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Thursday, November 13, 2014

MONDO CANNIBAL -- DVD review by Porfle

When famous TV personality Grace Forsyte's ratings start to plunge, so does her integrity--leading to a desperate attempt to boost viewership by taking a film crew into the jungles of South America to record the most horrible atrocities she can find amongst savage tribes of (gasp!) flesh-eating cannibals!

Thus, Italian exploitation director Bruno Mattei (working under the name "Vincent Dawn"), responsible for such films as RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR, WOMEN'S CAMP 119, CALIGULA'S PERVERSIONS, and SCALPS, enriches the world of cinematic art with this offering entitled MONDO CANNIBAL (2004, Intervision Picture Corp.), known also as "Cannibal World", "Horror Cannibal 2", "Cannibal Holocaust 2", and "Cannibal Holocaust: The Beginning." Needless to say, it's about cannibalism.

The "Mondo" angle is a bit misleading, however, since this is neither an actual "Mondo Cane"-type documentary nor a mockumentary, although there's one scene near the beginning that looks real enough. Grace (played by Helena Wagner) and her boss, the TV network president, are viewing footage of what's purported to be actual cannibals preparing a corpse for feasting, and it looks like the real thing--disgustingly so--although it might simply be a prelude to a crude cremation.

Still, it's the one part of the movie that you won't want to watch while eating a nice, drippy, all-meat pizza or a steaming bowl of goulash. In other words, it's wicked grotty, innit.

The rest of the movie consists of Grace and her crew on an increasingly wacky jungle adventure filming fake natives running around killing each other with rubber clubs and feasting on the bloody entrails of their victims like a bunch of freaked-out "fast-moving" zombies.

The grossest thing about these scenes (and their rudimentary but fun gore SPFX) is wondering what the hell is that stringy slop the energetic extras are shoving into their mouths with such ravenous glee--it looks like spaghetti mixed with something somebody dug out of a dumpster behind a butcher shop.

Recording all this horror eventually isn't enough for Grace and her gang, who before long are in the thick of the carnage themselves as they attack a village and set fire to the huts, which are filled with screaming natives, while gleefully raping and massacring everyone in sight.

This rampant savagery is a weird and sudden change for Grace's environmental-advocate partner Bob Manson (Claudio Morales)--supposedly the "conscience" of the group--and her technical crew including cute blonde Cindy (Cindy Matic), whose main purpose on the expedition is to add to the film's brief nudity quotient.

Meanwhile, back in civilization, the TV executives (with the sole exception of one gray-haired bigwig with a weak stomach) are, to coin a phrase, "eating it all up" as the ratings skyrocket.

MONDO CANNIBAL is surprisingly competent in the technical department, with some nice location work including lovely shots of what is supposed to be Hong Kong (although the credits state that this was filmed entirely in the Phillipines). One of the funniest parts of the film is the title at the beginning of this sequence: "Hong Kong: Some Mouths Before..."

Performances are fair to, well, fair, but what star Helena Wagner lacks in finesse she makes up for with pure wire-taut intensity. Her efforts and those of the rest of the cast are hampered by bad dubbing and some jarringly dumb dialogue that adds to the perverse entertainment value.

The main drawback is that much of the earlier part of the film is just plain boring. Things definitely pick up later on, however, when the story starts edging its way over the top before spilling all the way over into a bloodbath of goofy gore and even goofier plot twists.

The DVD from Intervision Picture Corp. is in full frame with Dolby Digital stereo sound. No subtitles. The only bonus feature is a trailer.

In case you haven't gleaned as much from my description already, MONDO CANNIBAL isn't exactly the sort of entertainment to accompany your next Martha Stewart-style dinner soirée. But if you're in the mood for some severely whacked-out ultra-gore goodness packed with psychotic sadism and lacking any sense of decency whatsoever, then this should serve as a suitably sordid main course.

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