I think I’ve said this before, but just so we’re clear, Ima say it again: Italian horror movies are fucked, bro. I’m not expert on Italian horror cinema, but I’ve seen enough to recognize a trend, and that trend is gore. Blood, guts, fucking eyeballs popping out of heads.
One movie that is infamous for its violence is Anthropophagous, a little flick by a guy named Joe D’Amato. In it, a bunch of Eurotrash tourists wind up on a deserted island where a cannibal eats everyone he comes across (dude ate, like, the entire town). He’s all fucked up looking, and you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s a zombie, but nope: He’s just a regular run-of-the-mill cannibal. As we learn a little late in the film, he was a normal bro until he and his family were lost at sea. His son died and he wanted to eat him, but the mom thought that was fucked up, so dude killed her and went crazy.
D’Amato manages to craft a fair amount of tension, especially during the sequence where the tourists huddle in an abandoned building during a nighttime thunder storm. Anthropophagous is an off-screen presence at that point. We don’t see him, but we know he’s there, lurking in the shadows. As far as Italian horror/cannibal/zombie movies go, Anthropophagous is light on the gore…save for one disturbing scene. This scene is…let’s just say it’s probably the only reason anyone even remembers this movie. It’s that bad. See, one of the tourists is like eight months pregnant. Anthropophagous corners her in this creepy fucking crypt/catacomb/whatever the fuck it was and…he-he rips her fucking baby out and eats it. In front of God and everyone.
I don’t know how to feel about that. There’s a part of me that’s like “Whoa, that’s fucked…alright!” and there’s another that’s all “Whoa…that’s fucked…fuck that.” I mean to say: Horror films aren’t supposed to be happy, happy, joy, joy fun time. Jason isn’t supposed to be an anti-hero, you’re not supposed to root for Freddy or Leatherface, you’re not supposed to kick back and watch…I dunno…Bloody Severed Heads Part 5 and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Horror is supposed to be horrifying, it’s supposed to scare and disgust and repel and shock and leave you cold and breathing heavy. Horror is not a fucking safe space for where SJWs can come when they’re triggered by something they don’t like. On the flip side, this dude seriously filmed a scene where a fucking cannibal rips a baby out of a woman’s womb and eats it. You’d have to be a stone cold motherfucker not to feel something about that. I realize I can’t really complain because I’ll literally contradict everything I’ve said in this paragraph, but still…damn. As a parent and a normal functioning human being, it was pretty hard to watch.
There’s another scene that people might find difficult. Toward the end, Anthropophagous gets cut open and starts eating his own intestines. That’s nowhere near as bad as eating a baby, but it’s still kind of gross.
Overall, Anthropophagous isn’t a must see. It was fun, and suspenseful, but aside from fetus feeding, it really doesn’t offer anything you can’t find in a thousand other horror movies from the period. It’s routine, run-of-the-mill stuff. If you have some time to kill and you just wanna watch whatever, great. If you want to get the most out of your hour and a half, though…pick something else.