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The Top Ten Cannibal Movies

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In recent blog entries, I’ve been yappin’ about a film for which I recently directed 2nd Unit, We Are What We Are, directed by Jim Mickle (Stake Land).  It is the U.S. remake of Jorge Michel Grau’s original Mexican version, Somos Lo Que Hay (2010).  These movies are essentially cannibal films.  This got my brain gears crankin’ about cinema’s delicious history of cannibalism.

I surveyed over five billion people, and using an equation only the world’s top scientists can comprehend, I arrived at the following list of the Top Ten Cannibal Movies Of All Time.  Bon appétit!

10.  Cannibal Ferox (1981).  Directed by Umberto Lenzi.  Native cannibals go on the attack after being used and abused by South American drug dealers.  This aggressive shocker functions as a “greatest hits” of blood-soaked depravity, as it includes all manner of slicing, puncturing, chopping, and mangling.  It’s a very, very bad first-date movie.

9.  Ravenous (1999).  Directed by Antonia Bird.  During the Mexican-American War, a mysterious stranger arrives at Fort Spencer, and delivers tales of human consumption that the soldiers trek out to investigate.  It turns out that eating human flesh grants a person amazing recuperative powers.  (The Mexican-American War grants the U.S. Texas.  Sorry about that one, Mexico.)

8.  Zombie Holocaust (1980).  Directed by Marino Girolami.  Members of an expedition on a small island in the East Indies confront cannibals, zombies, and a mad scientist.  Yes, this is a film that has a little something for everyone.

7.  Motel Hell (1980).  Directed by Kevin Connor.  Farmer Vincent snatches up travelers, holds them captive, and preps them to be edibles.  It’s from the director of The Land That Time Forgot (1975) and The People That Time Forgot (1977).  Don’t you forget the bar-b-que sauce.

6.  Emanuelle And The Last Cannibals (1977).  Directed by Joe D'Amato.  In this sleazy gore-fest, investigative journalist Emanuelle travels deep into the Amazon jungle and discovers that a reportedly extinct cannibal tribe is still very much alive and appetized – proving that with proper nourishment, cannibals are damn resilient.

5.  Massacre In Dinosaur Valley (1985).  Directed by Michele Massimo Tarantini.  When a plane crashes in the jungle, the passengers find themselves surrounded by danger - from quicksand to piranhas to slave traders to cannibals.  A rather goofy adventure / exploitation film, it’s directed and acted with so much enthusiasm, it makes for a very entertaining watch.  Sadly, there is not a single dinosaur in the film.

4.  The Silence of the Lambs (1991).  Directed by Jonathan Demme.  FBI agent Clarice Starling is hot on the trail of a killer – but she must climb into his warped mind by consulting with another psychopath, Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.  Enjoy this film with a nice Chianti.

3.  The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).  Directed by Tobe Hooper.  After investigating their grandfather’s burial place in a desecrated cemetery, five youths are terrorized by a family of grave-robbing cannibals.  The movie is a landmark achievement in unbridled horror-film intensity.  Hooper failed miserably at gettin’ that PG rating he was goin’ after.

2.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986).  Directed by Tobe Hooper.  A radio disc jockey is victimized by the Lone Star State’s favorite cannibal family as they are hunted down by tenacious Dennis Hopper.  Savor here a more over-the-top flavor of cinematic lunacy compared to the much more straight-faced first film. 

1.  Cannibal Holocaust (1980).  Directed by Ruggero Deodato.  This ultra-brutal Granddaddy Of All Cannibal Films is about a team of documentary filmmakers who go missing in the Amazon while making a movie about cannibalism.  Jeez, I am absolutely stumped as to what might have happened to them.

So there you have it, my Top Ten Cannibal Movies Of All Time.  Did your favorite make the list?  Now, let’s all go for a walk to work off the calories of this exceptionally satisfying meal.

Thanks for reading.

- Eric Stanze

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