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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Emanuelle And The Last Cannibals (1977)

aka Trap Them And Kill Them

Emmanuelle, infamous "bored housewife" and international whore of 70's erotic cinema.  By 1977 she and her friendly vagina had done Bangkok, discovered the joys of a woman, then told us goodbye in a trio of successful films.  Italian auteur Joe D'Amato would pluck Indo-actress Laura Gemser from a small role in the second entry to create his own series of 'E-films' for Italy, with her in the lead, where she was dubbed 'Black Emanuelle'.  Under any guise these pictures are just thinly plotted travelogues heavily padded with soft-core sex; however, leave it to an opportunist of D'Amato's degree to take the traveling tramp to cannibal country and exploit two popular trends simultaneously.

The opening titles dubiously inform us that "this is a true story as reported by Jennifer O'Sullivan".  This go-round Emanuelle (Gemser) is a journalist looking for the next big scoop.  While working undercover at a hospital, she witnesses a female patient (supposedly raised by savages) make lunch of a nurse's breast.  After the disturbed dame is straitjacketed and restrained, Emanuelle sneaks into her room to attempt some questioning.  This amounts to the roving reporter trying to calm the woman by lifting her scrubs and petting her pubes before exclaiming, "you're confused, or maybe you don't understand."  Noticing she bares a strange tribal tattoo just above the short-and-curlies, Emanuelle snaps a picture of it with a concealed camera and takes leave.  Presenting the photo to her editor, she convinces him to fund an expedition to the Amazon to investigate if modern-day cannibalism still exists.

Our globe-trotting trollop then asks an anthropological expert to guide the journey.  He readily agrees, but not before showing her some graphic tribal footage of penis severing and eyeball consumption.  Emanuelle then has "goodbye sex" with her boyfriend underneath the Manhattan Bridge, before fantasizing about bedding the historian on their way to the airport.  For those of you who may be wondering, it will still be another 30 minutes before we see any actual cannibalism occur.

Instead, upon arrival in Amazonia, we're treated to more cursory coitus.  Emanuelle and the professor frolic while their host's nubile daughter, Isabelle, secretly spies and fondles herself;  Emanuelle and Isabelle tenderly wash each other's genitalia as a smoking monkey looks on; and another woman masturbates watching a black man clean his rifle before taking him into the/her bush.  The inclusion of another couple into the act affords further frivolous foreplay and needless narrative before some 'ooga-booga' music finally cues the first horribly-lit cannibal attack.  Insert some mild gut-munching and stamping about by unconvincing natives here.  And so with that long awaited and illustrious introduction, the inevitable fight for survival begins.

1 chewed breast. 1 brief but effective 'found-footage' reel.  1 severed nipple. 1 disemboweling via vagina.
1 human dissection minus any viscera. 3 flesh-feasting sequences.  Multiple heads on stakes. Multiple day/night continuity issues. Gratuitous jungle clichés. Gratuitous fertility rite. Gratuitous impotent husband.  Gratuitous diamond retrieval sub-plot.  Gratuitous disco and use of the song "Make Love On The Wing".  And enough simulated petting, humping and masturbation to persuade any self-respecting perv to bring their raincoat, just in case.

Where else are you going to find such a tempting tally, I ask you?  Only in the garish gutters of 'Euro-Sleaze'.  Emanuelle And The Last Cannibals delivers up exactly what the title implies - the goodly promise of sex and violence.  D'Amato's effort is obviously not going to win any awards, but go into it with low expectations and it might surprise.  The director would later take his inept horrors hardcore, tackling zombies in Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead and offering a sex-crazed monster with radioactive sperm in Porno Holocaust.

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