|Yet another alternative title|
Well colour me surprised. I saw this years ago and it bored me silly so the idea of a revisit made me want to put pennies over my eyes but godammit it's actually a nifty little thriller that's a lot more intelligent than it gets credit for. There are way too few nasties we can say that about.
Set over 7 days it's the story of Marcos, a bad tempered butcher and the trouble his rage gets him into. First up is an altercation he gets into with a taxi driver that's witnessed by his girlfriend Paula. The driver dies and when Paula suggests going to the cops, he flips and kills her too. Marcos is looked down on by society because of his job and where he came from, he knows the cops would kill him, he sees himself as innocent and still does after his deliberate murder of Paula. Then his brother rocks up looking for Paula and he meets his maker too. Then his brother's girlfriend and so on and so on. The bodies are stacking up, the air in Marcos' apartment is getting ripe and air freshener will only cover up so much. He needs a plan. Then he remembers what he does for a living.....
It sounds like a splatterfest and yeah it does contain a couple of pretty gnarly sequences of brutality (slit throats, meats cleavers to faces, that horrible slaughter sequence the movie opens with) but it's quite a clever watch too. It's a fine example of 70's social cinema containing commentary on the hierarchies of Spanish society (all society really) in between it's darker moments. The Spain we know today is all beaches, sun, cerveza and paella but in 1972 when this was released the country was still under the thumb of Francisco Franco, the dictator who had his boot on the neck of the country for almost 40 years. Life there was pretty shitty for the have nots and The Cannibal Man was a darkly satirical look at the existence of the common man.
So why did it bore me the first time i saw it? I think i might have been expecting something a lot more video nasty-esque because of that title. In Spain it's called La Semana Del Asesino aka The Murderer's Week but in the UK distributors renamed it as The Cannibal Man to cash in on the infamy of Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox and wouldn't you know it, it backfired and it ended up on the video nasty list. Like so many on that list it would have been forgotten in the mists of time but being part of the DPP 39 gave it infamy. An infamy it does not deserve at all. But an infamy that got it a wider audience than it would have never got by itself.
Would I recommend this one? Yep. Just close your eyes at the start.
Does it deserve it's nasty status? Not a hope.
What's next? Devil Hunter is next. Another Jess Franco suckfest about a monster with ping pong ball eyes. No I'm not making this up.