Or How To Actually Make Sense of Absurd.
Approaching the DPP list alphabetically I didn’t anticipate that a sequel could possibly precede an original. Yet in the twisted world of video nasties such logic is par for the course, and unfortunately I have managed to see the sequel of Anthropophagus before the principle title. Being in this twisted sphere I thought the logic of such straightforward chronology would be pointless, as horror films with the same title can often have the scarcest narrative connections to each other.
Not so in the case of the Anthropophagi films, as Absurd suddenly makes a whole lot more sense in light of the first film. The blood hungry Greek is bestowed with a reasonable backstory, a raison d’etre to be halting around pestering poor civilians in their own homes. He is, you see, a normal man driven to eating his wife and child after becoming cast adrift at sea.
A normal man! Driven past the edges of sanity! To Cannibalism! The Horror!
Yet he doesn’t actually display many cannibalistic tendencies in the second film, nor does it seek to explain why he is in the States, these plot holes pale in the illuminating fact that the man was driven slowly crazy under a baking sun at sea.
The Greek setting also makes sense in the first film, casting the terror in the light of your typical charter holiday gone wrong. Donkey Punch did a reasonable job in doing that in a contemporary setting last year, so you could argue somewhat generously that Anthropophagus was well ahead of the curve on that one.
The visiting tourists at the center of the film lack any discernable character or motivation, and the inevitable dispatching of each one by one is almost welcome, if only to see the gore effects artists have a crack at something new. The film is also lent an uncanny edge as the gore-bound young folks settle on an island village eerily reminiscent of Meryl Streep’s ramshackle hotel in Mamma Mia! Body bits pop up all over the place, with a clever here, a severed head there, and a rotting corpse yon. None of the effects are particularly impressive, but they do ironically add a splash of colour to an otherwise washed out film.
If the wooden acting and shonky effects aren’t enough to dispel any sense of terror in the film, the wibbly wobbly Synth-lite soundtrack brings it wholly into the bland. John Carpenter can be more than guilty this, but where Halloween just about gets away with it, Anthropophagus is just plain discordant.
The (almost) Last Woman Left finale picks up the film as its sags towards a close, the stalker slumped dead with his own guts in his mouth. The thing to do, I guess, if you want guarantee a sequel. A bit of an extreme measure perhaps, outside any reasoned lines of logic, but functional none the less.