aka ANTHROPOPHAGUS: THE BEAST, THE ZOMBIE’S RAGE, MAN-EATER, & THE SAVAGE ISLAND
Directed by Joe D’Amato
Written by Joe D’Amato & George Eastman
Starring Tisa Farrow, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, & George Eastman
ANTHROPOPHAGUS is known mainly for two scenes: the one where the killer pulls a baby from a woman’s belly and eats it and the scene depicted on the cover of the DVD where the killer is eating his own intestines. Now if the descriptions of those two scenes disgust you, press on, pilgrim.
Of course, you stuck around. This is a horror column, right?
Literally meaning a person who eats human flesh, ANTHROPOPHAGUS is not only the title of the film, but a descriptor of its star. Sure there is your usual gaggle of twenty-somethings here who stumble upon an island whose entire populace has been eaten by a giant cannibal, but it’s the monster that is all important here, right?
And what a monster it is! The best part of this film is George Eastman’s portrayal of Nikos Karamanlis, a man driven so crazy that he eats his own family while adrift at sea on a life raft. Eastman is an imposing figure. His first appearance in the film, shot from a worm’s eye view, makes him look like a rotting giant as he lumbers toward the camera after his victims. Though the film is quite cumbersome itself, every scene Eastman’s monster is in is pretty damn fantastic.
By now, fans of horror will know the motions ANTHROPOPHAGUS goes through. The story is not very original. Young adults on a boat land on a deserted island and are picked off one by one until it’s the giant invincible man-monster VS the most virginal female of the group in the final moments of the film. Then again, ANTHROPOPHAGUS was made in the late seventies, before this story was beaten to death by FRIDAY THE 13th and its million knock-offs. This is another slow starter, but once the monster appears, it really does quicken the heart rate. And not only does the monster look terrifying, his acts are equally horrific. The fetus eating scene (which was actually a skinned rabbit) is grueling to watch and the moment where the monster eats his own intestines is the stuff of the goriest nightmares and harkens back to Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Child” painting. I found out recently that this film was remade a few years ago. I haven’t seen that one, but the imagery of the original ANTHROPOPHAGUS will definitely stick with me for a long, long time.