Watching We Are What We Are last night and blogging about it this morning got me thinking about the cannibalism sub-genre of Horror. Time for another Top 10 list boys and girls!
But before I begin, I’d just like to take a moment to state the following: FUCK CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. I refuse to say anything redeeming about this film from 1980 even though it is, perhaps, the most infamous cannibal-themed offering in existence. I don’t mind using this platform, however, to talk about what a disgrace CH is and why it should never be watched by anyone. I’m about as anti-censorship as one can be, but this film features real animals being brutally murdered in the name of “Entertainment”. Don’t buy into the hype that CH is trailblazing and/or responsible for the “Found Footage” sub-genre of Horror. In reality, it’s just a poorly made piece of shit and among the lowest forms of art.
Ok, I’m off the soapbox. Check out my Top 10 Cannibal Horror Movies list after the jump.
Parents (1989): Parents is a vastly underrated black comedy. It’s the 1950’s and 10-year-old Michael starts to wonder where his doting parents get the huge chunks of meat they always serve at dinnertime. As kids with wild imaginations will do, Michael begins to harbor terrifying suspicions that his parents are cannibals. The “twist” is that he isn’t overreacting and his parents really ARE serving him human flesh. Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt are perfect as the titular parental-units.
Motel Hell (1980): “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters!” Motel Hell is a hilarious stab at the normally grim cannibalism sub-genre of Horror. Everyone just loves Farmer Vincent’s meats. The “secret ingredient” comes from his “garden” out back. Motel Hell is an experience in and of itself, definitely one of those “so bad it’s good” kind of movies.
Ravenous (1999): Ravenous is another underrated masterpiece that’s perhaps the best cannibal film ever made. Drawing on the legend of the ill-fated Donner Party and the Native American myth of the Wendigo, Ravenous elevates the cannibal sub-genre to the level of high art. Set in the 1840’s, Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle give performances of a lifetime. Unbelievably and unforgivably, this film has a lousy 37% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps one day, this film will garner the attention and respect it deserves.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): The Granddaddy of all cannibal movies, TCM still manages to shock and sicken audiences almost 40 years after its original release. Gunnar Hansen’s outstanding portrayal of Leatherface helped cement the character’s legacy as one of the most reviled Horror icons in history. The final “Dinner” scene is epic in its depravity and disgusting to behold. It certainly would not surprise me if Marilyn Burns, the actress who played “final-girl” Sally Hardesty, suffered permanent psychological trauma from her experiences on set.
Hannibal Rising (2007): While not as impressive as either Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal, the 2 movies that proceeded it, Hannibal Rising is a worthwhile experience nonetheless. What makes it particularly apropos for this list is the way this prequel examines the psychological root cause of Hannibal Lecter’s “need” to consume human flesh. HR documents Hannibal’s childhood in Lithuania at the end of WWII until his coming of age as a brilliant if damaged intellectual. This is essential viewing for Lecter fans.
Come back to Blood and Guts for Grown-Ups tomorrow for Part 2 of my list: The Top 10 Cannibal Horror Movies. Until then, ta ta.