HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, December 4, 2014


It's the same old story...senator's daughter gets kidnapped by cannibals in the Amazon jungle, a group of hardened commandos armed to the teeth must go in to rescue her.

But with exploitation director Bruno Mattei (HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD, CAGED WOMEN, RATS: NIGHT OF TERROR, SS EXTERMINATION LOVE CAMP) at the helm--working under the name "Martin Miller"--that same old story has a cockeyed, oddball approach all its own, and IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS, aka "Land of Death", "Nella terra dei cannibali", and "Cannibal Holocaust 3: Cannibal vs. Commando" (2003), will either bore you silly or have you floating on a cloud of bad-movie bliss.

Like his other cannibal epic from the same year, MONDO CANNIBAL, this was shot entirely in the Philipines and actually boasts some dandy jungle locations. It's also pleasantly passable in certain other areas such as nice camerawork, a rousing musical score, and an overall look that transcends what must have been a pretty low budget.

Unfortunately, this culinary curio also displays the usual wooden acting, horrendous dubbing, and richly dumb (but enjoyably so) dialogue that we expect from one of these potluck potboilers.

After we meet the two main characters--brawny head commando Lt. Wilson (Lou Randall) and his surly, know-it-all jungle guide, a local mercenary named Romero (Claudio Morales, co-star of MONDO CANNIBAL)--they and the rest of their trigger-happy team are transported via helicopter into a harrowing jungle nightmare festooned with flesh-eating, poisoned-arrow-shooting natives crawling out of the shrubbery at every turn.

Mattei tries to invoke an ALIENS atmosphere at first with cool-as-ice Romero napping peacefully in the chopper before they all rappel into the bush (an act described as "an elevator into hell") and stiff-necked Lt. Wilson being exposed as a novice whose combat experience has been mostly simulated.

There's also a tough-cookie female commando named, oddly enough, "Vasquez" (Ydalia Suarez) and a no-nonsense black sergeant, Sgt. Cameron (Silvio Jimenez)--as in "James Cameron" for those keeping score. The other two guys, Kruger and Smith, are pretty non-descript, although I think one of them is Irish. Anyway, any in-depth character development that may occur during this story is entirely accidental.

Once the commandos start nosing around in the jungle looking for the lost senator's daughter and her hapless entourage, things get rather boring (I found myself nodding off a few times) until they begin to encounter different tribes who respond to them with varying degrees of hostility. Mattei tries to shock us with close-ups of wormy, decaying bodies, several having been skinned alive, and people gorging themselves on some really nasty stuff.

What there's precious little of in IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS, surprisingly enough, is actual cannibalism. It's hardly the gorefest that its counterpart MONDO CANNIBAL was, going instead for more of an action-packed shoot 'em up vibe.

Once our heroes locate and abscond with their prize, Sara Armstrong (Cindy Matic), now regarded by her superstitious captors as some kind of mystical creature due to her blonde hair (shades of KING KONG and no doubt scores of other jungle yarns), the film becomes a non-stop orgy of bullet-riddled fun as seemingly hundreds of cannibalistic creeps get mowed down by machine guns and grenades galore.

This furious finale, with everyone trying to "Ged to da choppa!" PREDATOR-style, is all pretty low-tech, no-squibs action--the extras simply pretend to get shot up all over the place and the commandos empty clip after clip into them while dodging arrows and spears. As is traditional in this sort of action flick, we see our favorite characters cut down one by one as we wonder who the final survivor or survivors will be.

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

While taking itself seriously as an action thriller, IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS is the kind of movie that's so dumb, it's almost indistinguishable from a deadpan comedy. Maybe that, in addition to the fact that it's well-made enough to be mildly watchable, is why I managed to derive a few palatable tidbits of entertainment value from it.

Buy it at


1 comment: said...

ITLOTC A Classic!

Lugnet - "All The Way" Grindhouse Video! Featuring: Christina Lindberg "Thriller: They Call Her One Eye"

More Info here: