Eaten Alive! The Rise and Fall of the Italian Cannibal Film

This documentary by film lecturer and critic Calum Waddell charts the history of one of the grisliest and most controversial offerings of the Italian horror boom, the cannibal film. Taking us through such notable genre offerings as The Man From Deep River, Last Cannibal World, Cannibal Ferox and the subgenre’s infamous masterwork Cannibal Holocaust, the film charts its course in very functional fashion simply jumping from film to film. What is lacking is some of the context as to why these films came into existence (some lip service is made to the pseudo-documentary “mondo” films that played a part but not much) and not much depth explored in the individual titles (there’s really not much here that fans of this little cinematic niche don’t already know) but as a handy compendium it works rather well, suiting Wadell’s usual work of making-of featurettes. Good for at least one viewing as an overview and to hear from the colourful cast of characters that played a part in this period of history (Robert Kerman, Umberto Lenzi and Giovanni Lombardo Radice are all delightful in their own ways) but it’s not worth much in the way of revisits. Perfunctory and adequate.