Cannibal Ferox (1980) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's notes

Cannibal Ferox is an Umberto Lenzi cannibal film.

A scholarly woman is going to the Amazon to prove her PhD thesis that there is no such thing as cannibalism. She brings along her brother as an assistant, and Zora Kerova to get naked. At the same time, a junkie goes to his pusher's house straight from rehab to encounter two Italian businessmen who are also looking for the pusher. Seems he skipped town after screwing them out of a lot of nose candy. Some say he was going to hide out in the jungle.

Then, surprise, surprise, surprise, the scholar and her party run into the drug dealer in the jungle, where he has been torturing the cannibals over something about emeralds. Oddly enough, the cannibals didn't much care for the torture, and since all white folks look alike, they decide to make all of them die slowly before eating them.

We presume that her thesis was rejected the the PhD committee.


The DVD box claims that this is one of the most violent films ever made, with at least two dozen scenes of barbaric torture and sadistic cruelty shown graphically. The blurbs further claim that Cannibal Ferox was banned in 31 countries. Frankly, I didn't find the gore level especially higher than in other genre efforts, although hanging Zora Kerova by grappling hooks through the breasts was a fairly nasty bit. On the other hand, I liked it when they did a sex change operation on the bad guy with a machete, and also when they cut off his skull to make brain pudding.

The transfer is rather grainy, but is well saturated and doesn't seem to have scratches or other similar damage. The DVD includes feature length commentary. The fact that the film is dubbed in English, which most of the cast was actually speaking, helps hold one's attention.



  • Commentary by: director Umberto Lenzi, star John Morghen
  • On-camera interview with director Umberto Lenzi
  • Production Stills
  • Other surprises
  • the transfer is anamorphically enhanced, and is not especially vivid



Zora Kerova is completely naked, but only shows breasts.

Some indigenous women also appear topless

Scoop's notes

This is a really screwy exploitation movie from 1980, also known as "Make Them Die Slowly."

Some exploitation films deserve to be called so because they deliver nothing of what they promised, exploiting the suckers with pure hype. Others deserved to be called exploitation flicks because they promise sensational goings-on and deliver exactly what they promise - exploiting the suckers' taste for pure sensationalism. This one was part of the latter category - it delivered the goods. This movie has cannibalism, dismemberment, mutilation, cruelty to animals, and other related activities in abundance. It isn't heavy on nudity, but there is some of that as well.

You may find that the animal killing looks realistic. There's a good reason for that. You know the typical disclaimer that no animals were harmed during filming? You won't find any of that pussy stuff here. The movie contains several actual animal killings. Though his character kills an animal in the film, John Morghen thoroughly objected to the process and refused to participate. Director Lenzi tried to convince Morghen to do the killings by telling him, "De Niro would do it," to which the actor responded, "De Niro would tell you to fuck off." Morghen won the debate. A body double did the killings.

Strangely enough for a crap movie of this genre, it was actually filmed on location in the Amazon, with a script that attempted some irony, a cohesive plotline, and some multi-dimensional character development. Now, don't get me wrong. You won't feel inclined to compare it to "Smiles of a Summer Night" or "Grand Illusion," and the acting is lame, but the pictures are in focus and the whole thing kinda makes sense on its own terms.

Warning: probably not a good date movie, unless you're seeing Squeaky Fromme.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. Divided along genre lines. Genre-oriented reviewers find it memorable. Others find it disgusting and poorly acted. Incredibly enough, IMDb has 50 reviews of this film!

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


This film is an oddball genre flick that will hold your attention by its sheer audacity. If the genre is defined narrowly "cannibal films," it is a C+ on the meter, and a must-own for genre fans. As Euro Horror, let's call it a C-, a film that genre lovers will find watchable for one reason or another, but that mainstream filmgoers will (and probably should) find totally repulsive.

Return to the Movie House home page