Cannibal Apocalypse [Apocalypse Domani] (1980) Review

cannibal apocalypso loverhorrorGreat ideas. Everyone has them, right? I once had this great idea for an online market-place where prices were set by the consumer and people were allowed to sell whatever crap they wanted. It was going to be brilliant.
Only two things stood in my way: I didn’t really know how to work a computer, and, you know, ebay. But this doesn’t mean necessarily mean that my idea was bad…

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Cannibal Apocalypse stars John Saxon (of Nightmare on Elm Street and Enter The Dragon fame) as Vietnam vet Norman Hopper, returned home from the war, struggling with the horror of all that he has seen – including the time saw two G.I.s eating some woman, which is bound to stick in your mind.
Anyway, back in the good old USofA, everyone has some therapy and Hopper goes home to be with his lovely wife and stare at some meat. From here it doesn’t take long before the cannibals are on the loose, biting and infecting others with their rabies-like disease.

The outcasts are hunted down and killed, frequently displaying their insides on the outside, just for us. That these voracious veterans don’t turn into mindless zombies is a good idea; that they turn other members of society into bloodthirsty bizarros, is also kind of interesting: the brutality of the Vietnam war shown at the film’s opening leads us easily to believe that this level of violence is not something to be discarded simply because the boys have come back home.
That the bloodlust spreads to different parts of society is a nice comment on the uncontainability of violence. These are all good ideas.

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Unfortunately though, everyone in the film but John Saxon  – who can really fly the hell out of a radio controlled plane – has had to be overdubbed. Oh, and the music is weird – funky keyboards? Really? And it might be worth mentioning that the action is occasional at best, the plot doesn’t quite make sense, and one of the G.I.’s is called Charles Bukowski! Yeah, like Charles Bukowski! What’s up with that?

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There are lots of good ideas in here, but no-one knows what to do with them. Obviously, that was the ‘computer’ part of my analogy. And then there’s ebay. Suffice it to say that twelve years before the release of Cannibal Apocalypse, George Romero made Night of the Living Dead, and while it’s a very different film it does cover a lot of the same ground, and it does so with so much more style that it’s a little bit embarrassing.

Cannibal Apocalypse is not a bad idea, and it’s certainly worth a watch if you fancy something a bit different from what has become the standard zombie flesh-eating fare, but it’s not going to set your world on fire.
So I’m sorry John Saxon – someone beat you to it.

Movie Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

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Trailer:

Cannibal Apocalypse

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About MacReady

When you’re stuck outdoors in the frozen Antarctic, for months on end with no food or water, after surviving a horrific life and death encounter with a parasitic extraterrestrial life form that kills and assimilates other organisms (including all your friends) and then imitates them with disturbing and grotesque results, you have a lot of time to think... More

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