The word ‘Epic’ has recently been devalued and just used to mean something that is striking or enjoyable, but the correct meaning of the word indicated narratives in the ‘Epic’ mould – those which surpass the ordinary in scale and reach heroic proportions – this applies to films too. I’m taking a look at some of the truly Epic movies from the early 1980s that showed extraordinary ambition in their story and spectacle.
For years fans waited for the release of a sequel to Ruggero Deodato’s trendsetting Cannibal Holocaust, yet it would take almost a decade for The Green Inferno to arrive… and it wasn’t what followers of the Italian cannibal cycle were expecting.
First there was Cannibal Holocaust… Then came Cannibal Ferox… But somewhere in France, someone was already hatching a plot to cash-in on the Italian intestinal classics with Cannibal Terror!
“The thirst for adventure!”
The Mountain of the Cannibal God was originally released in United Kingdom under the name Prisoner of the Cannibal God, and added to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) list of “video nasties” shortly after its home video release. Although The Mountain of the Cannibal God was one of the 33 “video nasties” not prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, it remained unavailable on home video until 2001.
“Why is everybody so scared of the Puka?”
Umberto Lenzi had quite a career during his time as a film maker. Lenzi started law school, then decided his true passion lay with movies and attended the prestigious Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. His resume’ included peplum, westerns, giallos and mysteries, all typical of Italian cinema of the time. He later retired from cinema and wrote a series of detective novels. Then in 1972 Lenzi made what many consider the first true, cannibal film, Man from the Deep River. The work contained many of the attributes of future cannibal movies; violence, sex, the consumption of raw, human flesh… The movie established Lenzi as a director of turgid, offensive films.