The Daily Grindhouse: Cannibal Ferox aka Make Them Die Slowly (dir. by Umberto Lenzi)

It’s time we got back to another edition of “The Daily Grindhouse” and this time we go into the lovely and wholesome fun that was the European cannibal subgenre which became popular from the mid-1970’s right up to the early 1980’s. The granddaddy and best of this subgenre will forever be Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust. That film help bring about the flood of cheap copies and knock-offs with each one trying to one-up Deodato’s masterpiece by amping up the violence and gore to try and get banned in as many countries as possible. One of these knock-off’s is Umberto Lenzi’s Cannibal Ferox aka Make Them Die Slowly.

It stars one of the heavyweights of Italian exploitation and grindhouse in Giovanni Lombardo Radice. It pretty much borrows part of the plot of Cannibal Holocaust then adds in a liberal helping of drug-dealers, mobsters and emeralds. Lenzi’s flick dumps the “found footage” style Deodato used for his film and instead goes a more traditional style. This lessens the impact of Lenzi’s film and definitely adds to fuel from critics and detractors who saw nothing of value in this film.

I wouldn’t say that Cannibal Ferox has no redeeming value whatsoever for it is an interesting flick. Gorehounds and lovers of this particular brand of grindhouse cinema have a special place in their heart for this flick with special mention going to the several kill sequences that occur throughout the film. Lead actor Radice gets the most elaborate and gruesome fate in this flick and I would say in most in the subgenre. No wonder in an interview years later he would regret ever filming this flick.

Oh yeah, Lenzi one up’s Deodato’s on-screen killing of a live turtle by doing a pig instead.

Like I said earlier, lovely and wholesome fun for the whole family.

The National Board Of Review: I Give Up!

The rather enigmatic National Board of Review announced their selections for the best films of 2010 today.  The NBR is traditionally considered to be the first precursor to how the actual Oscar race will shape up.  Typically, those honored by the NBR are, at the very least, nominated by the Academy.  Strangely, nobody seems to be sure just who exactly makes up the membership of the NBR.  As far as I can tell, it appears to be a collection of film professors and cable tv executives.  It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that the NBR is actually some sort of Illuminati conspiracy or MK-Ultra experiment designed to keep American filmgoers from thinking for themselves.

Anyway, as I look over this year’s award winners, all I can say is that I give up.  If my reaction to Avatar indicated to me that I’m totally out-of-step with mainstream opinion, then the current Pavlovian acclaim of the Social Network proves it.  I will never be a part of the mainstream and it’s not by choice.  It’s just I am apparently thoroughly incapable of understanding how the mainstream brain works. 

So, that’s what the National Board of Review taught me today.  I am destined to always be alone, railing against the dying of the light.  Thank you for the insight, assholes.

Anyway, here’s this year’s award winners:

Best Picture: The Social Network (Don’t get me wrong, the Social Network is a good movie.  It’s just not that good.) 

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network (I am so sick of hearing that this is Jesse’s “breakthrough” role.  Jesse’s breakthrough was in Adventureland, long before the mainstream ever decided to embrace him.)

Best Actress: Lesley Manville, Another Year (Haven’t seen it yet)

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter (Another movie that I will see when it opens later this month.  Still, Bale should have been nominated for American Psycho back in the day.)

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (Yay!  This award gives me hope.)

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3 (yay!)

Best Documentary: Waiting For Superman (Yes, my favorite movie of the year —Exit Through The Gift Shop — was totally ignored.)

Best Ensemble Cast: The Town (Bleh.  So I guess that would include Jon Hamm, who gave such an amazingly bad performance in this film?)

Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone (Another yay but you know all the mainstream is going to offer her is a role in a Twilight rip-off and maybe a Maxim cover shoot.)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network (Fuck Aaron Sorkin and his elitist, sexist, technophobic script.)

Best Original Screenplay: Chris Sparling for Buried (which I didn’t see, mostly because I’m claustrophobic and the movie is called Buried.)

Ten Best Films Of The Year (in alphabetical order):

Another Year

The Fighter

Hereafter (which sucked!)

Inception (yay!)

The King’s Speech (I’m actually really looking forward to seeing this)

Shutter Island (kinda bleh but enjoyable)

The Town

Toy Story 3

True Grit (another one I can’t wait to see)

Winter’s Bone (yay!)

Yep, you read that right.  No awards for such presumed favorites as James Franco and 127 Hours, Black Swan, or The Kids Are All Right.  But you better believe they found room to honor a shallow, pandering film like Hereafter.

Finally, here are the Top Ten Independent Films of 2010, according to the toadsuckers at the National Board of Review:

Animal Kingdom (yay!)

Buried (Now I guess I have to see it)

Fish Tank (yay!)

The Ghost Writer (yay — kinda)

Greenberg (bleh)

Let Me In (another kinda yay)

Monsters (shrug)

Please Give (yay!)

Somewhere (going to see it when it opens down here, Sofia Coppola is my role model)

Youth in Revolt (shrug, it’s neither bleh nor yay)

You can read the full list of winners at The Wrap.

Anyway, in order to show just how exactly I feel when confronted with mainstream thought and opinion, here’s an old picture of me with a tampon stuck up my nose.