Everyone’s favorite Roman whipping boy Giovanni Lombardo Radice (John Morghen) who’s been variously drilled, severed and flayed in different films, suffers by far his worst fate here (let’s just say spoiling it would involve keywords that would run afoul of certain search engines).
He plays Mike Logan, a degenerate New Yorker and emerald prospector who’s down in the Colombian Amazon like a latter day conquistador, whipping the natives into shape (and often worse).
In the film’s incongruous opener, there’s been a death in his apartment and the NYPD says a junkie was looking for Mike but of course, Mike’s nowhere to be found.
Also hiking through South American brush as it happens, is an anthropology PhD candidate Gloria Davis, who takes a Rousseau noble savage view of Amazonian, well, savages as it turns out…She’s seeking to prove her thesis that the “cannibal ferox” is a myth foisted on the locals by barbaric Spaniards. Boy, does she have some explaining to do to her university’s doctoral committee!
It should be said this is one poorly planned expedition indeed! Davis, along with a couple of friends who’ve concerned themselves more with weighing their load with whiskey than with useful provisions, soon find their jeep stuck in deep mud.
They soon find an Amazonian tribesman eating worms and opine, “that’s disgusting, let’s get outta here!” So much for dispassionate empirical observation!
Soon, the viewer is privy to lots of b-roll footage of grotesque animal attacks (we’re talking really really nasty) and reaction cutaways and that is merely a preview of the nastiness to come. We see a native girl who’s had a spike driven through her and finally meet Mike Logan and his buddy Joe, New Yorkers “running away from cannibals” with quite a story to tell of things below the waist being consumed by these savages.
When Joe falls into a flu-like state, the others debate leaving him there before deciding the moral thing to do is stay put and tend to him. And that’s never ever ever ever a good move in a horror film. We cannot stress that enough.
Soon, the natives get restless and it should be said, so did this reviewer. For all the insides-churning gore, dissolution and sickening set pieces, this is a surprisingly poorly-paced film.
*** (out of 5)
[CHECK OUT OUR DISCUSSION ABOUT ITALIAN CANNIBAL FILMS ON THE REALLY AWFUL MOVIES PODCAST]