Cannibal Girls (1973)

Shot in 1971 and 1972 in the towns surrounding Toronto — Beaverton, Aurora, and Oak Ridges — this low budget, mostly improvised Canadian horror film would be unremarkable if it wasn’t some of the first work of Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy and Ivan Reitman.

Levy stars as Clifford Sturges, a traveling guitar player, while Martin is his new girlfriend Gloria Wellaby. When their car breaks down in a small town called Farnhamville, they soon learn that not many visitors make it out of town.

After finding Mrs. Wainwright’s small motel, the owner tells them about the Cannibal Girls —  Anthea, Clarissa, and Leona — sirens who lure men to their doom, only to eat them while they’re still alive.

Along with another stranger looking for his missing sister, our heroes are taken to the home of Reverend Alex St. John, who commands most of the town. They don’t even realize it, but they’re now in the presence of the titular villains.

Cannibal Girls aspires to the strange town aesthetic that movies like Messiah of Evil excel at. It doesn’t get there, sadly. But the idea that this family of human-eating femme fatales continues to add to their number is a good one.

Weirdly enough, when this played in the UK, it had a loud siren that announced when a scene with gore in it was about to be played, then a bell when that scene was over. This kind of feature would play well at my in-laws, where my wife’s mother often enters the room eyes and ears covered whenever a horror movie is on the TV.

While an interesting curiousity, this feels like the kind of film that Count Floyd would struggle to get through and instead replace it with another showing of Dr. Tongue’s Evil House of Pancakes. These sketches have special relevance for those born in Pittsburgh, as SCTV’s late night movie host turned werewolf howling vampire is pretty much a comedy version of “Chilly” Billy Cardille, a Pittsburgh broadcaster who was as comfortable doing the news as he was hosting Studio WrestlingJackpot Bingo or radio shows as he was showing horror movies late into Saturday night.

There was also another Pittsburgh horror host who influenced Count Floyd, KDKA’s E-Gor, who hosted the show The 13th Hour from 1958 to 1959. He was played by announcer George Eisenhauer, who from the 1950’s to the 1980’s was the familiar smooth voice who’d intone, “This is KDKA, Pittsburgh.” He also the host of the religious program Not Just Sunday. Yes, only in Pittsburgh could someone show you a horror film on Friday and discuss theology on Sunday.

You can Cannibal Girls for free on Tubi.

 

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