Joe D’Amato was a busy filmmaker. How busy? He died on January 23rd of 1999 and still had eight films released that year. (Your move Takashi Miike.) Sure they were all adult films, but they’re still movies! Most of his films are of the X-rated variety, but he’s best known for directing numerous genre films heavy on the gore and/or sleaze. Two of his more beloved titles are new to Blu-ray from Severin Films, so we picked up a knife and fork and dug right in…
Fun in the sun takes a dark turn when a group of friends on a sailing adventure make a detour to a small island. Forced to split up by circumstance and poor decision-making, two of them stay on the boat while the others head inland towards town, and soon the nightmare truly begins. A madman begins killing the group one by one in bloody and violent ways, and as the friends dwindle their only hope rests in discovering the crazed murderer’s truth. Actually, while disturbing in its own right that’s also irrelevant — they just need to kill the bastard first.
D’Amato’s 1980 romp is most infamous for being included on the UK’s “video nasty” list, and while that was its own nightmare of government censorship it’s easy to see why the film was targeted. Our deranged killer murders in the bloodiest, goriest, most painful-looking ways possible including beheadings, throat tears, blade action, gut-munching, and perhaps most famously, by ripping a fetus from a still-living woman and then eating the baby alive. It’s messy fun guaranteed to offend and disgust some viewers while delighting others.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the gory goods are the film’s only real strength. Writing, acting, and D’Amato’s direction are all pretty stale leaving stretches of the film a dull travelogue through coastal Greece. But you don’t watch a D’Amato movie for any of those things do you? No, you don’t. You watch them — and this one in particular — for the gory effects and gruesome violence that only 80s horror movies can provide. On that front it’s a wildly wet success.
Severin’s new Blu-ray presents the film uncut, of course, and with a new 2K scan from the original negative, and it looks as sharp as you hope. The gore glistens. The disc includes a trailer as well as the following new special features.
- *NEW* Don’t Fear the Man-Eater [13:03] – Interview with writer/star Luigi Montefiori aka George Eastman who talks about his friendship and working relationship with Joe D’Amato as well as this film’s production. He’s not a fan.
- *NEW* The Man Who Killed the Anthropophagous [13:50] – Interview with actor Saverio Vallone who has the rare distinction of surviving Anthropophagous.
- *NEW* Cannibal Frenzy [5:58] – Interview with FX artist Pietro Tenoglio talks D’Amato, this film, and the infamous fetal snack scene. (Spoiler, it was a skinned rabbit.)
- *NEW* Brother and Sister in Editing [12:56] – Interview with editor Bruno Micheli discusses his place in a family that has long found employment in cinema.
- *NEW* Inside Zora’s Mouth [9:59] – Interview with actor Zora Kerova
Buy Anthropophagous on Blu-ray from Amazon.
Mikos is a human experiment, and while he’s a success in developing extraordinary healing powers there’s a hiccup in the operation that also leaves him a homicidal maniac. Oops! The Vatican sends a priest to deal with the mess — they’re partially to blame you see — but they’re going to need more than that if they want to stop the monster they’ve created.
Chasing Anthropophagous was never going to be easy when it comes to the gore and violence, but D’Amato slips right back into the game with this violent and bloody slasher. It reminds of Chuck Norris’ Silent Rage (1982) with its unbeatable and unstoppable killer mowing his way through people left and right, but you know, with less karate. There’s no single hero here to face off against the beast which leaves viewers with a little bit of a mystery as to who’ll be left standing, and it works.
George Eastman returns after playing the monstrous killer in D’Amato’s previous film, and while his character is once again mostly devoid of personality he delivers a fair amount of ominous threat. The bloodletting is copious and frequent, the kills are brutal, and while not necessarily scary it delivers more unnerving setups than D’Amato typically achieves.
Severin’s new Blu-ray is uncut and features a 2K scan in addition to an alternate cut, a trailer, and the following extra features.
- *NEW* The Return of the Grim Reaper [30:53] – Interview with actor/writer/co-producer Luigi Montefiori
- D’Amato on Video [19:43] – Archive interview with director Aristide Massacces aka Joe D’Amato
- A Biker (Uncredited) [17:47] – Interview with Michele Soavi
Buy Absurd on Blu-ray from Amazon.