If Jess Franco resides at the bottom of the sleazoid septic tank then he is surely keeping his head and shoulders above water-level by standing on the back of Joe D'Amato (Aristide Massaccesi). D'Amato must certainly be the scummiest, sleaziest director ever to peer through a camera lens. He is known mostly for his soft-core porn films, but has frequently crept into other genres including horror; two of his mildest horror movies, Absurd and Anthropophagus The Beast are the first two on the video nasties list. Rumor has it that he is not averse to using real corpses in his films, such as in his unfathomable mess, Beyond the Darkness. Watch a D'Amato film and you might want to go to confession and ask for forgiveness,but you are afraid in case the priest has you burnt at the stake for your terrible sin. Walk out into the streets instead and notice the coppers watching you, even following you if they have the courage. See the prostitutes and dope-pushers shy away from you in disgust every time you pass them by. Ask yourself why your parents have suddenly stopped phoning you, telling you you've changed. If D'Amato was ever placed on the Sex Offenders Register, the other perverts would surely vote him off within a week for soiling their reputation.
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals falls neatly into one of D'Amato's most insalubrious genres, the porno-gore flick. Here we find saucy journalist Emanuelle (sexy Laura Gemser) joining an expedition into the deepest, darkest corners of the Amazon after a patient in a looney-bin turns out to be sporting a cannibal tattoo. We are treated to sex scene after sex scene, all set to a porno-soundtrack (sometimes drifting into Euro-pop), in between which Emanuelle meets up with a husband and wife team of dodgy diamond hunters. When D'Amato's sex drive eventually tires, his violent urges finally rise from his greasy little mind and he molests the viewer with a couple of extremely sadistic gore scenes (just for good measure). Having escaped, Emanuelle, in true cannibal-movie style, decides not to run her story after all.
EATLC is really nothing more than a porno flick. Even the gore scenes at the end are played like porno scenes, just one brutal act after another paraded on the screen for our pleasure, so emotionlessly that we aren't even shocked by their viciousness. Emanuelle evidently doesn't care either; she and her professor friend just look on woodenly from a safe vantage point, waiting for an ideal opportunity to sneak off home and watch The Simpsons. This really emphasises D'Amato's cynical view towards humanity, that the public want nothing more than little scraps of sex and violence to keep them happy. For example, some of the violent acts here, scenes of extreme brutality towards women could be seen as misogynistic but I don't agree. I think D'Amato is much too cold for that. It's simply his idea of all it takes to fulfill our appetites. An early (and totally unnessary) scene featuring an ape smoking Marlboro cigarettes (Marlboro? Jeez Joe, why not go the whole hog and give him Capstan Full Strength?) really shows D'Amato's unscrupulous nature, and also reveals him as a carnival master offering his slobbering public a taste of the gross and bizarre.
Like the aforementioned Franco, D'Amato is actually a very talented director...... when he feels like it. Usually he doesn't, as in EATLC. However, sometimes his talent does occasionally shine through. Some of the POV scenes with the cannibals stalking the expedition are very atmospheric, much like the cave scenes in Anthropophagus The Beast, but moments like this are few and far between. Yet again, this exposes his callous attitude and his low opinion of his public. He has the talent but not the inclination to share it with others.
Emanuelle is extremely hot, fresh meat in every sense, but she is a particularly dislikable character. Her constant cravings for sex are bad enough, at least against the backdrop of cannibals, booby-traps and killer animals. But one scene right at the beginning of the movie is extremely disturbing, whereupon Emanuelle molests a straight-jacketed mental patient while pursuing a story about abusive care-workers. Presumably Emanuelle had a damn good reason for this; perhaps she'd like to tell us about it sometime? Her lament at the end of the film, that she has decided not to run her story after all, is extremely patronising, some kind of fingers-crossed apology for the movie's previous content or a miserable attempt to convince the judges at the Oscars that this film actually has a point to it. Could this self-righteous speech have been an inspiration for the conclusions of Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust. Probably not.
EATLC is not a terrible movie by any means. If you want to see D'Amato take a real cess-pit scuba dive than why not check out his abysmal Porno Holocaust (just don't pay for it, OK?)? Still, it is a million miles away from being a classic. Like the vast majority of D'Amato films, there is a perverse grubbiness that pervades the entire flick, that thankfully you just can't put your finger on, for if you ever did you would have to soak it in bleach for the next three weeks or so. The movie offers little more than sex, violence and an awesome alternative title (Trap Them and Kill Them), although it does, unintentionally, offer us a peek into D'Amato's twisted, negative philosophy. If humanity really is as fucked-up as he believes, then surely we are all doomed......
aka Trap Them and Kill Them, Emanuelle's Amazon Adventure, Emanuelle Ende Laaiste Cannibalen, Emanuelle Pa Safari, Emanuelle E Gli Ultimi Cannibal, Nackt Unter Kannibalen, Emmanuelle And The Last Cannibals