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Cannibal Man

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    Ian Jane
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  • Cannibal Man



    Released by: Subkultur Entertainment
    Released: 2014
    Director: Eloy de la Iglesia
    Cast: Vicente Parra, Emma Cohen, Eusebio Poncela
    Year: 1973
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Released domestically on DVD a few times now, Cannibal Man makes its worldwide Blu-ray debut from Subkultur Entertainment. Directed by Eloy de la Iglesia (the same man who directed Murder In A Blue World), Cannibal Man tells the story of a man named Marcos (Vicente Parra) who toils away at his blue collar job working in a grimy slaughterhouse (note that does provide the film with ample opportunity to show off some very real and very disturbing slaughterhouse footage in the film's opening minutes). When he's not at work he's trying to hold together a rather tumultuous relationship with his fiancé, Paula (Emma Cohen). When on the way back to their home one night, the mood hits them in the back of a cab. When the driver takes issue with their busy hands, Paula is threatened. Marcos reacts and winds up beating the driver pretty severely.

    When the cab driver dies, Paula is overwhelmed with guilt and feels horrible about what Marcos did. She wants to go to the police but there's no way on Earth that Marcos is going to allow her to do that. After they have sex one last time, he makes sure she won't talk ever again. He stashes her body in his brother's room away from prying eyes, but various people keep showing up at Marcos' home. This means that his work isn't done yet, he's got to make sure no one finds out what he's done. All the while, Nestor (Eusebio Poncela), the strange man who lives next door, watches Marco's every move.

    While there are a few grisly murder set pieces in Cannibal Man, its reputation as a straight up horror film is a bit misleading. The 'clever to the face' image you on the cover of the US release is from the film but there's a whole lot more going on in this movie than simply gory death and dismemberment. Any cannibalism in the film is implied rather than actually shown. Iglesia lets the film creep up on us and slowly start closing in around us as Marcos slowly but surely descends into madness. As such, the picture is quite tense and brooding with some thick atmosphere and quite a bit of genuine suspense. Influenced by the films of Hitchcock and Polanski, Cannibal Man lets us get to know Marcos enough that what he does and what happens to him afterwards matters to us. We're given enough information about him that he's more than just a slasher or a maniac, he's an actual person with a very serious problem. As Marcos' relationship with Nestor becomes more intense and as Nestor's interest in Marcos becomes more obviously sexual in nature, we realize that Marcos is falling faster and faster into his own black hole.

    Laced with some clever moments of dark comedy, Cannibal Man is an interesting and well made film that seems to get overlooked when considering the best genre films that Spain has to offer. It's quite well directed with some great cinematography, clever use of sound (the sound of flies will start to grate on your nerves, but that's the point - it works very well!) and an intelligent script. The performances are strong and reasonably convincing and the multiple layers that the story contains make for an intelligent and entertaining thriller that most horror movie fans should certainly enjoy.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Cannibal Man arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and compared to previous DVD releases it's quite a substantial improvement. There are a couple of tiny nicks and scratches here and there but otherwise the picture is nice and clean. Colors look great here, the reds of the slaughterhouse scenes are shockingly effective while skin tones look nice and lifelike. There isn't even a trace of noise reduction here to note, so a nice, natural amount of film grain is present throughout while detail and texture remain impressive throughout. Compression artifacts and edge enhancement never come into play here, while depth and texture are very strong as well. All in all, the movie looks great on Blu-ray. It's a gritty looking movie to be sure, but it translates to Blu-ray very well indeed.

    Audio options are provided in German and in English DTS-HD Mono with optional subtitles provided in German. The English track is clean and clear and properly balanced, the film's unusual score sounds quite good here and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion.

    Aside from some menus and a chapter selection option, we get German and English trailers for the feature, a still gallery and roughly eleven minutes of deleted scenes/outtakes. These are presented in HD but there's no audio to accompany them. They are interesting to see though as we get a chance to see Marcos dealing with issue at work and going about his business at the slaughterhouse. There's also some additional 'intimate' material involving Marcos and Nestor included in here. If, from the main menu screen, you select the 'Grindhouse Erleben' option you'll get some fun coming attractions that play before the feature starts. Here you'll find trailers for Irrgarten Des Schreckens (better known in North America as Asylum), a German sexploitation film called Verfuhrung Auf Der Schulbank, a Brucespliotation martial arts film called Abschied Von Der Todeskralle (or, if you prefer, Exit The Dragon, Enter The Tiger), a sci-fi film called Hydra Verschollen In Galaxis 4 (a.k.a. Doomsday Machine) and last but not least, Das Soldnerkommando (1982's Kill Squad). All of the trailers are in HD, which is a nice touch.

    As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie with identical extra features is also included. Both come packaged inside a DVD sized case that contains a full color booklet of lobby cards and promotional materials. The case fits inside a cardboard slipcover and the cover insert that fits inside the plastic case is actually a reproduction of the original poster art.

    The Final Word:

    While Cannibal Man might be more of a psychological thriller than a true splatter film, it's quite well made and rather gripping. Subkultur's Blu-ray offers a substantially better looking transfer than the DVD versions that have made the rounds over the years and it presents the movie uncut with a few fun extras too. All in all, a solid release of an underrated film!

    Click on the images below for full-sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















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