Friday, April 17, 2015

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977)

The best and worst aspects of this film are jammed into its first ten minutes.  I sighed during the interminable establishing shots of the credits, shots of random New York buildings scored to annoying disco.  WE ARE IN NEW YORK, these scenes scream, and their cousins will follow.  But then things get promising, as we find Emanuelle infiltrating a mental hospital with a camera disguised as a doll.  The same mental hospital houses a girl found amongst cannibal tribes in the Amazon.  Em gets some bottomless snaps of her because nothing sells magazine like hospitalized white cannibal pussy.


Said cannibal girl also bites off a nurse's boob.  Later, Emanuelle goes completely out of character and says, "She'll have lost a breast.  However, it seems she asked for it.  She's well-known for her homosexual inclinations."  LOL WUT?  Did she have a flashback to her judgmental nun days?  Let's ignore some of the iffy plotting here, like why a newspaper would have an archive of Aztec symbols, and just say that Em decides to travel to the Amazon to cover cannibalism.  Before leaving, she hooks up with her sometimes-guy and they make love on some jagged, slippery rocks.  This doesn't seem to make sense until you see the Brooklyn Bridge and such in the background.  It was exceedingly important that we establish these scenes as New York.


It's a good time to talk about the dubbing.  Wow, it's not...good at...all.  There are...long pauses seemingly...inserted at random.  It makes...the entire cast seem...like they've had strokes.  But no one watches these movies for dialogue.  They watch them in order to have strokes of a different kind.  Unfortunately, the sexy scenes don't spark and, before long, we're in the Amazon, anyway.  Scenes of walking around replace any potential slutting around.  Only one jewel is embedded here, Laura Gemser and her old pal Monica Zanchi gingerly washing each other's pubes in a river while a chimpanzee smokes a cigarette on the shore.  Yes, South America has chimpanzees and they love smoking and girl-girl scenes.


That aside, the last portion of Last Cannibals is deadeningly dull.  Lots of walking leads to a climax complete with first year art class gore.  Tight close-ups of paint and clay fill the screen, Herschell Gordon Lewis-style, but without the charm.  I loled when a man was cut cleanly in half with no dripping blood.  Even gore aficionados are going to find it hard to like this one.  


So, yeah, Black Emanuelle, huh?  I think that time has been exceedingly unkind to these films.  Whatever charms they have to offer are swamped by flaws that look even more glaring when you consider the other entertainment choices available to modern deviants.  But Laura Gemser sure was pretty, right?

**

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Backcountry (2014)

I think this film is betrayed by its give-away marketing and cover image, so here's the review: if you like nature/survival horror, see this, it's good.  Okay, spoilers after the cuteness.


The first section of Backcountry is steeped in nebulous fear.  We meet a couple and watch them traipse off into the woods.  Something bad is coming, we're sure, but it's unclear whether it's the scuzzball Irishman they meet while camping or a canoe injury that could hobble Alex (Jeff Roop).  Or is it a ravenous black bear?  If you looked at the cover, even after I advised you not to, you know the answer is C.


If you know at the outset that this is a bear movie, you feel free to ignore the character-development stuff and the red herrings and just keep eyes peeled for the bear.  But I think that's a mistake.  Pretty much all movies are better if your foreknowledge is limited, but this one especially benefits from viewer ignorance.  The dread that's amassed in the early stages is lessened if you're just waiting for a bear to hop out and start snapping off legs.  Plus you miss out on some mournful romance stuff, especially a heartbreaking fight on a mesa.  Missy Peregrym has apparently previously been famous for her abs, but she shows a ton of acting skill in her performance and Jeff Roop is also quite convincing.


Couples in the woods horror is having a grand flowering right now, but I'd rank this above the likes of Willow Creek.  It'll be interesting to see what director Adam MacDonald produces next. 

***1/4