There are some words in the English language that have attached a certain stigma. Of them all perhaps 'cannibal' is the most provocative. Maybe because it brings up ideas so abhorrent as to be truly sickening. Maybe because it is regarded as the most heinous of crimes. But whatever the reason it truly is a word that conjures up horror, even though there has never been a single case of corroborated tribal cannibalism proven. Another word that conjures up a certain mysticism is 'taboo'. Like an unbreakable rule to break a taboo is something so frightening that it to could be considered sickening. A crime as heinous as cannibalism itself! So when you see a film title utilising both those words, surely then, this is a film that will plumb the depths of depravity? Let's take a look into the wild side as we examine tonight's feature Cannibal Taboo.
During the making of featurette someone describes this film as “always meant to be exploitation” and with the title being what it is, you can pretty much guarantee what to expect. And guess what, you get your first boobs and blood shot within two minutes! That's pretty good going. The scene is a 'black mass heart eating ritual' where the sacrifice and those involved are all naked, big breasted women - so that's the 'cannibal' part of the titles sorted. A further nine minutes in and we witness some incestuous love making between brother and sister - so that's the 'taboo' part of the title covered. So far so good, you might think, but the problem is that, from there on in, we have a further one hundred minutes to fill and quite simply the film fails to capitalise until the climax. Meaning that for all its opening and closing shock it is all rather drab and boring; as if the makers actually forgot what they were making.
Director Mike Tristano has over four hundred entries on the IMDb of which only fourteen are credited as director and it really shows. There is little or no flair with his subject matter, very much point and shoot. Of course it's always going to look bad when your crew comprises of a couple of mates from the pub one of which supplied the video camera. However the film is credited with a cinematographer whose job is was to add the occasional blue tint and camera move - seriously wedding videos have looked better! Now I know it's hard to elicit emotional responses from your actors when your budget is little more than a quid, the good news is they knew their lines and were able to say them well enough, but as for acting, well that would be a no. Remember when porn films added plot to their scripts? Will this is very much in the same vein, really bad actors on screen filling time until the next boob, or gore shot. Talking of which the girls are pretty attractive; I loved the way the 'mum' of the film looked younger than her four children! The special effects amounted to fake blood and some cheap looking prosthetics, but what would you expect?
In all, this movie commits the ultimate sin of trying too much to be a 'film' rather than the exploitation flick it is so obviously trying to be; the entire mammoth back story about the kids trying to discover what happened to their brother, whist interesting in a plot development point of view cannot be carried by non actors and a director that can't shoot. Shaving off half an hour and bringing the set scenes closer together to give a tighter, more exploitative film, I think would have made for a better movie. Better being relative of course. It's still unremittingly awful.
I cannot help but feel a kind of admiration for what these guys and girls are trying to do here. The sheer audacity of putting together an exploitation flick and releasing it on Blu-ray no less! Is it any less of a form of art than ChungKing Express for example? I was brought up in a diet of unregulated video and have since gone on to watch some real horrors. Cannibal Taboo is in no way as nasty as it could have been. There is always a bit of tongue in cheek going on, with lines such as “Let us toast (meaning drink) his manhood!”, “Oh no, I prefer mine raw” - there is an element of silly that just covers the whole thing. And, in point of fact, this element does help rather than hinder; had it tried to be too straight it simply would not have worked; the actors and the director just don't have it in them. So whilst I mark the film low, those that have a soft spot for this type of nonsense can add a couple of extra points.
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