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  Cannibal Girls Carnivorous CutiesBuy this film here.
Year: 1973
Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Ronald Ulrich, Randall Carpenter, Bonnie Neilson, Mira Pawluk, Bob McHeady, Alan Gordon, Allan Price, Earl Pomerantz, May Jarvis, Gino Marrocco, Rick Maguire
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Trash
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: A young woman and her boyfriend wander onto this snow-covered beach and begin to make out, taking off their clothes and smooching until someone interrupts them - someone with a pickaxe that she brings down on the man's head, then tears open the girl's shirt and daubs his blood onto her. Meanwhile, a different couple, Clifford (Eugene Levy) and Gloria (Andrea Martin) are having car trouble as they drive out to their holiday destination, unaware that they are being observed from the nearby trees - are they making a mistake in heading this way?

Yes they are, and you might think you've made a mistake too if you've ever decided to watch this. It was one of those movies where the story behind it, and moreover what it led to, was far more interesting than actually watching it, as while it had a nice idea for a horror comedy there wasn't much to it other than that, the filmmakers having utterly failed to capitalise on the genre, further proving that far from easy to do well, horror movies are quite the opposite. However, we can be thankful to Cannibal Girls for setting some Canadian talent on the path to success, if nothing else, because it certainly wasn't entertaining.

The director was Ivan Reitman, making his second film but now better known for his more accomplished comedies such as Meatballs or Ghostbusters. Levy and Martin would go on to find fame in the classic sketch comedy television show SCTV, and indeed this film looks like something Joe Flaherty's horror host would have introduced only to end up exasperated at its lack of scares. Except in SCTV, it would have been funny, and this was not the case here. The main problem was that there was no real script, fine if you were Mike Leigh or Christopher Guest, but at this stage nobody involved here was near that level, although ironically Levy would go on to work with Guest very successfully.

This was a horror movie from Canada, and until David Cronenberg came along it was not a country well known for its cinematic fright fests; watching Cannibal Girls it was easy to see why. Still, it pointed to where the more exploitative area of that nation's filmmakers could have looked if they wanted to make easy money in this movie racket, and there did follow a number of efforts more notable for their trashiness than the stuffy, chilly dramas that would otherwise be more identifiable as Canadian films. But if this one proved anything, it was that unless you had a definite vision of how you were going to freeze the audience's blood in their veins, all you ended up with was a mess.

Once you knew that Reitman and company were making this up as they went along, it became painfully obvious as scenes rambled on scrabbling to find a point or better, a joke. Such plot as there was depicted the adventures of Clifford and Gloria as they came into contact with the three title characters, meat-eating young ladies who shed their clothes and had extremely poor table manners. We see them invite three men to their house in the middle of nowhere, toy with their affections, then bump them off and devour them, although the gore effects were pretty much of the spitting out fake blood variety. When AIP bought this, they added a buzzer to indicate when violence was about to occur, and a doorbell (or something like it) to tell when it was safe to open your eyes, and for many this will be what they recall about it. Either that or how bored they were; it may have been an important film historically, but otherwise it was a real chore. Music by Doug Riley.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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