The Film (4/5)
Marcos (Vicente Parra) is a lonely slaughterhouse worker, who seems to be just drifting through life. He dreams of having a higher paying job, and marrying his girlfriend Paula (Emma Cohen). One night after a heated date, the two catch a taxi ride home. While violently making out in the back, the Taxi driver gets annoyed and demands they stop. The Taxi driver tries to fight the couple, and Marcos kills the man in the struggle. Instead of turning himself in, Marcos tries to lay low to the surprise of Paula. When Paula tries to call the police, Marcos kills her and now the body count starts to rise. Meanwhile, Marcos’ new neighbor Nestor (Eusebio Poncela) seems fascinated with him, and may know more Marcos and his dirty secret.
Well to clean up the matter first, CANNIBAL MAN (1972) is a horribly misleading title. It’s cheap and doesn’t do this movie any favors. Despite some odd lack of logic and character interactions, CANNIBAL MAN is a well-crafted thriller, that isn’t afraid to let the tension grow naturally. The movie also mixes dark comedy and homoerotic tension. Other than the title, CANNIBAL MAN has some bad dialogue that isn’t helped by the English dubbing. It seems no one notices how suspicious Marcos is, and the man doesn’t understand that if he cleans his house, most of the evidence would disappear. The taxi fight at the beginning is also embarrassing and is a terrible way to start a horror film.
On the positive side of things, CANNIBAL MAN is layered with enough subtext and actual suspense. The movie uses a lot of satire on the topic of processed foods, housing, and the class system. Marcos seems to be lost in the modern world. He works for a processed food factory and seems disgusted by the food compared to good home cooking. He is constantly reminded of the rich popping up around him, as his shack is the only survivor of a neighborhood of new high rise buildings. While never commented on, Marcos’ and Nestor’s relationship is packed with sexual tension and includes one of the oddest men bounding while swimming scenes. Stylishly the movie stands out for its hold no punches attitude, the movie even begins with some hard to watch slaughterhouse footage.
The cast is well-handled as well. Vicente Parra (NO ONE HEARD THE SCREAM) shines as the brooding Marcos. His cold stare and sudden out bursts of violence keep him at the center of attention. The ever-beautiful Emma Cohen (HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB) makes a lasting impression in her short time on screen. Eusebio Poncela (LAW OF DESIRE) is interesting, but sadly his character was under developed.
CANNIBAL MAN may suffer from some script issues, but the actual filmmaking more than make up for it, in this tense thriller from Spanish horror’s heyday.
This release comes with two audio options. The German DTS-HD Master Audio Track and the English DTS-HD Master Audio Track. The German track is slightly louder and fuller. The English track is smooth but gets quiet in some spots. Nothing too bad, but noticeable. The dubbing is clear and there’s no hiss or pops. German subtitles are included.
CANNIBAL MAN comes with a 1080p HD transfer, and the results are mostly great. The movie is full of vivid colors and sharp detail. The blues during the night scenes are especially gorgeous to look at. Some spots during the movie have rougher film grain and print damage, but ultimately the picture is solid. Black levels are well defined, but some scenes do appear soft.
This Subkultur Blu-ray and DVD combo is decently stuffed with extras. First up is a selection of deleted footage from the movie. It’s presented silent and has minor film damage. The German and English trailers are both here, and seem to be the same minus the narration. A still gallery is also on the disc and has a variety of posters and production photos. The coolest feature on the disc is Grindhouse mode, where a series of trailers play right before the movie. The gallery is available separate for your viewing pleasure. The trailers included are the German release versions of: ASYLUM (1972, Under the title: IRRBARTEN DES SCHRECKENS), HEIBE AUF DER SCHULGAN (1979), EXIT THE DRAGON ENTER THE DRAGON (1976, aka ABSCHIED VON DER TODESKRALLE), DOOMSDAY MACHINE (1972, aka HYDRA VERSCHOLLEN IN GALAXIS 4), and KILLSQUAD (1982 aka DAS SOLDNERKOMMANDO). The set itself has an original movie poster cover and another poster for the cardboard slip cover. The set comes with a booklet of production stills and posters, as well as a sticker.
*The DVD has the same extras.
CANNIBAL MAN may have a misleading title, but it’s a damn fine Spanish thriller. Despite some uneven character interaction and baffling dialogue, the movie is thrilling and highly suspenseful. Subkultur’s Blu-ray looks smooth and the Grindhouse viewing option made this a fun night at the movies. Highly Recommended.