Cannibal Girls!

These girls do exactly what you think they do!

CANNIBAL GIRLS (1973)

A pre-SCTV Eugene Levy & Andrea Martin star as Clifford & Gloria, a groovy young couple who plan a romantic winter getaway in a small town in the middle of nowhere called Farmhamville. Their trip quickly takes a detour into disaster when Clifford’s beat up old car breaks down. The young lovers try to make the best of the situation and check into the local motel. The elderly manager of the motel welcomes them with open arms, and then proceeds to tell them about a horrifying local legend.

According to the legend, a terrible trio of incredibly sexy and homicidal young girls once lived in a nearby farmhouse. The sirens once lured a trio of incredibly horny and stupid young men to a violent demise, and then feasted upon their flesh. Then the girls mysteriously disappeared and were never seen or heard from again. Clifford & Gloria are understandably freaked out by the story, but are stuck in town until their car can be repaired. Clifford then attempts to seduce Gloria with the power of his folk rock balladry in a scene that made me wish I had a pair of scissors handy to shove into my ears and perhaps some bleach to splash into my eyes.

Later that evening, Clifford & Gloria are escorted by the motel owner to a cozy little bed & breakfast isolated deep within the surrounding woods. The proprietor of the b&b is a bizarre and bearded hippie type who calls himself Reverend Alex (Ronald Ulrich). The rev wastes no time before leering at Gloria, and then inviting himself to join them for dinner. The entertainment for the evening is also provided by the Reverend, who regales his guests with tales of his family’s proud history of of executions and venereal disease. The meal is then served by the Reverend’s three lovely female companions, and because this is a horror film, no one makes the obvious connection to the local legend. Clifford & Gloria ultimately decide to spend the night with the gang, which is a rather foolish decision for characters in a film titled “Cannibal Girls” to make. These girls do exactly what you think they do!

Eugene Levy is an ugly, ugly man. That thought kept running through my mind over and over again while I was watching this flick. I’ve always found him to be a bit creepy looking, but to see him back in the early 70′s sporting a huge afro, mutton chops, and mustache is something else altogether. He looks like the mutant offspring of Gene Shalit & Tony Iommi. Now that I got that verbal abuse out of my system, I can comment on his performance in the film – it’s actually really good. Eugene’s talent for improvisation is obvious, even at such an early stage in his career. Andrea Martin & Ronald Ulrich also do a great job fleshing out the threadbare script with a lot of witty, off the cuff dialog.

But what about the cannibal girls, you ask?!? Simply stated, they are fucking amazing. The lovely ladies are played by Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Nielson, and Mira Pawluk, and all three are incredibly gorgeous. The highlight of the movie for me was seeing the girls parading around in their sexy, matching outfits. These girls also know how to deliver the bloody goods. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this film has more than it’s fair share of splatter. I also enjoyed the fact that the comedy never completely overshadows the horror. This is a very self-aware & campy horror film, bordering on parody, but it also never feels like it is entirely trying to take the piss out of the genre. It comes across as more of an amusingly satirical tribute to the trashy low budget drive-in flicks of it’s era. It would be nice if the horror filmmakers of today could learn how to do that sort of thing properly. Sadly, they just don’t make them like this anymore!

The good folks at Shout! Factory have quickly become a horror & exploitation fan’s best friend with their top notch dvd and blu-ray releases. CANNIBAL GIRLS is no exception. This special edition dvd release marks the long overdue debut of the film on home video in the States. Even a bare bones dvd release would have been cause for celebration, and this special edition release – which is loaded with bonus features gets the party started in a BIG way. The “scrumptious” bonus material includes brand new interviews with director Ivan Reitman, producer Daniel Goldberg, and none other than Eugene Levy himself! There’s also radio spots, the original theatrical trailer (which rules), and an alternate audio track that features the infamous William Castle styled “WARNING BELL,” which supposedly warns tender-tummied viewers of any upcoming carnage. Best of all, the warning bell doesn’t really work. It usually starts a bit after the blood, or stops short before the gore is gone. They don’t call them exploitation flicks for nothing! Consider this one Brain Hammer approved and highly recommended.

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

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