JESS FRANCO MONTH: Cannibal Terror (1980)

EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s another take of this movie here.

Italians are the best at making sword and sorcery movies, end of the world films and, of course, giallo. Mondo, too. And yeah, cannibal movies.

Except, well, this is French.

The film shares footage with Jess Franco’s Mondo Cannibale, as well as a number of locations, cast members and even dubbing talent in the English version. It also has Sabrina Siani show up in a bar scene, which is a step down from being the white queen of the cannibal tribe, but that tribe footage seems interchangeable between films. In fact, there are some actors that show up as three roles, so the French believed in green filmmaking since before we knew what that was.

It’s weird seeing the parallel earths between these films. Pamela Stanford might be Al Cliver’s wife, who gets eaten in Mondo Cannibale — or Cannibals, which confused me enough that I watched it twice forgetting that I had already written about it — is now a major player in this movie.

This was directed by Alain Deruelle, who mainly made adult films and was assisted in making this — just imagine if he didn’t have help — by Olivier Mathot (who wrote The Panther Squad) and Julio Pérez Tabernero (the director of Sexy Cat). Deruelle also took Franco’s Barbed Wire Dolls footage, filmed a little bit more, threw in some Captive Women 4 and a dollop of Hitler’s Last Train and re-released it as Les gardiennes du pénitencier (Jailhouse Wardress).

As for the script — man, I want to see how many pages that thing is — it was written by Tabernero and H.L. Rostaine, the writer of Countdown to Esmerelda BayManiac Killer and Franco’s Golden Jail.

This gets in everything you expect from exploitation: a failed theft, a gang of criminals, a hideout and, there you go, an assault on one of the female characters and then, the cannibals arrive and what a sorry lot they are. French white male cannibals, all slow motion eating a pig carcass.

There’s bad and then there’s this movie bad. It’s amazing that Deruelle ever saw a movie, much less directed one.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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