No More Love On The Run
Mondo Cannibale (1980): 7 out of 10:, also known as “Cannibal World” or “White Cannibal Queen”, is a 1980 horror-adventure film directed by Jesús Franco. This movie is often associated with the subgenre of exploitation cinema, particularly the “cannibal film” niche that emerged in the 1970s and early 1980s.
The movie is centered around a man named Jeremy Taylor, played by Al Cliver, who embarks on a dangerous and desperate mission. During a previous sailing trip Taylor’s wife was eaten by a cannibalistic tribe and his daughter was kidnapped and unbeknownst to him, declared queen.
Taylor returns to the cannibal tribe with a group of idiots who succumb to heat stroke and poison arrows within minutes of leaving the jeeps. They had planned to infiltrate the island to find his daughter (Sabrina Siani), who has apparently aged at least ten years since he left.
The group soon discovers that going unprepared into a known cannibal outpost is probably a bad idea. These idiots are right up there with the skinny dipping park ranger in Grizzly
The Good: Mondo cannibale is by any measurement one of the worst cannibal exploitation films ever made. And this is not a genre known for its excellence. Even a two out of ten would be generous here.
Hold on, I am getting a note. The film stars Lina Romay and Sabrina Siani and Sabrina spends the entire film topless. Okay, we are going to settle on a gentleman’s seven.
Okay, I’m kidding, I am not invoking a Blame it on Rio scenario here. (It doesn’t hurt, but that is not the genuine appeal of Mondo Cannibale.) No, this is more of a “The Room” scenario. The sheer mind-numbing incompetence of Mondo Cannibale is where most of the entertainment value comes from. I will detail some of that below. No wonder RiffTrax featured it despite being a cannibal exploitation film.
The Bad: The dubbing is hilariously off. Being told that there are cannibals in these parts is infinitely more funny when it’s being told in a very strong Maine accent dubbed into some Italian guy. Add in a nurse that apparently lives down the street at Tara and will never go hungry again and the laughs just keep coming.
Where exactly is this supposed to take place? I mean, you know some scenes look like they’re from supposed to be on the Amazon. But of course there’s elephant sounds, so maybe it’s the jungle in Africa. There’s a lot of scenes that look like they happened on the Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. Cannibal tribes not being quite known for their manicured lawns and well-trimmed palm trees.
IMDb claims the exterior shots are from Portugal, which explains all the cactus I guess? There are rattlesnakes, alligators, cactus, elephants, swamps, Italian guys in blackface with team colors, and topless cannibal woman. Even an advanced AI program would have a hard time figuring out that geographic location.
I cannot emphasise enough how little like cannibals the cannibals look. They all have elaborately painted faces with no overarching theme. Some look like they are trying out for Cats. Others appear to be ready to go to a football match. And still others look like extras from Braveheart that wandered over.
As Mike points out in the RiffTrax version, if you didn’t already know these cannibals were white guys in heavy makeup, the dancing gives it away.
Sabrina Siani goes through the entire film topless with what could only be described resting Alicia Silverstone face. Director Jesús Franco said that Sabrina Siani was the worst actress that he ever worked with in his life, second only to Romina Power, and that Siani’s only good quality was her “delectable derrière”.
But Sabrina didn’t write the script. The dialog is hilariously awful. But one could excuse that with an inadequate translation. What is not clear is how our main character escaped the cannibals, comes back a year later with a rescue party, and his captured nine-year-old daughter is now nineteen?
The Ugly: The cannibals eating human flesh scenes are disturbing. Well, disturbing bad. Filmed as insert shots with guys in blackface pretending to eat the entrails of actresses while they squirm and a horrible noise emits from the TV speaker.
This is one of the most unpleasant things I have sat through in a film. Have your fast-forward button ready. It is only scary in a how much longer could this go on kind of way.
In Conclusion: In a lot of ways Mondo Cannibale is a cannibal film for people that are looking more for a good laugh than anything scary happening. I would recommend watching the RiffTrax version. For one thing, the horribly done eating flesh scenes are trimmed or eliminated entirely. In addition, it is hilarious.
RiffTrax Cannibal World (2022): 9 out of 10: Normally I would have the knives out for RiffTrax’s version of Mondo Cannibale called Cannibal World here. For a full priced movie, it is a bit on the short side. (Clocking in at 71 minutes) and this version has edited out most of the violence and I believe some of the nudity.
I hate it when RiffTrax edits their full-length films. Now I have to sit through a horrible film twice to write a review. But with Cannibal World, I am willing to make an exception. For one thing, the bits cut out should never have been in the film anyway as they are poorly done insert shots. Second, these Italian cannibal films have so many cuts (and titles) it is very possible the one that RiffTrax has the rights to simply is this cut.
But there is another reason I am willing to look the other way. This riffing session is hilarious. The boys really bring there A game. Too many highlights to list but Mike, watching our hero being tied up yet again by the cannibals, stating “think about how much wrong has to go in your life to end up in this exact same situation twice.” and Kevin talking about long pig behaviour were two standouts among many.
So get the family together. Get out some finger food and maybe a long pig and sit down for a fantastic time.