‘Why Cannibals Are The New Zombies’ by Andrew Stimpson

Cool column by Andrew Stimpson about cannibalism in film and the influence of one of the most notorious films of all times, Cannibal Holocaust, on the horror genre.

To be truly terrifying cannibalism must be conducted in a fashion that is, from the perspective of the antagonist, mundane and enjoyable. To them it must be a way of life as run-of-the-mill as stuffing a chicken or having one off the wrist watching Aerobics Oz Style. [Christ give me strength, Ed] In cinema this has been generally handled in just a handful of ways. The disfunctional family a la Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the weird underworld mutant cult as in the stylish but hollow French horror Frontiers, or the terrifying and damaged loner in the hilariously gratifying Ravenous or the disappointingly pretentious Grimm Love. The most instantly recognisable and satisfying way however, as evidenced by the slew of cannibal nasties courtesy of Italian and Spanish cinema, is the primitive man-eating tribes in the darkest (civilisation-wise) recesses of the globe who cannot be reasoned with because not only is the behaviour culturally ingrained but we don’t speak a word of the lingo. A place where being an educated western anthropologist simply carries no weight with the turtle-flaying, larvae munching locals. It is this latter hostile environment that places our protagonists in the greatest danger. When chased by Leatherface you’re never really too far from a main road but when being borne down upon by yelling tribesmen in the jungles of Borneo you’re in a much deeper pile of shit.

read the full article here


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