|Directed by||Ivan Reitman|
|Produced by||Daniel Goldberg|
|Screenplay by||Daniel Goldberg
|Story by||Robert Sandler|
|Music by||Doug Riley|
|Edited by||Daniel Goldberg|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures
Cinépix Film Properties Inc.
|Release date(s)||8 June 1973|
|Running time||84 minutes|
It is about three young women being led by a Reverend who preaches cannibalism. The story gives off an urban legend feel, and was made as a spoof of traditional horror films. This cult film is known for the 'warning bell' gimmick, which rang in theatres to warn the more squeamish members of the audience for impending gory scenes.
A couple are relaxing in a snowy forest near a small fictional town called Farnhamville. Suddenly, an axe wielding female assailant kills the boyfriend, rips the girlfriend's shirt open, and puts a dab of blood between her female victim's breasts.
Then, we see the protagonists, Clifford Sturges (Eugene Levy), and Gloria Wellaby (Andrea Martin) are having trouble with their location. Their car manages to last until they reach the small and secluded town called Farnhamville, where it breaks down. At the same time, they come across another traveller who is looking for his missing sister (the female victim in the beginning sequence). Stranded, Clifford and Gloria check into a small motel owned by an old lady named Mrs. Wainwright. While inside, the old lady treats the couple to an urban legend, the 'Cannibal Girls'. It is about three beautiful but psychotic women named Anthea, Clarissa, and Leona, who lured men with their seductive charm to their home only to feast on them while alive. And by eating their victims and drinking their blood, the girls maintained their youthfulness and immortality. They have a freakish little servant called 'Bunker'.
Clarissa kills the first victim in a secluded room, with both of them naked. She stabs him in the gut with a pair of scissors. For the second victim, Leona does not exactly kill him, but she slowly stalks him with a knife, providing a diversion for Anthea to hack the man with an axe. The third victim wakes up the next day, wondering where all the other guys have gone. Later on, he makes love to Anthea. When he wakes up, he finds himself tied to a bed, surrounded by all three girls. At first they lick his belly, then they eat him alive right on the spot.
Later, Mrs. Wainwright takes Clifford and Gloria to a small bed and breakfast house where the Cannibal Girls supposedly lived years before. There, they maintain some company in the host only known as the Reverend Alex St. John. The couple does not realize it, but their dinner is being served by the three Cannibal Girls themselves. The Reverend is the force behind the women's activities and possesses a charismatic hold on the entire town as well.
Clifford and Gloria try to leave for the night, but a thunderstorm and a warning of an escaped lunatic from the Reverend prompts the couple to stay overnight. While Clifford and Gloria try to fall asleep, the traveller who was looking for his sister gets murdered by the local police as a special request from the Reverend himself.
The town residents hold a gathering dedicated to the Reverend Alex St. John. Anthea, Clarissa, and Leona are fully naked standing around a small table offering their blood in a chalice to the Reverend, while chanting: "Within me and without me I honor the blood which gives me life."
Then Gloria has a scary nightmare where Clifford is tied to the bed. The Reverend and the three girls force her to sacrifice Clifford. She wakes up from the nightmare, and Clifford tells her it was all a dream.
For the whole day, Clifford becomes distant from Gloria and speaks to her in a demanding way. Gloria cannot place a call to her parents since the phonelines are not working. And she cannot leave town because the busses will not leave until the next morning. Clifford also develops a craving for the food that is served in the town's small diners, which is of course human meat.
They are picked up by the sheriff and are taken back to the bed and breakfast house occupied by the Cannibal Girls. When they walk inside, it is revealed that Clifford will offer Gloria as a sacrifice to the Reverend in exchange for his life. However, the Reverend has a change of heart, as he offers Gloria a mace. Fueled by her anger for her boyfriend's betrayal, Gloria mercilessly swings the mace into Clifford's stomach, killing him.
During the final scene, The Reverend, Anthea, Clarissa, Leona, Bunker, and Gloria are seated at the table, with Clifford as the meal. At first Gloria is hesitant to eat her former boyfriend, but after a sign of encouragement from the Reverend, she happily digs in.
In the epilogue, it turns out that this entire event is actually being told by Mrs. Wainwright, this time about four Cannibal Girls to another couple stranded in their town. And the old lady is also recommending the bed and breakfast place to them, too. It is implied the young woman with her boyfriend will become another Cannibal Girl...
Clifford Sturges, (played by Eugene Levy), a travelling guitar player who is accompanied by his new girlfriend, Gloria Wellaby. They decide to go on a trip for the weekend but their car breaks down in the middle of small town. That is where the story takes off. To keep himself alive, he sold out his girlfriend by sacrificing her to the Cannibal Girls. But she is spared and is given the chance to kill Clifford, and to become an additional Cannibal Girl.
Gloria Wellaby, (played by Andrea Martin), is Clifford's new love. Together, they are stranded in a strange town and become a part of its gruesome legend. At the end, it seemed that she was about to be killed so Clifford will be spared. But the Reverend has a change of heart, and spares her life instead. She is given the chance for revenge by killing Clifford with a mace.
Reverend Alex St. John, (played by Ronald Ulrich), a charismatic man who has a powerful hold on the entire town of Farnhamville, and on the three beautiful women whose killing spree is legendary. The character is possibly inspired by the real life serial killer Charles Manson, who also has similar traits involving charisma, possessing mistresses, and ordering his followers to commit murder.
Anthea, (played by Randall Carpenter), is the oldest out of the three Cannibal Girls. She is the blonde one in the group. In the words of the Reverend, she is his "Queen."
Clarissa (played by Bonnie Neilson) is the redhead and is the second oldest girl in the group. It can be said that she killed the couple in the beginning due to her pale complexion. And she killed her victim with scissors while both of them were naked.
Leona (played by Mira Pawluk) is the youngest of the three, and the brunette in the group. In the movie, she only kills one of the victims, which was shared with by Anthea. She also lets Anthea kill her own man with an axe.
Bunker (as himself) is the hideous lowly servant who communicates with moaning noises. He is the one who cleans up the ladies' mess and cuts the dead victims up into serving portions. His appearance is of a hobo, with rag-tag clothing and poor hygiene.
Mrs. Wainwright (played by May Jarvis) owns a motel near the infamous bed and breakfast place. She is the one who treats the new guests in town to the gory legend of the Cannibal Girls. She even recommends the place where the killings took place, since she tells them that it happened long ago. In fact, at the end of the movie, the story that took place is actually being told to another new couple stranded in their town.
- Eugene Levy — Clifford Sturges
- Andrea Martin — Gloria Wellaby
- Ronald Ulrich — Reverend Alex St. John
- Randall Carpenter — Anthea
- Bonnie Neilson — Clarissa
- Mira Pawluk — Leona
- Bob McHeady — Sheriff
- Alan Gordon – Rick, First Victim
- Allan Price — Felix, Second Victim
- Earl Pomerantz — Third Victim
- May Jarvis — Mrs. Wainwright
- Gino Marrocco — Mouse
- Rick Maguire — Gas Station Attendant
- Bunker — Henchman
- Fishka Rais — Butcher (as Kingfish)
- Marion Swadron — Mrs. Wilson
- Ray Lawlor — Doctor
- Neil Lundy — Brother
- Joan Fox — Cop's Wife
- David Clement — Henchman
- Julie Thilpot — Girl on Beach
- Doug Ganton — Boy on Beach
- Lyn Logan — Girl in Car
It was filmed between 1971 and 1972, in rural areas surrounding Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The town scenes were all shot in Beaverton, Ontario. The home was owned by May Jarvis in Aurora, Ontario. Other scenes were shot in Oak Ridges, Ontario. This movie was made with a low budget and most of the dialogue was improvised.
The film was released on DVD through Shout! Factory on October 26, 2010
In popular culture
During a montage of New York City being overrun by ghosts in Ghostbusters II (also directed by Reitman), Cannibal Girls is the film currently showing at a cinema where movie-goers are chased out by a winged ghost.
- Cannibal Girls at the Internet Movie Database
- Cannibal Girls at AllMovie
- Cannibal Girls trailer is available for free download at the Internet Archive