Today we take a look back at the 1980 video nasty Anthropophagus aka The Grim Reaper. Directed by Joe D’Amato (Buio Omega) and co written by D’Amato with Luigi Montefiori (StageFright) under the nom de plume George Eastman this is one film fans of 80’s Italian horror and gore hounds need to have in their collection.
by Adam Holtzapfel
Starring Tisa Farrow (Fulci’s Zombie and Mia Farrow’s sister), along with Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi, Margaret Mazzantini, Mark Bodin, Bob Larson, as the tourists and Montefiori playing the role of Nikos Karamanlis/Anthropophagus. The film tells the tale of tourists stranded on an island, but what happened to the former residents and what unspeakable horrors lie ahead for the group?
While it has the feel of the late 70’s early 80’s Italian tourist stranded in a town with zombies feel, this is definitely not a zombie movie. At times it even feels like Narcisco Ibanez Serrador’s Who Can Kill A Child?
The film starts off with the group on a boat heading to the island. We learn that Carol (Zora Ulla Keslerova) warned Alan (Saverio Vallone) not to step on the island after doing a tarot reading. Maggie (Serena Grandi) injures her foot while getting off the boat and is forced to stay there with her unborn child.
As the story moves along we see a body, as the group rushes back to the boat to find Maggie and see the boat has set sail. Assuming the captain thought a storm was coming and moved the boat to safer waters, the group figures it will be back tomorrow and is stuck on the uninhabited island for the night.
Soon we meet Nikos Karamanlis as he begins picking the group off one by one, but not in the slasher style you assume from the look of the film. In one of the more shocking scenes we see him devour the fetus of Maggie’s unborn child (a skinned rabbit was used for this). The question is will anyone survive through the night?
What works for this is the back drop of Italy and Greece where Anthropophagus was filmed, also the gore holds up well in a day and age where we have more than enough. Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, the first half of the movie is a slow burn that sets up a strong finish. While this can feel dated at times it is definitely a classic that belongs on any gore hounds shelf.
(Images taken from Google)