While Madame Danville (Silvia Solar) was having her nails done at this French beauty parlour, she allowed her young daughter Florence to go out and explore the town, something she would soon regret. The misfortune was that the little girl met a passing prostitute, Lina (Mariam Camacho), who she took a shine to, not knowing the woman was part of a small time criminal gang who had recently failed to get their latest enterprise off the ground. But a kidnapping? That would solve their problems, or so they believe, particularly as Florence is the offspring of a millionaire (Olivier Mathot), so it seems to them would have a lot of money at his disposal to give to them instead...
Cannibal Terror was one of the movies, deigned a so-called video nasty, to be banned in the United Kingdom during that moral panic, whipped up by tabloids as a useful method of selling their rags, and part of a subplot of those VHS horrors to deal with the consumption of human flesh. This was briefly popular in exploitation cinema around the late nineteen-seventies and early eighties, the most notorious being Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust, though that was most controversial not for the staged violence against people, but the decidedly non-staged violence against animals, as were many of their ilk, spiralling off from the mondo movie, fake documentary style of the sixties.
This little item did not bother with the animal cruelty, preferring audience cruelty to put them through this yawnfest that fitfully sprang to life in a burst of lunacy, before settling back into watching the characters traipse through the forest that stood in for the jungle. Once the moppet is kidnapped, she is flown out via stock footage to a supposedly isolated village (lots of cars about, mind you) where it would seem she was having a whale of a time, oblivious to the danger she was in. Seriously, if her unbridled joy at hanging around with kidnapper and cannibals could have translated to the viewers this would have been a lot easier experience, rather than the slog it turned out to be.
A production of the semi-infamous French outfit Eurociné, this was much of a muchness with their cheapo company's efforts, and that was not a recommendation unless you were a glutton for cinematic punishment. Quite apart from the person-munching, Cannibal Terror's idea of fun was to intercut a passionate (but clothed) love scene with images of a woman tied up and raped, which had you wondering exactly how you were supposed to react, not least thanks to a tone-deaf approach from the pseudonymous director (or directors, by some accounts) throughout. This was so slapdash you would be surprised to learn there was even a screenplay for it, it came across like an improv session that had somehow been released to an unsuspecting public, if in doubt, put more wandering around in it.
Then there was the matter of those cannibals. Whatever your opinion on its contemporaries, and they were a grotty lot, you couldn't argue the tribes looked inauthentic, yet here they appeared to be a bunch of random blokes recruited off the street. Some have sideburns. And moustaches. You can see their underpants underneath their loincloths in some cases. It would be funny if it was not so pathetic, though their insistence on bobbing up and down in some form of ritual dance became undeniably absurd when the same clip of them was repeated three or four times. As for the cannibalism, what they were famous for, after all, the production simply plonked a pig's carcass on a table and got them to run their fingers through its guts, pretending to consume some, but not really - surprisingly, they were professional enough not to allow the pig's face or trotters into shot, because that would have spoiled the carefully crafted illusion, of course. If nothing else, this was proof inclusion on the D.P.P. list was no guarantee of entertainment. Jaunty score by Jean-Jacques Lemêtre.