Here’s the thing about so-called “hybrid” films : just because they’re usually interesting (in one form or another) doesn’t always mean they’re good. Sometimes they’re just weird mash-ups.
Submitted as evidence for the prosecution : In The Land Of The Cannibals, the second cannibal flick directed by the late Italian sleaze-master Bruno Mattei in 2003 that, like it gorier and more untamed counterpart, Mondo Cannibal (reviewed on these very digital “pages” yesterday) a) was shot on video; b) was made in the Philippines; and c) stars Claudio Morales —this time playing a “guide” for a group of special forces-type commandos who are searching for a US senator’s “hottie” daughter ( played by Cindy Jelic Matic, here credited simply as Cindy Matic) whose plane went down in the “Amazon jungle” rather than a morally-compromised TV pseudo-journalist.
So, yeah, I guess you get this point already — this one’s Predator/ Rambo/ Commando/ Missing In Action – style jungle-based paramilitary action flick meets Cannibal Holocaust / Cannibal Ferox.
Also like its decidedly more savage counterpart, this one is plagued with horrifically bad dubbing, bone-headed dialogue translations, and shabby production values and special effects. So, ya know, it’s got that going for it, which is nice.
It doesn’t have anything more than that going for it, though, you’ve been warned. Consider it a public service from me to you, my dear reader.
Obviously, if you’re looking for anything that has even the merest whiff of authenticity or competence about it, you’ve come to the wrong place, but if all you want is 90 minutes of shamelessly cheesy fun, you could certainly do worse. Is it as much fun as watching Mattei try to ape Deodato on a fraction of the budget and with less than a fraction of his filmmaking skills? Well, no, it’s not, but as mentioned at the outset here, even bad genre “hybrids” are at least, if nothing else, interesting, and this one’s both interesting and hopelessly corny, so who are any of us to complain about that?
Last but not least when it comes to our little ongoing “count the similarities” game, In The Land Of The Cannibals — which also went out to various international home video markets under the titles of Nella Terra Dei Cannibali, Land Of Death, and Cannibal Holocaust 3 : Cannibal Vs. Commando (the most dubious name for it of all given that Mondo Cannibal was hardly a “legit” sequel/prequel to Cannibal Holocaust despite being shamelessly labeled as Cannibal Holocaust 2 in some territories) — has also just been unleashed on the world on DVD from Severin Films’ InterVision Pircture Corp. label and features a nicely-cleaned-up full-frame transfer, adequate two-channel stereo sound, and no extras apart from the trailer.
Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way — after all, why should InterVision be expected to do anything different with either of these releases when Mattei didn’t bother to do anything too terribly original when he made them? This one’s certainly best viewed together with Mondo Cannibal in one sitting since it’s basically only of interest as a cinematic curiosity done in conjunction with a “bigger” (relatively speaking, you understand) project, but that’s okay — if your ambitions as a viewer are as limited as our guy Bruno’s were as a director (and I freely admit mine sometimes are), there are a lot worse ways to spend about 90 minutes of your time.