Mondo Cannibale (AKA Cannibals, Barbarian Goddess and White Cannibal Queen amongst others. 1980)
Dir: Jess Franco.
Cast: Al Cliver, Sabrina Siani, Lina Romay, Robert Foster, Shirley Knight, Pamela Stanford and Olivier Mathot.
Famous researcher of 'things' Dr. Jeremy Taylor (Euro-god Cliver, unfortunately for him being out-acted by his trademark beard), his scrummy wife Elisabeth (Stanford sans son) and his young, pug faced daughter Lana (that wee girl from Zombie Lake!) are traveling along a treacherous stretch of the Amazon River (played in this instance by the coast of Spain) said to be inhabited by a tribe of bloodthirsty cannibals (fantastically essayed by a squad of tubby, bequiffed Frenchmen in kiddies facepaint).
No sooner has the salty boat captain finished spinning a lurid tale about these savages when a group of them sneak aboard his vessel and start slaughtering the crew before turning their lustful gaze toward Taylor's missis.
After a valium-tastic slo-mo feeding frenzy in which Cliver gazes into the distance manfully as the brutish savages eat his wife we suddenly find ourselves on the banks of a tiny garden fish pond where Taylor's daughter is lying unconscious.
But still with a pug face obviously.
Scooping her into his arms like a rickety old dumper truck the toothless tribal chief (who looks uncannily like Max Wall) takes the young girl home and declares her a sacred white goddess before adopting her into the tribe.
Which is pretty lucky considering the alternative.
Taylor on the other hand is less fortunate seeing as he's quickly captured, has one of his arms chopped off and eaten in front of him before finally being trussed up like a sexily skinny (bearded) pig.
Before the tribe can get to work on the rest of him tho' he manages to escape into the undergrowth and is soon rescued by a couple of blokes in obscenely tight jeans driving a jeep.
Ending up in a New York hospital with amnesia (and no shirts that sit right), he is nursed back to health by the buxom, bouncy lipped Ana (Romay billed here as Candy Coster which going by the amount of shite she's appeared in under her own name shows how truly awful this film is) a foxy doc who has spent the last 10 years sitting at his bedside trimming his beard occasionally.
Feeling much better (but unfortunately unable to return all the pairs of gloves that well-wishers have sent him), Taylor heads off to the world famous Shelton Foundation, funders of the original expedition in the hope of securing backing for a second trip into the jungle to find his daughter.
Unluckily for our hero it turns out that the foundations head Barbara (Knight) and her camp British boyfriend Charles ( Mathot, bless you) are more interested in taking the piss out of Taylor, accusing him of hiding his arm behind his back (hmmm...they have a point) and wearing a stick on beard.
Taylor leaving the office with a loud 'fuck you' decides to go to the Amazon anyway and with Ana in tow, goes about securing the services of a guide, however seeing as they only have about 60 pence to their name this proves a wee bit difficult.
Life is cheap down south but not that cheap.
Just as Taylor is about to give up and go home he runs into Charles and Barbara, who've come to South America with a group of posh pals in the hope of finding the one armed doc, you see they want to apologize for all their nastiness and have decided to bankroll his trip, provided their group of friends get to join in the fun.
A grimly serious Taylor warns them that it'll be a dangerous journey into uncharted cannibal country, waving his stump around as proof but the drunken toffs just giggle and start packing their swimming trunks, wide brimmed hats and sunblock.
Heading out into the jungle (well, the local park) the party come across the folk (bits of them anyway) that rescued Taylor in the movies opening.
Now you or I may see this as a sign to turn back, but not Taylor and co. who continue further into the unknown, stopping only to adjust their lip gloss.
It's not too long tho' (thank Christ) before the members of the expedition are being picked off and butchered one by one in particularly gruesome ways (well in slow motion whilst members of the crew throw offal around) by the bloodthirsty savages till only Taylor Ana and some disposable young guy (whose name escapes me) are left.
Captured and bound they're taken before the tribes whitey-hating leader Jeff Yakaké (Foster) and his harsh faced yet surprisingly pale skinned wife (Siani, 'star' of Fulci's Conquest).
Could this be Taylor's missing daughter?
Whilst Ana is dragged off by the cannibals (sounds painful) Taylor has the idea of asking his daughter to untie him and his mate so that they can escape.
Her expression is one of either faint recollection or boredom but either way she sneaks out of her hut that night to free her dad who promptly slings her over his shoulder and legs it into the trees speedily pursued by his irate son in law and his pals.
Will Taylor, his pal and his daughter manage to escape from this tropical hell or will they be forced to partake in a post pub style fisticuffs match in a small stream?
Will Taylor shed even one solitary tear over Ana's death?
And will Siani ever change her slightly bemused expression?
hopefuls go thru' their paces.
Casting cult idol and not to mention dirt cheap Cliver (with whom Franco would go on to make the classic 1980 film The Devil Hunter with) and his own missis should have meant that Franco had more cash left to put towards some breath taking special effects and lush locations but unfortunately (due in part to Lesoeur only managing to raise a budget of £75.81) this wasn't to be.
The usually top drawer Cliver sleepwalks thru' the movie, his 'severed' arm obviously hidden down his shirt as he struggles to hide his embarrassment as he is poked and prodded by the most bizarre ethnic mix of cannibals ever committed to celluloid. Chubby, pasty faced Frenchmen, slick haired Latinos and even a couple of Japanese folk fill out the tribes numbers, forced to jump about in tiny leather thongs and blackface.
But not even that can prepare you for the sight of a wooden topped Sabrina Siani, her face smeared in blue gloss paint, her nipples (only just) covered by her blonde mane and her (albeit) peachy arse exposed for all the world to see uncomfortably jerking from scene to scene like an anorexic Bambi on amphetamines.
Yes it really is a performance to remember.
The films one saving grace tho' is the always reliable Lina Romay in a role that actually allows her to act for a change as opposed to standing around with her kit off showing her frighteningly furry 70s bush to the world.
Which is one reason to see it I guess.
Nothing like damning with faint praise is there?