Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||Joe D'Amato|
|Produced by||Joe D'Amato
|Written by||Joe D'Amato
|Music by||Pierluigi Giombini|
|Edited by||Ornella Micheli|
Produzioni Cinematografiche Massaccesi International
|Running time||90 min.|
Antropophagus (released in the United Kingdom as Anthropophagous: The Beast and in the United States as The Grim Reaper; also known as Zombie 7) is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Joe D'Amato and co-written by D'Amato and George Eastman, who starred in the film as the monster. The film also starred Tisa Farrow (her last role; her voice dubbed by Carolyn De Fonseca), Zora Kerova, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, Margaret Mazzantini, Mark Bodin, Bob Larsen, Simone Baker, Mark Logan and Rubina Rey.
Antropophagus was one of the infamous "Video Nasties" that was prosecuted in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s.
A pair of Germans visiting a remote Greek island go to the beach, and are slaughtered by someone who emerges from the ocean. On the mainland, five travelers are preparing to tour the islands, and are joined by Julie, who asks for a ride to an island that some friends of hers live on. The only one who objects to this detour to the island (which Julie explains has only a few permanent residents, and only sees tourists a few months out of the year) is Carol, whose tarot cards convince her that something bad will happen if they go to the island. The group sails to the island anyway, and while disembarking the pregnant Maggie hurts her ankle, so she stays behind on the boat with its owner. A man attacks the boat, ripping the sailor's head off, and abducting Maggie.
The others explore the island's town, discovering it in disarray, and abandoned with the exception of an elusive woman in black, who writes "Go Away" on a dusty window. In a house, a rotting corpse which appears to have been cannibalized is uncovered, prompting everyone to rush back to the boat, which is adrift. With no other options, the group goes to the house owned by Julie's friends, where they find the family's blind daughter, Henriette. After wounding Daniel in a panic, Henriette is calmed down, and rants about there being a madman who smells of blood prowling the island.
To stop Daniel's wound from becoming infected, Andy and Arnold go into the town to search for antibiotics. Carol walks in on Daniel flirting with Julie, and goes into hysterics, running off into the night. Julie goes after Carol, but loses her, and meets up with Andy and Arnold. Back at the house, the disfigured killer breaks in and rips Daniel's throat out, but leaves Henriette alone and flees as the others return. In the morning, everyone treks through the island, and find a mansion belonging to Nikos Karamanlis. Julie mentions that she read that Nikos, his wife, and their child are assumed dead, having been shipwrecked, a tragedy which caused Nikos's sister Irina to become unhinged. Irina (the woman in black from earlier) watches the group enter the building, comforts the sleeping Carol, and hangs herself.
After waking Carol, Andy and Arnold look out a window, and see that the boat has drifted close to shore. The two men go to secure the vessel, and Julie finds a partially destroyed journal among the objects in the mansion, and it reveals that the killer is Irina's brother, Nikos, and that the bodies of all of Nikos's victims are in a hidden room. Andy and Arnold split up, and the latter reaches an abandoned church, where he finds Maggie, and is confronted by Nikos. Nikos has a flashback that reveals he and his family were stranded in a raft after being shipwrecked, and that Nikos accidentally stabbed his wife while trying to convince her that they should eat the body of their dead son to survive. Nikos then ate his wife and son's corpses, driving him insane.
Nikos regains his composure, stabs Arnold, and rips out and eats Maggie's unborn child. At the mansion, Julie uncovers the room where Nikos's victims are, and skims another diary she finds in it. Carol stumbles into the chamber, and drops dead from a slit throat. Nikos then attacks Julie, who locks herself and Henriette in the attic after a short chase. Nikos breaks through the ceiling and kills Henriette, and is then knocked off the roof and into a well by Julie. Nikos attacks Julie when she peers down the well, but she is saved when Andy appears and stabs Nikos in the stomach with a pickaxe, causing the cannibal's intestines to spill out. As a last dying act, Nikos gnaws on his own innards.
- Tisa Farrow as Julie
- Saverio Vallone as Andy
- Serena Grandi as Maggie
- Margaret Mazzantini as Henriette
- Mark Bodin as Daniel
- Bob Larson as Arnold
- Rubina Rey as Irina Karamanlis
- Simone Baker as First Victim
- Mark Logan as Second Victim
- George Eastman as Nikos Karamanlis
- Zora Kerova as Carol
Antropophagus was director Joe D'Amato's first "straight" horror film, having previously made erotic horror films such as Emanuelle in America and Erotic Nights of the Living Dead. D'Amato and co-writer George Eastman were long-time associates, and Eastman often had lead roles in D'Amato's films.
In the documentary Totally Uncut 2 D'Amato stated that the film was solely made for foreign markets; both the director and Eastman claim that even though the film did very well in other countries it was a flop in Italy. Eastman also revealed that he has never liked the film, though he did enjoy making it.
Release and controversy
Antropophagus was released on video in the United Kingdom in 1980 uncut by VFP. The film became one of the infamous titles to feature on the government's Department of Public Prosecutions list (DPP), better known to the tabloid press as the "Video Nasty" list. It was later successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act in 1984. This was due mainly to the infamous fetus-eating scene. In reality, the fetus was a skinned rabbit. This did not prevent the film from being falsely described as a snuff film, a story which was even featured on BBC News. It is now available in the UK in a pre-cut form, under the title The Grim Reaper.
Antropophagus also saw another release in the UK, prior to its banning from a very small video company known as Videoshack. This release, although cut, is highly collectible among fans today due to its extremely scarce existence. The film would be released theatrically in America as The Grim Reaper around fall of 1981 from former independent distribution company Film Ventures International, in a dubbed and heavily edited version for an R rating.
AllMovie gave the film two out of five stars, describing it as a "Z-grade Italian 'gorror' movie", but also as a "yummy bit of fun". DVD Verdict also panned the film, writing "Anthropophagus may be the most notable horror effort mounted by Euro-skin and sin maestro Joe D'Amato, but that doesn't mean that it's particularly a good film."
As well as Antropophagus, the film is known by several other titles, including:
- Anthropophagous (French title)
- Anthropophagous: The Beast (UK title)
- The Grim Reaper (original U.S. title, censored)
- Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper (US DVD re-release title, uncut)
- Man Eater (German title)
- The Savage Island
- Zombie 7: Grim Reaper (after 1981, the release year of Absurd)
- Gomia, Terror en el Mar Egeo ("Gomia, horror in the Aegean Sea". Spanish title)
- The 1981 pornographic film Porno Holocaust, also directed by D'Amato and starring George Eastman, features a similar plot, having a group of people stranded on a deserted island with a monstrous killer.
- D'Amato followed up this film with a pseudo-sequel, Absurd (1981).
- A German remake of the film, directed by Andreas Schnaas and entitled Anthropophagous 2000, was released in 1999.
- "A-Z of Video Nasties". Hysteria Lives!. Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide (2010) Review". Static Mass. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "From Anthropophagus Beast to Zombie Flesh Eaters". Meta Filter. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Brennan, Sandra. "Antropophagus (1981) – Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast – AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "DVD Verdict Review – Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper". DVD Verdict. Retrieved 9 December 2014.