I have already seen this classic formula in horror films, in which a group of young friends go on vacation to a far-away land, only to find their trip cut short by a series of fortuitous and gory events, followed by an imminent death. "Antropophagus" manages to stand out in its own way, by offering a genuinely frightening villain, extreme gruesome deaths and a perfect setting for the story. I have always thought that the locations of a horror film sometimes have a greater role than the central characters of the story. In this case, the scenario in which the action takes place in a European island, which is actually a beautiful place, but also a devastating scenario that creates a feeling of isolation and vulnerability. In "Antropophagus", a group of travelers go on a trip to Greece and are joined by a young woman named Julie, who asks them for a ride to an island because she wants to meet some friends. While the group explores the seemingly deserted island, they come across a rotten dead body, which obviously prompts them to rush back to the boat, only to find it adrift. Julie suggests taking shelter at her friends' house, and when they get there, they find the family's blind daughter in an utter state of panic. The teenage girl, named Henerietta, explains them that her family was killed some days ago by a lunatic. Later, the friends find out that most of the island residents were murdered by the same insane killer, a man named Nikos, who feasts on human flesh and is now out to get them. I have seen hundreds of horror films and while I can see that certain horror villains, such as Michael Myers, are frightening and creepy looking, that's basically it; I can acknowledge their creepiness, while not necessarily being afraid of them. With this film, I was genuinely afraid of the antropophagus (performed by the surprisingly good-looking Luigi Montefiori). The cannibalistic villain appears as a gruesome beast-like creature with hideous scars all over his face, shredded clothes, a sinister smile and deranged eyes that give the impression that he is some kind of ravenous wild animal that is out to catch his prey. The antropophagus is definitely one of the most intimidating villains I have seen and his image is haunting. "Antropophagus" features some very effective chase sequences full of suspense, in which the killer goes after his human prey with ferociousness in his eyes and a very disturbing smile. The gore is plentiful and intense, which made my stomach turn once or twice, while not necessarily making this film a torture show. I admit I am easily impressed by gore and I tend to dislike extreme brutality, even when it looks ridiculously fake. However, sometimes gore serves a purpose, when is not just there for the sake of seeing guts scattered all over the place. In some cases, like it happens with this film, the crudeness of the gore help to convey a feeling of vulnerability and even anxiety. The lead actress is Tisa Farrow (Mia's less known sister) who gave her last performance in this film, in which she accurately provided all the basics that the audience normally expect on a lead girl from a classic horror movie: she's beautiful, but also angelic and innocent. Her character is likable and nice, but also capable of becoming a warrior towards the end and facing that horrible man that is out to get her. And speaking of the devil, the antropophagus himself is played by Italian actor Luigi Montefiori (who goes by the name of George Eastman in this film). I have never seen Montefiori in anything else, except "Antropophagus", but I honestly have to say that this is one of the scariest horror villains I have seen in basically 20 years as a horror fan. He was amazing as the beast-like killer. To this day, "Antropophagus" remains as one of my favorite horror films, although in all honestly, I don't see it very often, because I actually find it scary and even depressing for moments (that's a good thing, since horror films are not supposed to cheer us up)
A group of friends and a hitchhiker become stranded on a tourist island where they are stalked by a disfigured cannibalistic killer who is prowling the island after killing its residents.
December 12, 2020