Italian Horror Blogathon: Anthropophagus (aka Antropophagus, Anthropophagous: The Beast, The Grim Reaper, Man Eater, The Savage Island)
So really from about the 50 minute mark on, Anthropophagus is pretty damn good. Again, this is all relative because "pretty damn good" for a D’Amato film is really the highest of expectations. But credit where it's due, I suppose, as the film works pretty effectively for what it is: a cheaply made exploitation film that mixes the Italian gut-muncher with the American slasher film. The film even looks nice for being a trashy D’Amato film; it lacks the energy of other hyper-violent Italian films by Fulci, but then few things in horror cinema can match the 1979-1981 version of Fulci. Nothing in Anthropophagus – particularly the gore-pieces – is done smoothly; it’s all very clunky. But I think that’s part of its grimy charm. Still, though, there are some memorable moments that stay ingrained in the brain: the first time we see The Beast lit up by the lightening; the atmosphere in the cave prior to the film’s most infamous death scene; the way The Beast emerges from a well; and the visceral ending where The Beast tries to eat his own innards to keep himself alive. And I guess what it all boils down to is that each of these moments involves Eastman. If it weren’t for his crazed performance, I don’t know that I remember half of what I do from the film. Look, I appreciate the sentiment here from D’Amato. I mean, it’s a nice idea to make a “dark and stormy night” type of atmospheric horror film; even better that D’Amato wants to apply a slow-burn methodology so that the visceral punch of the gore – when it happens – has maximum effect. However, I cannot help but wonder what the film could have been had a more stylistic filmmaker tackled the material.