CANNIBAL MAN (1972) Review


aka LA SEMANA DEL ASESINO (WEEK OF THE KILLER), APARTMENT OF THE 13th FLOOR
Directed by Eloy de la Iglesia
Written by Eloy de la Iglesia
Starring Vincente Parra, Emma Cohen, Eusebio Poncela

Though the title is misleading, that doesn’t mean that CANNIBAL MAN isn’t worth checking out. This story about one man’s descent into loneliness, despair, and murder is more like TAXI DRIVER than anything else. Much like TAXI DRIVER, too, the story does tend to be a bit ponderous and heavy handed. Though with that film you get an explosive finale as a payoff for all of the wait, in CANNIBAL MAN the murders happen throughout. But between the murders, there’s a whole lot of moping and staring off into the distance, which may prove to be more grueling than the worst gore for some. A bit or research showed that this film was promoted as a gore-fest as the company passed out barf bags with tickets to this one (probably due to the graphic depictions of cattle dismemberment in the slaughterhouse scenes). Though these scenes are a tad graphic, CANNIBAL MAN most definitely isn’t a gore film.

Marcos seems to have it all: a good job at the slaughterhouse, a pretty young girlfriend, and plans for the future. But when he accidentally kills a taxi driver, it sets off a series of events that destroy everything in his life. CANNIBAL MAN is pretty bloodless (despite scenes of a real slaughterhouse at the beginning of the film) with most of the murders happening quickly. Sitting through this one expecting extreme gore or pulse-racing action may prove to be a chore for some people, but folks who like drama along with their morbid themes may want to check this one out.

There’s an interesting subplot about a man who obviously has feelings for Marcos who has been watching him the entire time during this descent. You’re not sure if he knows Marcos has been killing people, but he understands that he is a lonely outcast and identifies with that. He tries to offer Marcos help, but by the time he does, Marcos is too far gone. This is probably one of the more interesting parts of the film since it deals with homosexuality in a mature and non-stereotypical manner.

Yes, this is another slow descent into madness film with a man digging himself deeper and deeper into a hell of his own design. It’s one of those films that had the main character zigged instead of zagging at the very beginning things would have turned out drastically different. Though the pace is heavy, you do get a cool Italian smooth jazz score and some wicked 70’s style clothes and apartment decors. CANNIBAL MAN isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for more meat and drama with your gruesome themes, you could do far worse.

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