Antropophagus

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Antropophagus
Anthropophagous-poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe D'Amato
Produced by Joe D'Amato
George Eastman
Oscar Santaniello
Written by Joe D'Amato
George Eastman
Starring George Eastman
Tisa Farrow
Zora Kerova
Saverio Vallone
Serena Grandi
Music by Marcello Giombini
Edited by Ornella Micheli
Production
company
Filmirage
Produzioni Cinematografiche Massaccesi International
Distributed by Cinedaf
Release date
  • 9 August 1980 (1980-08-09) (Italy)
Running time
90 minutes
Country Italy

Antropophagus 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 a cannibal. The film also starred Tisa Farrow, Zora Kerova, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, Margaret Mazzantini, and Mark Bodin.

Antropophagus has been described as having "a noted place in the annals of the escalation of gore".[1] It was one of the infamous "Video Nasties" that was prosecuted in the United Kingdom in the early 1980s.

Plot[edit]

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 Klaus Wortman. Julie mentions that she read that Klaus, his wife, and their child are assumed dead, having been shipwrecked, a tragedy which caused Klaus' sister Ruth to become unhinged. Ruth (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 Ruth's brother, Klaus, and that the bodies of all of Klaus' 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 Klaus. Klaus has a flashback that reveals he and his family were stranded in a raft after being shipwrecked, and that Klaus accidentally stabbed his wife while trying to convince her that they should eat the body of their dead son to survive. Klaus then ate his wife and son's corpses, driving him insane. Klaus regains his composure, stabs Arnold, strangles Maggie and rips out and eats her unborn child.

At the mansion, Julie uncovers the room where Klaus' victims are, and skims another diary she finds in it. Carol stumbles into the chamber, and drops dead from a slit throat. Klaus then attacks Julie, who locks herself and Henriette in the attic after a short chase. Klaus breaks through the ceiling and kills Henriette, and is then knocked off the roof by Julie and falls into a well. When Julie peers down the well, Klaus attacks her, but she is saved when Andy appears and stabs Klaus in the stomach with a pickaxe, causing the cannibal's intestines to spill out. As a last dying act, Klaus gnaws on his own innards, staring at Andy, while Julie looks at Klaus in horror. Klaus then falls over and dies. Andy and Julie stand there, staring at each other.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Pre-production[edit]

Antropophagus was produced in collaboration between Produzioni Cinematografiche Massaccesi International (PCM International), which had recently been founded by Joe D'Amato to distribute his film Sesso nero, and Filmirage, founded by both Donatella Donati and D'Amato. Additional funding was supplied by Eureka International, a company founded by Edward Sarlui which specialized in licensing films abroad.[2]

In an interview, D'Amato stated that it was the first film his company Filmirage had produced.[3]

Filming[edit]

Shooting for Antropophagus lasted from 31 March 1980 to May 1980.[2]

Although the film is set on a Greek island, only part of the production crew went to Greece to film around the Acropolis of Athens. The rest of the film was shot in Italy. Sperlonga was used for the scenes in the white village, the catacombs were those of Santa Savinilla close to the lake of Nepi, and the man-eater's villa was the "Conservatorio di Santa Eufemia" in Rome. Many interior shots were made in the small villa in Sacrofano owned by Donatella Donati's father, Ermanno Donati; it had already been used as set for some Black Emanuelle films. The Greek island that the barque approaches in the film is in reality Italian Ponza.[2]

Ursula-Helen Kassaveti observed in the film an "irrational transformation and geographical restructuring of Athens. The experienced editor Ornella Micheli links places of the city which in no other case could be tied together".[4]

Like in Sesso nero, the credit for cinematography went to Enrico Biribicchi, whereas D'Amato only took credit as cameraman. Both D'Amato and Biribicchi later claimed to have done the cinematography.[2] Biribicchi stated that he had started together with D'Amato at the age of 28 and therefore had been very proud when D'Amato asked him to act as cinematographer, not only as cameraman. Biribicchi also said that he was very satisfied with his own work on the film, in particular the scenes in the catacombs and the ones on the barque they had rented for the occasion. He further stated that after Antropophagus, D'Amato asked him to act as cinematographer on some red light films as well, for which he had to use a pseudonym for reasons of censorship.[2] D'Amato, on the other hand, claimed that he had done the cinematography himself and that Biribicchi's name was only put in the credits because the union had placed a limit on the number of jobs a single person was allowed to do for a film.[5]

In an interview, D'Amato stated that Antropophagus had been "perhaps the lowest costing movie of [his] film career (made on 16 mm film and then blown up to 35 mm)."[6]

Score[edit]

The electronic music for the film was performed by Marcello Giombini on two ARP 2600 synthesizers. The original score is lost.[2] The version of the film titled The Grim Reaper which was released in the United States uses music from Kingdom of the Spiders instead of Giombini's score.[2]

Release[edit]

Antropophagus was released in Italy on 9 August 1980.[7][8]

The version of the film titled The Grim Reaper which was distributed by Film Ventures International (FVI) in the United States, discards most of the gore scenes and presents a different cut of the film.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

According to D'Amato, Antropophagus "had a tremendous, though totally unexpected, success both with the critics and the public" abroad.[9]

From retrospective reviews, the book Spaghetti Nightmares called the film "professionally and cleverly made" and stated that it "immediately became the symbol for Italian gore".[10] 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".[11] DVD Verdict wrote that "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."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dyer, Richard (2015). Lethal Repetition: Serial Killing in European Cinema. Palgrave. p. 71. Retrieved 21 October 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Gomarasca, Manlio; Pulice, Davide (2009). "Joe D'Amato. Guida al cinema estremo e dell'orrore". Nocturno. 78 (January) (Dossier): 36 The source for Biribicchi's statement is not indicated in any way. 
  3. ^ Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). Spaghetti Nightmares: Italian Fantasy-horrors as Seen Through the Eyes of Their Protagonists. Fantasma Books. p. 78. ISBN 9780963498274. 
  4. ^ Kassaveti, Ursula-Helen (2014). Anthropophagus, in: "World Film Locations: Athens". Intellect Books. p. 64. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  5. ^ Estein, Axel; Schweer, Thomas (June 1991). "Joe D'Amato im Gespräch". Splatting Image. 7. 
  6. ^ Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). Spaghetti Nightmares: Italian Fantasy-horrors as Seen Through the Eyes of Their Protagonists. Fantasma Books. p. 78. ISBN 9780963498274. 
  7. ^ Ray, Forest. "Antropophagus". Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "Antropophagus". AllMovie. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). Spaghetti Nightmares: Italian Fantasy-horrors as Seen Through the Eyes of Their Protagonists. Fantasma Books. p. 78. ISBN 9780963498274. 
  10. ^ Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). Spaghetti Nightmares: Italian Fantasy-horrors as Seen Through the Eyes of Their Protagonists. Fantasma Books. p. 163. ISBN 9780963498274. 
  11. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Antropophagus (1981) – Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast – AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "DVD Verdict Review – Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on 10 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 

External links[edit]