes, I realize Anchor Bay and Blue Underground also released the full cut, but the Severin one has "both the International and extended Spanish Version newly scanned from the original negatives for the first time ever."
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`Cannibal Man' slightly overtrumps the typically cheap and nasty exploitation films...
Coventry18 May 2004
I still haven't quite figured out what really to think of this film…By no means it's a mind-blowing thriller or even a memorable eurohorror entry. The film moves by slow and careful…and the plot-development is too tame to keep your solid attention. Heck, even the sex-sequence is shot in a dreadfully tedious way. Yet, do not underestimate this production too much and – whatever you do – don't be misled by the title that has a traitorous splatter ring to it! Even though `Cannibal Man' does contain a couple of nasty butchering sequences, it merely is drama and an alarming social portrait. Marcos is a simple man, living on the edge of poverty. He works in a slaughterhouse and has a younger girlfriend. After a night out, Marcus gets into a fight with an unfriendly cabdriver. He accidentally kills him leaves the place of the crime. The girl wants Marcus to confess what he did to the police but Marcus doesn't want this and sees no other option than to kill her too, before she talks. Later, he kills his brother for not being supportive about it, then his sister-in-law for becoming suspicious etc etc etc… You get the picture: Marcus descents further and further into madness!

I guess the controversial value is the most remarkable thing about `Cannibal Man'. Director Eloy de la Iglesia (not-so) subtly criticizes society's lack of communication, solidarity and the entire authority & justice system! Bearing in mind the film was made during the reign of the Spanish dictator Franco, this was a risky operation to say the least.
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"It won't be long & soon the fuzz will be swarming here." Decent little Euro thriller.
poolandrews11 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
La Semana del Asesino which apparently translates into English as The Week of the Murderer, or the misleading & exploitative title of Cannibal Man as it's commonly known amongst English speaking audiences, starts in a slaughter house run by a company called 'Flory', we witness various cows having their throats slit, bleeding all over the shop & other gory establishing shots. We are introduced to one of the workers, Marcos (Vincente Parra) who has a crap job picking all the guts up & generally has a crap life living in an old house in one of the oldest districts in town. One night while out with his girlfriend Paula Marcos becomes involved in a fight with a taxi driver & ends up accidentally killing him. The next day Paula says they should go to the police & confess, an idea that Marcos is not keen on saying that the police will never believe them because he is poor & cannot afford an expensive lawyer. Paula says she will go to the police on her own at which point Marcos strangles her. Racked with guilt Marcos confesses all to his Brother Steve who also says he must tell the police, in no time whatsoever Marcos beats Steve to death with a wrench. Marcos continues to kill to keep his secret & has dug himself into a hole from which he sees only one escape, to dispose of the evidence at the slaughterhouse...

Originally gaining some notoriety in the UK (& presumably elsewhere) where it was banned as a 'Video Nasty' in the early 80's this Spanish production was co-written & directed by Eloy de la Iglesia & is a surprisingly good character study of a serial killer & one mans descent into madness through fear & panic. The script by Iglesia, Anthony Fos & Robert Oliver isn't perfect by any means, it starts off really well with the bodies piling up thick & fast but slows considerably towards the end which is odd as it's usually the other way around. La Semana del Asesino concentrates on Marcos & his thoughts & feelings, what makes him commit murder & the situation he has created that he can't seem to escape, no mention of the police investigation is ever made if indeed there was one. I was impressed with the ending, it's certainly not what I was expecting & was maybe a little low key for some but I thought it worked & worked well. The film moves along at a fair pace but does drag a bit in places which would probably put me off watching it again anytime soon. Director Iglesia also manages to throw in a bit of satire amongst the blood, of which there is a fair amount but the title Cannibal Man is so misleading it's untrue. In fact there is not one single instance of cannibalism in the entire film although we are treated to some decent gore even if it doesn't reach the heights of some other splatter filled Euro horror, there is an effective slit throat, someone has their head bashed in, someone gets his face split down the middle with a meat clever & there are various gory sequences inside the slaughterhouse & all that entails. Technically La Semana del Asesino is basic but professional enough, Iglesia films it in real locations which add to it's grittiness & credibility while at the same time giving the film a nice atmosphere throughout, the cinematography is OK, the music forgettable while the special effect's aren't going to impress too many people these days they are good enough. The acting by Parra is very strong & I was both engaged & gripped by his character, no one else gets that much screen time but they all do a fine job none-the-less. As long as you can get over the misleading title & not go into La Semana del Asesino expecting an all out cannibal gore fest like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) or Cannibal Ferox (1981) then you may just be rewarded with an intelligent & satisfying drama/thriller/horror! Personally I definitely think it's well worth a watch, surprisingly good.
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You made yourself a whole lot of trouble, you idiot!
lastliberal22 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of the infamous video nasties that was banned in Britain. It was released there in 1993 with just 3 seconds cut.

I am not a Spanish expert, but Week of the Killer is a more accurate translation of the Spanish title: La semana del asesino.

Vicente Parra is Marcos, who works in a slaughterhouse. If you don't like scenes of animal slaughter, be warned. He gets into an argument one night with a cabbie (Goyo Lebrero) and hits him with a rock, killing him. His girlfriend Paula (Emma Cohen) wants him to go to the police, but he has other plans. Now, he has two bodies under his bed. At least he had one last night of fun with the luscious Barcelona beauty.

He tells his brother Nestor (Eusebio Poncela), who sings the same song as Paula, and now there are three. That apartment is going to be stinking soon! Nestor's fiancée (Lola Herrera) comes looking for him and unfortunately for her, she finds him. The kills are getting more and more bloody. He seems to be enjoying it now, even if he is becoming anxious.

The future father-in-law shows up looking for his daughter. I imagine this kill is the 3 seconds they cut from the British release. That room is getting rather full and flies are buzzing.

I remember that old Johnny Cash song "One Piece at a Time, where he snuck Cadillac parts out of the plant in his lunch pail. Well Marcos decides to smuggle in a bagful at a time to the plant and mix it with the beef in the hamburger machine. He better get hustling as the neighborhood dogs are gathering at his door, and he will go broke buying air freshener and cologne.

Rosa (Vicky Lagos) is hot for Marcos, and so is Estaban (Charly Bravo). One dies and the other lives, even after Marcos discovers his secret is no longer secret.

Again, it is a misnomer to call this Cannibal Man, and I hated to have to watch a dubbed version, but Vicente Parra and Charly Bravo did an excellent job, while Emma Cohen was a real delight in this neo noir Spanish thriller.
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Gripping serial killer flick
The_Void8 August 2005
Contrary to what it's title suggests, Cannibal Man has nothing to do with cannibals or people being eaten; it's more a story about insanity in the mould of the 80's classic Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, only the blame is deflected onto society rather than the character himself. Despite not being about cannibals, the movie features more than enough blood and the opening scene, which takes place in an abattoir, will adequately set most audience members up for what is to follow. What follows is a rampage of violence, as our character slips deeper into insanity and kills the people around him. It all starts with the (sort of) accidental death of a taxi driver. After that, our hero kills his girlfriend for fear that she might tell the police, and follows that murder up with his brother's, his brother's girlfriend's etc etc. This chain of murders could become rather dull, but the relaxed tone of the film and the way that we always focus on the escapades of the central character throughout his decent into insanity ensures that the film never turns into a riotous slash-fest.

Aside from the fact that Franco was in power, I really don't know anything about Spain at the time that this was made. Cannibal Man reflects life in the country at the time, but to be honest; whatever social study there is really gets lost under the murders and putrid atmosphere of the film. Rather than looking for social comments, I recommend viewing this film more as a look at insanity, as it can be enjoyed much easier that way. If looked at as an insight into insanity; Cannibal Man is a rather potent film, which shows insanity doesn't have to be something that a murderer is born with. The atmosphere that director Eloy de la Iglesia has created is fabulous. The film feels rotten, like a slab of meat left out at the abattoir, and this helps to ensure that we always view our central character's plight with disgust and regret, rather than simply enjoying the killings. Many of the murders in the film are standard stuff, with the exception of one great one that sees a thrown hatchet lodged in some poor guy's face! On the whole, despite the homoerotic tone towards the end; Cannibal Man is cleverer than it looks and even if viewed without intelligence - the film can be enjoyed.
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Very stylish Spanish shocker.
HumanoidOfFlesh22 February 2005
"Cannibal Man" by Eloy de la Iglesia is a notorious Spanish shocker about slaughterhouse worker named Marcos.He works in a canning plant attached to the local slaughterhouse.One night,he kills a taxi driver in self defense and then strangles his girlfriend,the only witness to the crime.Desperate with fear,he murders several other people."Cannibal Man" is a slow-paced Spanish shocker that contains some graphic gore.The film is also extremely stylish and the atmosphere of decay and frustration is simply overwhelming.It certainly gained some notoriety as a former video nasty in the UK,but it's nowhere nearly as explicit as for example Lucio Fulci's gorefests.However the most interesting fact is that Eloy de la Iglesia was one of the major directors to push Spanish censorship boundaries with this film and a number of powerful gay-oriented films like "El Diputado" or "Los Placeres Ocultos".So if you are a fan of Spanish horror give it a try.8 out of 10.
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Gore Beyond Exploitation
jadavix2 January 2018
In "The Cannibal Man", a young man accidentally kills a taxi driver after an argument about a fare. His girlfriend, witnessing the attack, is going to go to the police, so he has to take care of her as well. Questions are asked, and the body count rises.

"The Cannibal Man" has many touches typical of an exploitation movie. Firstly, the title it was given in the English-speaking world is a clear case of the producers attempting to mislead the potential audience into parting with their cash. There are no "cannibals" in the movie.

Also, the movie has quite a bare-bones plot, which is ideal to prevent any distractions from its scenes of gore. One particularly memorable moment - generally displayed on the movie's posters - depicts a meat cleaver sunk into somebody's face.

It also has some aspects that are atypical of exploitation, however, and they're quite perplexing. For one, the movie is much better made than you might expect; this is no D'Amato or Schnaas grade-Z garbage (not that there's anything wrong with that). Its filmmaker, Eloy de la Iglesia, was nothing if not an auteur; kind of a Godard of the gutter.

De la Iglesia was also openly gay, and this movie features a bizarre, homoerotic dalliance between the main character and someone he meets. Is the character supposed to be gay? Well, they never have sex, and there's a surprising lack of male nudity in the picture. De la Iglesia more than made up for that (for those that like that sort of thing) in later movies such as "El Sacerdote", but his chief sexual interest seemed to be boys, not men.

What you end up with is a gore movie made by an auteur with a social conscience that doesn't quite come together, and homoerotic touches that add nothing. Therefore, I think most people would find it a needless distraction. If you're looking for gore, this is one Video Nasty that you'll have to fast-forward a few times to get to. If you're into social commentary about Franco-era Spain, I, for one, couldn't find any.
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kirbylee70-599-52617923 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
In spite of the title of this film it's not about cannibalism. At least not in the sense that most films in the cannibal genre involve eating another human being. The title is actually a bit of a twist rather than flat out being about an actual cannibal.

Marcos (Vincente Parra) is a young man who works at a nearby butcher company. Not the store on the corner but a mass producer of meats for markets. His job pays him enough to get by but nothing big. Marcos is dating Paula (Emma Cohen), a girl whose father believes she is too good for Marcos. Still the young couple dates without his knowing.

After a date on the way home to Marcos', a home he shares with his brother, the couple begin to make out in the back seat of their cab. The driver throws a fit when he sees this and pulls over, demanding they get out in the middle of nowhere. In spite of kicking them out he demands that they pay him. A struggle ensues and Marco accidentally kills the cab driver.

The next day the news is all about the mysterious death of the cab driver with the police having no clues who was responsible. Paula wants to go to the police but Marcos tells her that if she does so he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. An argument follows and results in Marcos killing Paula.

And so the movie progresses with new people stopping by and talking to Marco with each one discovering his secret. It doesn't matter who, each one ends up being killed in what almost seems like a comedy of errors without a touch of humor. But what is Marco to do with all these bodies?

Fortunately the owner of the company he works for has been training Marco on a new piece of machinery installed at the plant. Smaller pieces of meat are put into the machine and it grinds up everything place in it, bones and all. So Marco begins taking pieces of the bodies now piling up in his house and disposing of them this way. But even then how long can his killing spree last?

The film was controversial enough to land on the Video Nasties list in the UK. At first glimpse you might wonder why? Certainly there are more films worthy of being added with much more gore to them. The thing is that this movie presents the killings in a more realistic manner than most. Those scenes are more disturbing than say a chainsaw or machete wielding maniac on the loose.

Not only that the character of Marco is a sympathetic one at time in spite of what he does. We are presented with a handsome lead in the form of Parra who is a bit simple minded with no clue about how the world around him works. At first he seems like a decent man that we wouldn't mind being neighbors with. And then with one act of violence we begin to witness a slow descent into madness.

Here again Severin has released the film, directed by Eloy de la Iglesia, featuring both the International and extended Spanish version of the film, newly scanned from the original negatives for the first time ever. This release also has extras that include "Cinema at the Margins: Stephen Thrower and Dr. Shelagh Rowan-Legg on Eloy de la Iglesia", "The Sleazy and the Strange" and interview with Carlos Aguilar, deleted scenes from the film, the trailer and reversible artwork for the box.

Once more fans of Spanish cinema, de la Iglesia or foreign films will want to add this to their collections. It's an interesting film that will hold your attention from start to finish.
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Exceptional study of sociopathic isolation
fertilecelluloid14 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Eloy de la Iglesia's "Cannibal Man" is an exceptional study of sociopathic isolation that also comments on the gulf between how the rich and poor were treated by the authorities in Spain in '72. Vicente Parra is Marcus, a slaughterhouse worker who accidentally kills a taxi driver. Convinced that the police will not believe his account of the incident, he refuses to turn himself in. His girlfriend has other ideas and wants him to go to the police (her social status is higher than his). When she refuses to understand his position, he is left with little option but to kill her. Thus begins a chain of bloody murders as Marcus is threatened with exposure by his friends, family members, and colleagues. Eusebio Poncola, who starred in the brilliant Spanish detective series, "The Adventures of Pepe Carvahlo", plays Nestor, a wealthy local who introduces himself to Marcus. Though subtly conveyed by Iglesia, Nestor's interest in Marcus extends beyond friendship. A surreal pool scene, in which the men become entangled in the water, perfectly communicates unspoken ambitions. It turns out that the affluent Nestor is, ironically, Marcus's only potential ally in his descent into depression and madness, but his offer of help may come too late. Similar in tone to "Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer", this is a well written, thinking man's thriller that doesn't blush at its atrocities. The film is full of magnificent, clever details. For example, Marcus is slow to rid himself of the corpses piling up in his bedroom, so the place has started to reek. Iglesias conveys the situation with wonderful black humor by showing us packs of dogs loitering at his front door for a taste of the rotten meat inside. Every night Marcus arrives home, he has to scream at the dogs as they swarm about like flies. During one of the murder scenes, the director intercuts a game of soccer going on outside. Much more than a standard horror flick, this touches on the perils of becoming more successful than your friends and the consequences of tough decisions. We sympathize with Marcus's situation, even though his actions are illegal. Putting a cherry on top of the cake is a minimalist score and creepy, electronic sound effects. Unfortunately, most versions available (including the one I saw) are dubbed. I'd kill to see this in its original language.
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An underrated psychological horror flick.
capkronos31 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Even though there's only a hint of (accidental) cannibalism in this misleadingly titled effort, CANNIBAL MAN is an underrated psycho-thriller/character study well worth checking out. Vicente Parra stars as Marcos, a disturbed slaughterhouse worker who lives in a small one bedroom house with his usually-absent brother. With his sanity barely in check as it is (notice the loud, ticking clock sound a la REPULSION, an obvious influence), Marcos finally snaps when a lecherous taxi driver attacks him and his girlfriend Paola (Emma Cohen). After fatally clubbing the man with a rock, Marcos and Paola can't agree on what to do and during an argument about whether to go to the cops or not, Marcos ends up strangling her to death, sticking her under the bed and closing the door (out of sight... out of mind). His brother rolls into town, Marcos confesses to the murder and his brother also tries to talk him into turning himself in and is immediately clubbed over the head with a wrench. More people will show up to the house (the brother's fiancée, her father, a sluttish, lonely waitress from a café down the street...) looking for missing loved ones and none are ever heard from again. The bodies, all kept in the bedroom, are beginning to stink and all the neighborhood dogs aren't the only ones to notice. Marcos decides to dispose of the corpses a little at a time by chopping them up with a meat cleaver, sticking them into a small bag and taking them to work with him, where they're mixed in with the meat. He stocks up on perfume and air fresheners in the meantime. And all the while, he's befriended by a peculiar young man named Nestor (Eusebio Poncela) who lives on the 13th floor of an upscale high-rise apartment right down the road and keeps an eye on what's going on around him with a pair of binoculars. It's this aspect of the film, the subplot about Nestor and Marcos, very different but social outcasts all the same, and their ability to relate to one another, that gives this film an extra spark of originality and much needed subtext. 

Though there are some gruesome scenes at the slaughterhouse where real cows are butchered and some fairly bloody murder scenes, the climax is surprisingly non-gory, mature and believable and the director seldom dwells on the blood-and-guts aspect of his film, but more on the psychological profile. The production values are pretty good, the English dubbing is tolerable and the acting (particularly the two male leads) is competent, if not excellent, throughout, plus there are even a couple of black comic suspense scenes worthy of Hitchcock, particularly one with some neighborhood bullies playing keep-away with Marcos' bag.

Originally titled LA SEMANA DEL ASESINO (THE WEEK OF THE KILLER), but released in the US as APARTMENT ON THE 13TH FLOOR (with an exploitation ad campaign reminiscent of Last House on the Left). Supposedly banned in many countries upon release, the version I saw from claims to be uncut and uncensored. Director De La Iglesia also made several other horror films, including GLASS CEILING (1971). Too bad they're so hard to track down.
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Cool quirky film!
Maciste_Brother28 October 2007
I finally watched this overlooked Spanish film and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot, much more than I expected. I rarely heard anything from it and the reason I saw it was because I'm collecting VHS tapes released by Anchor Bay during the late 1990s and CANNIBAL MAN was part of those horror films. It's a horror film but the horror aspects are not what makes it work. It's more the tone, the actors and the whole look which are all excellent and unique. In fact, the horror elements are at times pretty weak and unconvincing and anyone watching it as a horror film will probably be disappointed. The killings or the repetitive reasons for the man in question to kill are not always convincing but that's because the film is totally symbolic of the time it was made. When you view CANNIBAL MAN as that, the film becomes unique and almost brilliant. I won't describe anything about the film itself. I'll just leave it up to you to see and decide.

The closest thing I can compare it to is APARTMENT ZERO, which I now believe was probably , eh, "inspired" by CANNIBAL MAN. The ending is a bit murky but the better for it. It gives me something to think about. Well worth watching for fans of quirky cinema.
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Good Spanish horror movie!
TalesfromTheCryptfan13 June 2006
A butcher was just having a date with his girlfriend until he cause some problems with a Taxi driver then he kills him and his girlfriend, he is going over the brink of insanity. He now goes on a killing spree creating some serious crimes and stuffing some parts of the bodies into the meat factory where it can be processed into what we eat.

Despite the title "Cannibal Man", it's not really about the man being a cannibal but it's really a psychological horror drama and a character study about a man who's been driven to the edge of his insanity. There is some shocking graphic murders which made this movie banned in other countries, the film is a sick and twisted look at a psychopath's mind with good acting and is very dark.

Also recommended: "Maniac" ( 1980), "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Series & 2003 remake", "Caligula", "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", "High Tension", "American Psycho", "Driller Killer", "The New York Ripper", "Wolf Creek", "Eaten Alive! ( 1980)", "Cannibal Ferox", and "Jungle Holocaust" ( a.k.a. Last Cannibal World).
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mmthos9 July 2020
First you have to disabuse yourself of ever being able to justify this movie's premise: No one goes off and murders everyone they know after killing a taxi driver in a moment of road rage. But if they did... You'd have this movie, a pseudopsychological study of compulsion and guilt. The guy works in a slaughterhouse where he conveniently disposes of them, only, in a stroke of poetic justice, to have them turn up back on his dinner plate. Hence Cannibal Man. Vicente Parra must have been a hunk of his time, as he appears shirtless as often as dressed,.and he develops a relationship with homoerotic undertones, initiated by a stalker-cum-confidant who watches him with binoculars from his elegant high-rise apartment thru the skylight in the mass-murderer's hovel below. The film screams '70s in style and the use of camera gimmicks not seen since Overall not bad, if you can suspend your disbelief.
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Forgotten cult classics #3
DJ Inferno8 July 2001
The alternative title "Cannibal Man" is very misleading, because this film is not a gory splatterfest about the sick mind of a serial killer, it is more a drama about a man whose life falls apart aroused by a chain reaction of unhappy circumstances. You might compare this film to similar movies like "Henry" for example, but this one is more a portrait of the situation in the early 70s when the dictatorship of Franco ruled the Spanish nation. "La semana del asesino" is full of macabre minor details and polished dialogue sequences. Not like the typical horror mass productions, more an unusual outsider cinema...
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Don't hesitate to chow down on this criminally unheralded gem
happyendingrocks18 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This gritty and ghoulish Spanish shocker is far more impressive than its relative obscurity would indicate. With an utterly realistic approach to the murderous deeds that anchor the plot and a surprisingly substantial character study at the heart of the film, Cannibal Man is far from a run-of-the-mill slasher flick, and genre fans who enjoy delving deeply into the darker recesses of humanity will find a tremendously enjoyable exploration here.

Vicente Parra's thoughtful performance is one of the best you're likely to find in the exploitation genre, and even though American audiences will have to settle for dubbed dialogue, Parra's expressive and nuanced delivery transcends language and ably presents the tormented killer's inner struggle as he copes with the consequences of the murderous path he's gradually led down.

Parra's Marcos is not simply a remorseless maniac, and the first death in the film arrives entirely by accident. The circumstance surrounding this inadvertent assassination is a situation that any otherwise normal person can relate to, and when his initial foray into homicide is striking down a man who is attacking his lover, it's easy to imagine that most of us would probably handle the situation exactly as Marcos does. However, when the man dies as a result of the assault, and the girlfriend's guilty conscience leads her to urge Marcos to go forward to the police, the unwitting killer's instinct for self-preservation supersedes his humanity, and very quickly, he has a second murder on his hands.

From there the spiral continues, and just as a liar has to continually twist the truth to maintain their original lie, Marcos finds himself stacking up bodies to silence the unlucky people who discover his mounting compulsion. As his sanity begins to slowly erode, he takes increasingly elaborate actions to cover up his crimes, and his desperate attempts to obscure the results of his handiwork forge some compelling and tense scenes.

Even if you aren't seeking a well-essayed psychodrama, Cannibal Man has enough diversionary bloodshed to please gore aficionados, and the undeniably sick storyline carries plenty of weight on its own. The most unsavory aspects of the film, however, are the sequences which portray business as usual at the slaughterhouse where Marcos works, which feature scenes of genuine cattle evisceration that will make the more squeamish members of the audience take a closer look at their next cheeseburger.

Director Eloy de la Iglesia's stylish approach maintains a grim and unsettling atmosphere throughout the film. He also knows when to assault the viewer with explicit carnage and when to employ more subtle tactics, and since there's a fair amount of the former, images like Marcos's shadow on the wall repeatedly lifting and descending his meat cleaver as he butchers one of his victims have tremendous impact despite the fact that we don't actually see the blade's grisly result. By utilizing this restraint, Iglesia renders the more visceral scenes even more powerful, and he strikes a fine balance between conjuring up explicit splatter set-pieces and allowing the audience to summon even more gruesome tableaux in our minds.

Despite its strongest aspects, the film falters in at least two major areas. The first is the woefully anticlimactic ending, which unfortunately does not offer a significant pay-off considering the taut road leading up to it. The other major shortfall is an equally puzzling resolution to the bizarre homo-erotic subplot tracking our lead's interactions with a clearly disturbed neighbor, who comes across as a much shiftier character than Marcos (the first time we're introduced to the neighbor, he's peering through his binoculars at a group of shirtless adolescents playing soccer). The final act definitely suffers because of the tame conclusion, so Cannibal Man doesn't quite turn out to be a certified classic.

It's worth noting that the title itself has pretty much nothing to do with the film. I realize that the name "Cannibal Man" carries with it a wealth of implied atrocities guaranteed to lure in eager grind-house audiences, but since our titular figurehead doesn't actually eat anything in the movie except for soup and bread, the moniker utilized for American audiences sells this offering short, and muddles the complex dissertation on madness that ultimately drives the film.

Even if Cannibal Man doesn't go as far as the inappropriate title might suggest, there's no denying that this is a truly twisted and unique vision. Audiences looking for a pure exploitation vehicle might feel a bit short-changed, but viewers up for an engaging and intricate thriller will find this a very rewarding experience.
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Not all that bad, but not much fun
Camera-Obscura30 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
CANNIBAL MAN (Eloy de la Iglesia - Spain 1972).

There's no intro and no opening credits. We'll get a little peek in the slaughter house right away with some authentic footage of cows being brought in, cut open, with some nasty close-ups of the animals bleeding to death. Nice huh... For a few minutes I kept thinking, where is this heading? The main character is a slaughterhouse worker, but this looks more like a scene from another disgusting piece of mondo cinema.

But it turned out to be the most graphic scene in the entire film. Slauhterhouse worker Marcos (Vincente Parra) accidentally kills a man during a fight, his girlfriend insists he goes to the police. Marcus disagrees, they get into an argument and he strangles his girlfriend. When his brother Steve sees the body, Marcus whacks him a pipe wrench. Marcos doesn't like to stick with one murder weapon though and uses a knife and a hatchet to kill some other nosy visitors. From then on, the body count grows and he must find a way to dispose of his victims piling up in his bedroom. Well, he's no cannibal and he works in a slaughterhouse. Take a guess what Marcus does next.

The film is more a psychological study of a lonely man descending into madness. Off course this is somewhat of an overstatement, because of the paper-thin plotting with an explanation or motivation behinds his murderous actions completely lacking. There's also some gay-subtext regarding his relationship with his (gay) neighbor. Not surprising, director Iglesia was gay himself. It's not all that bad, it's comparatively competent film-making and it does have a certain compelling atmosphere... but it is dull most of the way. Most of the time we have to join Marcos in his solitude. Atrocious English dubbing as well, but nothing new in that department.

Camera Obscura --- 5/10
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It's not LE BOUCHER but who cares...
macabro35724 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers

The title CANNIBAL MAN is somewhat misleading for this Spanish film since it really has nothing to do with cannibalism at all.

A butcher named Marcos (Vincente Parra) lives in an old whitewashed house on the edge of some new high rises that were recently built. One night he goes out on a date with his girlfriend and accidentally kills a taxi driver in a fit of rage. She wants him to turn himself into the police but he refuses.

When she threatens to turn him in, he slits her throat with a long butcher's knife. And so begins his killing spree. He manages to kill five more people (including his brother, his future father-in-law, and a waitress who's real friendly towards him) in a desperate act of covering himself up before the inevitable end comes. He takes the body parts to the local slaughterhouse so they can be ground up by the machines. He also has to buy multiple cans of air freshener in order to get rid of the smell.

The one person who convinces him otherwise is the young homosexual on the 13th floor of the high-rise who knows his secret but doesn't say anything about it. An act of conscious suddenly grips Marcos and the homosexual is spared.

It's not a particularly gory story although there is blood and there are scenes of people being stuck with all kinds of sharp instruments. However, if you're looking for decapitations and body parts lying around, you won't find anything like that here. Everything's implied which it and of itself, works well for this particular film. Unfortunately the Anchor Bay DVD doesn't come with any extras beyond a trailer.

It has good acting and a good script for an obvious low budget, obscure film even though it does share a similar theme with Claude Chabrol's more prestigious LE BOUCHER (1970). A butcher, multiple homicides etc...

It beats out anything Jess Franco would've filmed around the same time.

6 out of 10
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Downbeat and moody, good drama despite a bad marketing ploy
hippiedj5 October 2003
UPDATE January 2018: Code Red Releasing has released this film on Blu-ray fully restored to 107 minutes under the title THE APARTMENT ON THE 13TH FLOOR. Unfortunately the only audio option is the English dub, but at least it's the longer cut. So I'll just set aside my 98-minute Anchor Bay (and Blue Underground) copy of "Cannibal Man" and have this Code Red edition be my main choice.

WEEK OF THE KILLER is definitely a more satisfying title for this film, it is at least an honest title as well. It's a shame that those marketing this film to help it gain a profit opted for the title CANNIBAL MAN (as here in the U.S.), and its trailer trying to make it look more horrific than it really is, with chipper sounding narration in a "nice weather we're having" tone!!

That is a shame because it's useless to try and lure in horror/gore hounds for a film that's basically a nice moody drama that will leave one with a saddened, downbeat mood rather than thrills. The "Cannibal Man" title is silly particularly because there really isn't any cannibalism in the film. The closest thing to that is found to be a coincidence and even upsets the main character when he realizes what was in his soup.

Though I'd rather have seen it in the original language with subtitles, I'm still happy Anchor Bay has rescued it and released it on DVD, and now Code Red on Blu-ray (restored to the full 107) minutes for folks like me who enjoy obscure films.

The story is basically about a slaughterhouse worker who accidentally starts a downward spiral of killing and madness in his life, unable to cope with what he's done and finding it's just easier to off the people who get too close to his secret. The wide, open landscapes of yet to be developed land and the minimal score add amazing scope to the loneliness Marcos (Vicente Parra) feels, and mirrors the loneliness of his newfound friend that lives in the high-rise literally next door to his little house. Even the swimming scene had a quiet beauty to it. Considering the time and politics for 1971 in that area, there's more to this story than just a man not able to cope with his murderous actions.

The neighbor's sexuality is handled in a rather refreshingly basic manner, not being stereotypically gay nor lecherous. It's also great how throughout the film, we wonder if he really knows more about what Marcos is doing than we can guess, with lines like "You better bury them," is he talking about Marcos' memories or the bodies starting to add up in Marcos' bedroom? Their interactions are always fascinating, and were very much highpoints of the film. It was wonderful to see a scene like the swimming scene with these two men; somehow I get the feeling that if this film were to have been made today, the powers that be in Hollywood would have tried to work that scene with two women.

An increasing depressing tone sets in up through to the end, but some nice dialogues keep the story in check and moving despite the slower tone of the film. The violence works in context to the situations, rather than seeming gratuitous to satisfy those who feel they need to see that in order to enjoy a film. For me, I was far more disturbed by the first minute of the film, seeing the animal slaughtered. It was difficult getting through that. The sexual element is surprisingly minimal, not as much nudity as you'd think a film of this storyline would have, but since it's not really an exploitive film, having less breasts to gawk at works in its favor. Like many films of that European source and time, having no end credits leaves the viewer in a more affected mood with the film's rather abrupt ending.

LA SEMANA DEL ASESINO is great viewing for fans of drama, but horror seekers should stay clear. It's good to see other people commenting about the film's interesting qualities instead of reading comments that they felt ripped off that it wasn't about cannibals or full of tense scary scenes. It's pure drama, and I'm glad some people are managing to get around the unfortunate marketing ploys this film was given and see how worthwhile it really is! Indeed a nice discovery.
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Unfortunate English Title, But One That Is Not Inaccurate
captainpass24 February 2021
Warning: Spoilers
"Cannibal Man" is indeed an unfortunate title for this film. The original Spanish title, Anglicized, is preferable. That said, saying it was simply a marketing ploy is not quite right: First, I do take it to be one of the points of this film that the acts of Marcos do affect the larger community in a manner that fairly accurately, if not literally, reflects the title, albeit indirectly and unknowingly to those so affected. (Soup scene, anyone?)

Second, aside from the literalism of the title, there is the thematic fit: At the end Hector curiously thanks Marcos for doing the type of work - butchery - that people like Hector are unwilling to do, but from which they benefit. There is a double entendre in there: The role that Hector plays in the film - elegant, obviously wealthy, a consumer (underline that word) of nice things like fine art and scotch - separates him from Marcos, even though both "live in the shadows," as it were. (There is a short scene where the police interrogate both men, forcing Marcos to produce ID but passing on Hector once they find out where he lives. His station in life is NOT the same as Marcos', even though Francoist Spain was famously brutal toward gay men, or those suspected of being gay men.)

The fair questions one must ask at the end, then, is why Hector never bothered to intervene at any time up to that point? (It's "Rear Window" where Jeff does not bother to investigate. Voyeurism without conscience.) And one may also ask whether Marcos is himself demonstrating less a moment of conscience than the realization that he finally has met the kind of victim that cannot be hidden? Indeed, in the closing scenes, there is a taste of the gentleman in a theater box-seat watching the impending arrest of the killer ("cannibal") below. For that reason, I do tend to view the film as making Hector something of a killer himself - albeit one who enjoys his perversion vicariously.
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A crowning achievement of Spanish horror - politically charged and surprisingly touching.
lonchaney2016 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
While writer/director Eloy de la Iglesia is well known in Spain for his quinqui (i.e. hoodlum) films, gritty depictions of young criminals and drug addicts, abroad his reputation rests largely on the shoulders of his early seventies thrillers. The most notorious of these is Cannibal Man, which gained cinematic immortality as one of Britain's Video Nasties. Like many titles on that list, this film is far more complex than its exploitative title and marketing would suggest; the original Spanish title is La semana del asesino, which means The Week of the Murderer.

The murderer in this case, rather than "cannibal man" as the export title misleadingly suggests. is Marcos (Vicente Parra), a lower-class employee of the local slaughterhouse. His small shack looks like a relic when compare to the adjacent high-rise apartment, which is populated largely by affluent students. Marcos is pressured by his girlfriend Paula (Emma Cohen, one of Spain's greatest actresses) to marry, but he insists on waiting until he's promoted. One of their outings goes horribly wrong when a cab-driver, disturbed by their backseat necking, kicks them out of his taxi. Marcos refuses to pay the fare, and a scuffle breaks out. As the cab driver begins beating Paula, he utters one of the film's best lines, which is simultaneously hilarious and tinged with social commentary: "I'm gonna give you the beating your father never had time to give you!" Marcos hits him in the head with a rock, accidentally ending his life. Thus begins our protagonist's soul-destroying week, which finds him committing murder after murder in order to cover up his original crime.

Though the film has its share of blood and gore, Eloy de la Iglesia is far more interested in his character's plight, as well as his social status. Marcos often reminds us that he's a poor man. When his brother and girlfriend pressure him to confess his crimes to the police, he protests that as a working class schmo he'd never get a fair trial. "The police will never believe me...and you need money to afford a good lawyer." The chain of murders only escalates as more people snoop in Marcos' shack, and react either with hostility or fear. His only friend throughout the whole ordeal is the enigmatic Nestor (Eusebio Poncela, most famous for playing the inspector in Almodovar's Matador). Nestor is a resident of the nearby high-rise, and one of the affluent students mentioned earlier. He spends his time spying on people with his binoculars, and this is how he acquaints himself with Marcos.

In discussing the relationship between Marcos and Nestor, it is necessary to reference the director's sexual orientation. Eloy de la Iglesia was a gay Marxist, during a time in which homosexuality was still illegal in Spain. Though it's never blatantly mentioned, Nestor is clearly gay, and he shares the director's sympathy with the working class. Though he initially tries to impress Marcos with masculine posturing, Nestor's interactions with Marcos soon become charged with homo-eroticism. This reaches its peak in a memorable swimming pool scene, in which Marcos and Nestor swim and shower together; it's a dazzling and tender display of filmmaking, and it loses not of its potency with repeat viewings. This scene, as well as much of the political content, was unfortunately but not surprisingly censored from the Spanish version of the film, meaning that this English-dubbed export version is the closest thing to a true director's cut. Some recently discovered deleted scenes, featured on the German blu-ray, fascinatingly hint at a more explicit version. While most of the material is inessential, such as a scene in which Marcos is promoted, one of the final scenes shows Nester and Marcos passionately making out. No context is provided, and this scenes (as well as the others) features no audio. Thus this plays as a haunting footnote to the film's fascinating and complex central relationship: did de la Iglesia intend for the two men to become lovers? Is this perhaps just a fantasy of Nestor's? Or, more intriguingly, a fantasy of the classically masculine Marcos? Unless the screenplay surfaces, or someone interviews Poncela about it, we may never know.

Since I am both a huge fan of this film and incredibly reckless with my money, I forked out a sizable amount of money to import the recent German blu-ray. I am pleased to say that the disc is a significant upgrade to the American DVD, and lends a greater appreciation to the director's artistry. This was my third viewing of the film, and I found it just as rewarding as the first. The surprise reveal in the deleted scenes only sweetened the deal for me, assuring me that my money was well spent. It is a complex, politically charged, yet deeply heartfelt film. I shared it with a friend on my last viewing, and I hope he will not mind if I share his thoughts on the experience: "It's really just about one man having a bad week, and the trials of having to get through it without losing his whole soul." It is that, but also much more; a film that can be appreciated from multiple perspectives. I fear that this review does not do it justice. Suffice it to say that this is truly one of the crowning achievements of Spanish horror cinema. This will also be of interest to anyone interested in the history of queer cinema, being one of the ballsiest acts of transgression ever committed under a fascist dictatorship. Though homosexuality was outlawed in Spain, de la Iglesia wore his sexuality like a badge of honor, and he continued to make films on his own terms.
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a peek at life in fascist Spain disguised as a horror movie
grendel-2516 December 2000
Most commentary I have seen on Cannibal Man focuses on the psychological horror, but the political side of the story seems more important to me. The film seems to place more blame on the society of Spain under Franco than even on the killer, the ultra cool swimming pool sequence is very reminiscent of Chaplin's "the Great Dictator".
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Another gem from the video nasty list
Sammy_Sam_Sam23 May 2020
Marcos is a poorly educated man who works as a butcher. When he's accidentally involved in a killing, his attempts to cover things up cause matters to spiral out of control. La Semana Del Asesino ('Killer's Week') makes far more sense as a title, as 'The Cannibal Man' isn't actually a cannibal. Although I must admit it made me want to watch the film, the UK trailer is quite misleading in this regard. And it's one of those films which I'm so glad was on the video nasty list, as without it having been included I might've missed it altogether.

There's a lot going on in the movie and I won't go into all of it in this review, but I suggest you approach the film not expecting a slasher film and try to keep an open mind. In many ways it's quite a beautiful film and not just in the way it's shot, which is particularly impressive, but also in the way the characters are depicted. Marcos himself is a fairly sympathetic character and without going into details, you feel he has been dealt a bad hand. The film deals with many themes and although my knowledge of Spanish history isn't particularly strong, it's clear there are a few swipes at Franco's regime. In one scene, the 'fuzz' (as they're bizarrely referred to) take the word of Néstor, simply because he lives in the fancy new high-rise building (thus proving Marcos correct in his comment early on in the movie, that he is less likely to be believed because of his social standing and education). A lot of use those ID cards are!

Other themes include change (not just in characters themselves - Marcos going full circle), but other more obvious ones. The visual representation of the huge new buildings towering over Marcos' old home illustrate this perfectly. The introduction of machines to automate work is another obvious example, although this isn't explored fully. The film itself is one of those great amalgamations of genres, bringing together black comedy, political satire, horror and quite a tender theme of friendship. You'll most likely laugh (a lot) as people describe to Marcos in minute detail the circumstances surrounding his mother's death. Then you'll feel so sorry for him when you realise he has been backed into another corner and the hole is getting deeper. It's such an impressive movie in this respect.

The music is impressive throughout, particularly the reverse bell sound (at this time I believe samplers weren't yet commercially available). There's a particularly beautiful piece which generally plays as it becomes clear somebody is about to die - it's a subtle prompt which makes what is about to happen seem almost unavoidable. Dubbing is solid and believable, including at least one comedy character (who claims Marcos is buying enough perfume for an entire navy!). On the Spanish Blu Ray I own there are sections of dialogue in Spanish with subtitles, presumably due to loss of the original recording (or perhaps the scenes weren't originally included in the international release?). The only dubbing which I suppose is questionable would be that of Marcos himself (he sounds erudite, considering it's suggested he lacks education). It doesn't really matter too much though and I suppose better that than someone putting on a strong regional accent, which could come across as comical.

Overall, if you like films which aren't too genre specific and are more character than event based, I think you'll enjoy this film. Without any spoilers, I must say I'm glad some of the deleted scenes didn't make it into the final cut. I feel the movie was more subtle without those included and it leaves things a little ambiguous, although others might disagree. Still, all in all - highly recommended!
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