Mondo cannibale AKA White Cannibal Queen AKA Cannibals (1980) Spain
Directed by Jess Franco, full name: Jesús Franco Manera born in Madrid, Spain this entry into the cannibal genre is so so. It feels kind of like an Italian cannibal movie, probably partly due to the fact that it was a co-Italian production but also it boasts actors like Al Cliver (who is Egyptian by birth) but was in movies like Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie” and “The Beyond” and Sabrini Siani (Lucio Fulci’s “Aenigma” and Stelvio Massi’s “Cobra Nero”) born in Italy and described by Jess Franco as one of the stupidest actors he has ever worked with, with good reason. She is one of the most beautiful women but she couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag, no real ability to project any emotion.
The plot is pretty simple: Dr. Jeremy Taylor (Played by Al Cliver), his wife and daughter Lana (Played by Anouchka as a child and then later played by Sabrina Siani as adult Lana) travel to the Amazon and are attacked by cannibals (played by local gypsies). His wife is captured and eaten and Lana is taken. Dr. Taylor barely escapes with his life and makes it back to New York (coincidentally not one shot was made in actual New York). I find it kind of funny, so many cannibal movies are partially set in New York City. I believe Ruggero Deodato’s “Cannibal Holocaust” uses New York City. Also “Make Them Die Slowly AKA Cannibal Ferox” by Umberto Lenzi. Even Joe D’Amato’s (Aristide Massaccesi) “Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals” is partially set in New York.
Anyway, nobody believes him except Ana (The beautiful Lina Romay, Jess Franco’s wife) after many years of treatment he finally manages to convince a group of wealthy people to invest in an expedition back to the jungle where he lost his daughter. Once they arrive they are of course set upon by the cannibals and most of the expedition are eaten. Dr. Taylor discovers that his daughter Lana has been made the wife of the head of the cannibals now dubbed the “White Cannibal Queen.”
He tries to escape with Lana and ends up in a rather pathetic fight over her with the leader of the tribe. Essentially, who ever wins gets the girl.
To quote Joe Bob Briggs: “A 97 on the Vomit Meter!”
It isn’t “Cannibal Holocaust” but it isn’t Umberto Lenzi’s “Eaten Alive” which is (in my opinion) one of the worst of the more well known cannibal movies. The gore is plenty and unique in the way it was shot. All the gut-munching was shot in slow-motion which is strange because most films by Jess Franco aren’t all that gory. “Bloody Moon” had some gore in it but you look at movies like “Vampyros Lesbos,” they tend to push the boundaries of eroticism and have some violence but I don’t think I have seen him this gory.
All-in-all I think Blue Underground did a pretty good job with this one. Ninety minutes long, it is presented uncut and uncensored. It also boasts a twenty minute long interview with Jess Franco titled “Franco Holocaust” and a French trailer.
If you are a big fan of Franco films or Cannibal flicks I would recommend seeing it but it isn’t all that spectacular and for most people, probably passable.