Monday, August 11, 2008

Anthropophagus



Yet another "video nasty" filmed in Greece that has been relatively unknown for years (at least in english), until a recent DVD release. There aren't many gore scenes, but when you get to them, they are extremely effective and worth waiting for. The story is for the most part is a psychological thriller dealing with the results of the disintegration of a decent family man into a cannibalistic monster. Generally, the story is this... A young couple are seen on the beach of a Grecian island, the girl goes swimming while the boy starts jammin' with his headphones. The girl comes across what looks like a boat adrift with no occupants. Upon inspection, she lets out a horrendous scream and is attacked by something under the water. Subsequently, her boyfriend has his head split open with a machete by an unknown wet, blood dripping entity. Meanwhile, on a cable car ride, a young girl named Julie (played by Tisa Farrow, Mia Farrows sister, I'm not for certain, but their likenesses are so close that I would bet money on them being identical twins) makes friends with a group of young people touring the Greek Islands. She explains that she babysits a Greek couples blind child during the summer and in return the couple pays for her vacation. She asks if she can tag along since some friends of hers are missing (the young couple that were slaughtered on the beach) and she doesn't have a ride to the island. Since the group's tour will bring them in close proximity of the island in question, they happily agree to help her get to her destination. A woman in the group named Carol is a Tarot card reader and quickly discovers that danger lurks ahead. A pregnant woman named Maggie gets her cards read, only to find that she has all blank cards (no future). carol also predicts that death is imminent if they set foot on this island. They arrive at the island. Maggie sprains her ankle and has to stay on the boat and rest, the others leave to explore the island which seems totally deserted with the exception of a mysterious woman that warns them to go away. Meanwhile, on the boat, poor Maggie pulls a bucket of water from the side of the boat, only to discover that it contains a severed head, she screams and is dragged away by "someone". After finding the island deserted, they inspect Julie's friends house. It also seems deserted, but upon inspecting the cellar, they find the couples daughter Ariette hiding in a wine barrel, stabbing at anything that comes near. She talks of her parents being killed and that she knew where "it" was because "it" smelled of blood. As the others are looking for signs of what happened, the guy watching Ariette is attacked and has a chunk bitten out of his neck by an unknown monster. Upon exploring the island, the group comes across a large house that belonged to a prominent family on the island. Flashback sequence: a man, his wife, and their child are in a lifeboat that has gone adrift. The child has died from exposure and dad begins to see him as dinner. The mother is repulsed by the idea, the father loses it and kills her. We are lead to believe that he eventually ate them both (this is no doubt what the female swimmer in the beginning of the film was screaming about). They find a diary about the incident written by the father's sister who has gone insane because of "what happened" (we are given hints that "what happened" isn't necessarily the boating incident where her brother ate his family). Mystery woman hangs herself from the top staircase of the large house that the group is now taking shelter in, we soon learn that the mystery woman was actually the sister that had written the diary. Julie and Ariette decide to stay at the house while the others go check on Maggie. Julie continues reading the diary and reads how her (the nutty sister) brother became "the beast". Apparently, after having to eat his wife and child he went completely insane and once rescued and returned, he began to kill and cannibalize the entire island. His sister who has now become quite a nut too, has tried to hide her brothers depravity by hiding all the victims (only some are partially eaten, most were drained of blood) in the large house. A reference made in the diary hinted that the bodies were hidden in the foyer of the house. Julie finds a large mirror that seems to be covering a door. She smashes the window and finds a room containing the dead population of the islands occupants. On the search for Maggie, the group discovers that she isn't on the boat. They spread out looking for her. Maggie's boyfriend finds her hiding in a cave and she tells him about the severed head she found in the water. While in the cave, "the beast" descends upon them and pushes Maggie to the ground, reaches up her skirt, rips out her baby and takes a bite out of it (very effectively achieved with a skinned rabbit). After killing most of the group, He (the beast, the man who ate wife and kid and then proceeded to continue with his newly found taste for blood and insanity) chases Julie and Ariette up into the roof. Stupidly thinking that they're safe, he rips through the roof and grabs Ariette by the hair, scalping her and tasting her hairdo. Julie makes it outside and is on the watch for "the beast". Unbeknownst to her, he's hiding in a well that she wanders a little too close too. Instead of pulling her into the well, he uses her to climb out of the well. David (the last surviving member of the group of people who befriended Julie in the beginning) comes out of nowhere and hits "the beast" in the gut with a pic axe. He looks down at his bloody guts, pulls out some organs and starts munching down, looking quite happy until he slowly died of blood loss. The End. Usually when a hard to find movie is released on DVD, one would expect it to have some improvements. Not here. It's a great story, but has some serious flaws. Not because of the story, acting (which actually wasn't that bad) or scenery, but from the sound quality which sucked in multiple forms. First of all, the original language that the movie was filmed in was Greek and in the making, didn't have a great sound quality to begin with. Second, the english dubbing is deplorable, with talking when no mouths are moving, and no dialogue at all when people are obviously having a conversation. I was also disillusioned when I discovered that the optional subtitles don't match a damn thing. The words displayed aren't in the slightest bit associated with what's being said. Oh well, very few movies can boast perfection. This film actually does have a great story line and a relatively original plot. Pretty impressive, with the exception of the audio. By the way, in case you didn't get the title, Anthropophagus is Greek for "human consumption"

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