Horrorfest 2019 Presents: Cannibal Girls (1973, Ivan Reitman)

I had no idea that Ivan Reitman made a horror comedy movie in the 1970s, called Cannibal Girls. Tubi TV has brought this to my attention and despite some obvious low budget limitations I still enjoyed this one. Primarily because it starred Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin as a couple stranded in a small town run by cannibals! The humor is a bit thick at times yet the kills are eerie and the pacing is solid. I wonder if maybe this film helped serve as a semi-dress rehearsal for Ghostbusters, although perhaps not. There are also a few quite gory scenes that I did not expect, and one sequence that offered up a surprise.

Oh and the movie oddly works as a feminist take on slasher films, primarily since in this case the men are the victims and the women are the killers. Cannibal Girls is easily a candidate for a late night drive in movie, or a flick that would be featured on one of those old school movie host programs. Also this is one of those movies that has the wonderfully creepy cliche (which it probably helped invent) of the townspeople being in on the whole thing. If this movie doesn’t make you consider being a vegetarian or inspire you to avoid small towns altogether, well…

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Corpse Grinders (1971, Ted V. Mikels)

The Corpse Grinders (1971) had killer cats, people making cat food out of corpses, and the print I watched looked really old and in poor condition. I viewed Ted V. Mikels’ (what a name!) cult film on Tubi TV, and thus I am glad I watched it for free because this is not a good movie. This is not even good trash or fun, just a completely insane pieced together mess of a film that I have already forgotten about. Some movies you need to review after you watch them since you may have fresh thoughts that you will not retain, however there are others that you need to write about since you have moved on to something better. The Corpse Grinders was not particularly memorable, and I only watched it thanks to seeing a preview for it years ago.

Also Mikels was trying to make a dark comedy, although a good deal of humor in The Corpse Grinders is unintentional. The killer cats were neat though, and I didn’t hate this movie. The fact that anyone in the 1970s could make a cheesy cult film and get it released is amusing if a bit inspiring, even if a lot of them were awful. Sometimes you discover a gem, sometimes you find trash that stinks. That’s just the way cinema goes.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Ravenous (1999, Antonia Bird)

Owing something of a debt to the underrated and funny Cannibal! The Musical, the 1999 cult film Ravenous works as a horror/comedy/western that has some bleak humor and offers up a decent social/political commentary as well. The cast is fantastic, as the two main stars are Guy Pearce, and Robert Carlyle, who at the time were still up and coming stars. Rounding out the rest of the bunch is Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Neal McDonough and John Spencer. They aid in the film being as good as it is, although the humorous moments and the freaky elements combine to form a unique and entertaining movie. Of course one doesn’t quite know what to expect when viewing a film based off of the cannibalism tales of the Donner Party and Alferd Packer. Also the score by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn is full of western twang and only underlines the insanity that populates most of the film.

Starting out innocently enough, Ravenous begins with a solider, Boyd, being sent out to a fort in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. From there the soldiers stationed at Fort Spencer, plus Boyd, run into a man who turns out to be a cannibal. There is a scene that is equal parts creepy, hilarious, action packed and rather violent, and I will not reveal what exactly happens because it should be viewed in the context of the film.

Later on, Carlyle’s psychotic, murderous soldier mentions Manifest Destiny, twisting the idea of expansion to fit his own evil desires, reminding the audience that westward expansion was supported by violent conquest of the local American Indians. Even though at times this film’s material wears a bit thin, Ravenous is still a nice addition to the horror genre. Not only do I love the ending, but I also wish that Hollywood would make another film quite like this one, or at least one that was a horror western, although perhaps that already happened and such a film was not as good as Bird’s effort. Too bad if that’s the case.

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