Though their math bight be a bit off since the film was actually released in 1993, Troma is releasing the 13th (or so) Anniversary edition of CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL, the film that introduced the word “shpadoinkle” into the public consciousness. Though it is a bit rough around the edges, the 1993 film still carried the wit and spark later seen in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s ORGAZMO, BASEKETBALL, TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE, and of course SOUTH PARK. Now, if those films (& TV series) don’t make you laugh a bit at the mere mention of them, I don’t think I would recommend CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL to you. But if you like irreverent and off the wall humor, despite an obvious deficiency in budget, the film makes up for it all with a fun script and more than enough guffaws.
CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL begins by letting us know that this is a true story about Alfred Packer (played by Trey Parker, who seems like he’s just getting used to being in front and behind the camera here), a mountain man who led a party through the Colorado Territory and ended up being the last survivor of the bunch and was tried for cannibalism. But though the film starts out with a gory reenactment of Packer’s assault on his fellow trailblazers, the rest of the movie is relatively bloodless. Instead, humor of the goofiest kind takes center stage as Packer confesses his love of his horse Leanne, and the rest of the group build a snowman, compete with a tribe of tone-deaf French trappers, and run into Japanese Indians, a little lamb and a Cyclops.
That’s the thing about this film. Despite the goofy humor and low budget, Parker and Stone’s dangerously sharp wits shine through. So while this film may be acted in a bit of an amateurish manner, the shots and edits are shaky, and the songs are not the catchiest (though “Shpadoinkle Day” and “Let’s Build a Snowman” do have a tendency to burrow its way into one’s brain), there are moments of sheer hilarity that I won’t go into too much here (because we all know explaining a joke ruins it outright). Thirteen years after the film was released by Troma, there are still a lot of great laughs to be had here. Though attempts to bring the musical to stage have been hit and miss through the years, the original tale is now available from Troma in this 13th (or so) Anniversary Edition (with new special features and an intro by Lloyd Kaufman himself). So if you’re interested in checking out the seeds from which the demented shit you’ve seen on SOUTH PARK sprung (and maybe have the sudden urge to shout “SHPADOINKLE!” and build a snowman), CANNIBAL: THE MUSICAL will leave you humming the songs and giggling at the laughs for days after viewing.