Film #45: CANNIBAL GIRLS
2 out of 5 stars
Horror films have always been things on which burgeoning filmmakers cut their teeth. Mistakenly, they think that the genre is so easy to work in that they can make their film while learning their craft. Case in point, there’s Ivan Reitman (GHOSTBUSTERS, MEATBALLS, TWINS, KINDERGARTEN COP) who made this little oddity. Reportedly shot as a short and then lengthened over the course of two years, the film is pretty much completely improvised (and you can totally tell). Further, it’s noteworthy as being marketed as having its own internal warning system – a buzzer that rang just prior to a violent and/or gory scene and then a pleasant-sounding bell once it’s all over. The story itself (such as it is) is clumsily told, seeming to be more disjointed vignettes strung together into a very loose narrative than anything else. The gore is about what you’d expect for 1973: tempura paint splashed around like, well… tempura paint. Finally, CANNIBAL GIRLS is worthy of discussion for three reasons: as a time capsule of the time in which it was made, as an example of the early work of a filmmaker (Reitman) who would go on to make major motion pictures, and for its cast. Featured as the two rather dorky leads are SCTV alumni Eugene Levy (BEST IN SHOW, AMERICAN PIE) & Andrea Martin (WAG THE DOG, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING), as well as a host of Grade Z character actors. As horror films go though, this is standard fare all around and there are virtually no surprises to be found anywhere. This all may have been pretty inventive back in the day, but now… it’s all pretty rote. Still, there is an endearingly sleazy quality to it all and it makes for an amusing viewing. Great for fans of early '70s exploitation flicks, for folks who like to see the early work of prominent filmmakers, and for those who dig “so bad they’re good” horror movies.