Plot: What’s it about?
Norman Hopper (John Saxon) served his country in the Vietnam conflict, but he has never been able to move on, for several reasons. He was able to return to American shores alive, but what he experienced in those jungles scarred him forever. In the harsh conditions of the battles, supplies would run out and the soldiers were left with no rations, but some chose to feed upon the perished warriors. This seems sick and depraved, but when faced with the alternative of death, it seemed like the best option at the time. Hopper was one of the soldiers involved in such acts, along with Charlie Bukowski (John Morghen) and Tom Thompson (Tony King), but he hasn’t seen nor heard from them in years. But then Charlie reappears in his life again, complete with a cannibalistic infection, which has driven him to the brink. After he attacked a woman, Charlie had to flee the law and want some help from Hopper, who is reluctant. The run soon begins however, as the trio are reunited and make their way through the city streets, spreading their infection and heading toward an explosive final clash with the authorities…
The Euroshock Collection just went cannibal, thanks to the arrival of Antonio Margheriti’s Cannibal Apocalypse. Although this isn’t the top film in the cannibal sweepstakes, it is often so bad that it turns to hilarity, which seems to work out well enough. It even has a real star (well, sort of) in John Saxon (Enter the Dragon), but he has spoken out against the film countless times, saying he is ashamed to be have been involved. But he had to know what was in store of him, given that this is a strange mixture of Cannibal Ferox and The Deerhunter. The premise is decent for a cannibal film, while the gruesome gore fills in well at times, although previous editions often had most of the goop trimmed out. This disc houses the uncut version however, which balances out the horror with the action elements, a much needed shift, to say the least. I also like how Cannibal Apocalypse is set within an urban environment, as opposed to the jungles of some exotic locales, as it makes it all seem a little fresher, I think. I recommend this to fans of cannibal cinema and horror on the whole, as it delivers on entertainment, even if it fails to surpass the genre classics. In addition, Cannibal Apocalypse stars genre staple John Morghen, which is reason enough by itself to check out the flick, if you ask me.
Video: How does it look?
Cannibal Apocalypse is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I’m not sure if Image staged a full restoration effort or just found some pristine source materials, but this looks about a million times better than expected. The print looks brand new, with no marks, nicks, or other defects, even grain is minimal here. The colors look bright and vivid throughout, while black levels are spot on and as sharp as a tack. It is hard to believe this is a cannibal flick from 1980, as it looks like it was shot last week thanks to this gorgeous treatment. I think most viewers will be stunned here, as I doubt anyone imagined we’d ever see this movie in such an excellent visual presentation. I think we all need to give some kudos to Image on this one, great work indeed.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is not as impressive as the video, but the included English mono option is no slouch and covers all the bases. As with almost all of the films of this kind, the synch is off and the lips rarely match, but that’s par for the course on cannibal flicks. The dialogue is clean and always easy to understand, while the sound effects are as good as can be expected. The superb musical score comes through well here also, with a richer than expected presence, though it is still mono, so keep that in mind.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Cannibal Apocalypse Redux is an extensive retrospective documentary, which is the best of the extras found on this disc. You’ll see new interviews with Margheriti, as well as turncoat John Saxon, who says almost all positive comments, which stands as a sharp contrast to his negative ones for the past two decades. The best moments come from an eerie, but literate John Morghen, who is full of insightful, well planned comments. Another featurette is titled Apocalypse in the Streets, which visits some of the film’s locations after twenty odd years. This is a lame piece in terms of information, but it affords some laughs (most at the host’s expense) and is worth a look, to be sure. This disc also includes a text essay on the film’s cut editions, a selection of poster artwork & still photos, some talent files, the alternate U.S. opening sequence, and the film’s European & Japanese theatrical trailers.