Most helpful positive review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
POW's in Vietnam....Starved in captivity....Released with a taste for human flesh
on 27 August 2012
During Vietnam, Norman Hopper is sent on a rescue mission to find POW's. After a shootout between Hopper's team and the enemy, they come across Charlie Bukowski and Tom Thompson who are being kept in a pit. Hopper makes a gruesome discovery, the two are chowing down on the flesh of a human being. Suddenly Thompson bites a chunk out of Hopper's arm, when Hopper wakes up to reveal he was dreaming about what happened a few years earlier. Later that day just as Hopper's had his first nightmare about it in a long time, Bukowski has been deemed cured and given leave, he decides to call Hopper and invites him out for a drink. Hopper turns down this request leaving Bukowski to go and catch a film at the cinema, during the film his hunger for flesh returns and he bites a young woman in the throat. Bukowski is run out of the cinema and chased by a biker gang, eventually barricading himself in a mall. When Hopper hears about what's happened he immediately figures out that it must be Bukowski and goes down there to talk him out, something he does successfully. On the way out of the mall, Bukowski manages to bite a cop before being bundled into an ambulance and returned to the military hospital. Back at home, Hopper tells his wife that he himself has been getting an urge to bite people. After a little convincing, he goes to the same hospital Bukowski and Thompson are at so the doctors can run some tests. While at the hospital, the virus has spread and Bukowski and Thompson are freed by an infected female doctor. Hopper can no longer resist his desire for flesh, and along with Bukowski, Thompson and the doctor, they escape the hospital with the police and army in hot pursuit.
John Saxon gives a good performance as Hopper, he's probably best known to most horror fans as Nancy's dad in A Nightmare On Elm Street, he also gave good performances in Enter The Dragon, Black Christmas and Dario Argento's Tenebrae. Saxon supposedly signed on to do this film before realising it was an Italian exploitation film, he lost interest but still had to shoot the film after already signing. He's claimed to have never watched the film calling it foul and in bad taste, a real shame as it's much better than that. Giovanni Lombardo Radice who was credited as John Morghen is fun to watch as Bukowski, any fan of Italian horror will know who he is. This is credited as his first film, he followed it up in the same year with City Of The Living Dead and The House On The Edge Of The Park, not a bad first three films at all. Elizabeth Turner was very attractive as Hopper's wife and played her part well, she earlier appeared in Lucio Fulci's The Psychic. Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King and Wallace Wilkinson all offer good support. It's well directed by Antonio Margheriti, he's a director that I have to admit to not knowing much about. I love Cannibal Apocalypse though, so I'm definitely going to seek out a few more of his films. I don't recall there being any nudity, but there's quite a few instances of blood and gore. It has plenty of funky '70s music in it as well, an odd choice but I thought it worked really well.
The DVD I'm reviewing is the version with the white cover and the city in the background, sadly this version has absolutely nothing on it but the film itself and scene selection. I don't know why this is, as the version that was released five years earlier with the bloodied hand on the cover had a documentary with Saxon, Radice and Margheriti, a video tour of the locations used, an alternative opening sequence, cast and crew filmographies and a few other extras. I have no idea what the picture quality is like on the older version, but I was genuinely surprised at how good it was on the version I bought after the opening 5 minutes. If the quality is just as good on the older version then that would be the one to get, that's something you may want to look into if you decide to buy the film.
Cannibal Apocalypse is a really fun exploitation film that was quite unusual at the time, the cannibal films that were popular were all set in jungles where this film switched the action to the city. The cannibals were almost part zombie as well, they had an uncontrollable need to eat flesh and their bites could also infect others, but they could talk and think as normal so I'll call them cannibies. The film was also caught up in the video nasties scandal and was banned in the UK until the 2005 DVD I spoke of earlier, the film is still cut by 2 seconds which is simply the removal of a rat that was accidentally set on fire. All the actual gore is here including the fantastic blown open stomach and the cutting of flesh by the cannibals, but in truth there's not that much gore here and the film should never have been banned. It always reminds me of the David Cronenberg film Rabid as well, it has a very similar look and feel to it. If you liked Rabid, like exploitation films, enjoy most other cannibal or zombie films, I really don't see why you wouldn't enjoy Cannibal Apocalypse.