Ultimo mondo cannibale
Spanish theatrical poster
|Directed by||Ruggero Deodato|
|Produced by||Giorgio Carlo Rossi|
|Written by||Giorgio Carlo Rossi
Me Me Lai
Sheik Razak Shikur
|Music by||Ubaldo Continiello|
|Edited by||Daniele Alabiso|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures (USA)|
|Release dates||February 8, 1977 (Italy)|
|Running time||92 min.|
Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977; English: Last Cannibal World, UK theatrical title: Cannibal, also known as Jungle Holocaust) is a cannibal exploitation film directed by Ruggero Deodato, which stars Massimo Foschi, Me Me Lai and Ivan Rassimov. The screenplay was written by Tito Carpi, Gianfranco Clerici and Renzo Genta, and tells the story of a man trying to escape from a jungle island inhabited by a native cannibal tribe.
The film was distributed under a confusing number of different titles, such as Cannibal! (UK title) and The Last Survivor (US title) and edits, and is available uncut on DVD from the company Media Blasters, under their "Shriek Show" label. It is the precursor to Deodato's controversial 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust, but was originally slated to be directed by Umberto Lenzi as a follow-up to his prototypical 1972 cannibal film Il paese del sesso selvaggio (Man from Deep River).
According to an opening title card, this film is based on a true story.
A group of oil prospectors travel to the island of Mindanao, but a rough landing damages the plane. While the plane is being repaired, prospectors Robert Harper (Massimo Foschi) and Rolf (Ivan Rassimov) find the remains of the original prospecting team's camp, which is abandoned. Later, one of their team goes missing. They go into the jungle to investigate, and the pilot (Sheik Razak Shikur) is killed. Robert and Rolf are then separated, and Harper is kidnapped by a "stone age" cannibal tribe.
The tribes people take Robert back to their cave, then tie him up and strip him down to his underwear. A native girl (Me Me Lai) comes up to Robert and tears his underwear off, then two other natives fondle his genitals. The cannibals then attach Robert to a bungee-cord and repeatedly drop him from great heights. Robert is imprisoned in a small cave, and is continually humiliated and tortured by the cannibals over a long period. After realizing he is going to be eaten, Robert manages to escape with the native girl, then ties her to a cord and wanders around with her in the jungle. After she tries escaping, he rapes her.
While escaping from a rainstorm in a cave, Robert finds Rolf, whose leg is infected with gangrene. The three of them wander through the jungle until they eventually find the landing field. As they descend towards it, the cannibal tribe finds them, then manages to kill and eat the native girl in an exceptionally graphic sequence. After Rolf is hit in the chest with a spear, Robert manages to kill one of the cannibals with a spear laced with cobra venom, then he pulls out and eats his liver in front of the other cannibals. After frightening them off long enough to make it to the plane, the two of them finally manage to take off. According to the film, the real-life Harper returned to the U.S. and settled down in Mexico (Rolf's fate is not elaborated on).
|Massimo Foschi||Robert Harper|
|Me Me Lai||Pulan|
|Shiek Razak Shikur||Charlie|
Though not nearly as graphic or brutal as several of the films which followed during the cannibal film boom in Italy (Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox), this film contains a number of graphic and disturbing sequences which have led to the film frequently being censored or cut. In particular, scenes involving live animals, including a snake's head being crushed by natives, and a prolonged scene of an alligator being skinned and eviscerated while alive, as well as scenes of animals killing other animals. Deodato claims that these scenes were added by producer Giorgio Carlo Rossi without his permission.
In addition to the violence, the film also contains a controversial amount of full-frontal nudity, as the two lead actors – Massimo Foschi and Me Me Lai – are naked throughout the entire middle-section of the film. The film also contains explicit close-ups of Foschi's penis being fondled by natives.