Double Dish of Bad Meat

Bruno Mattei may be dead but his movies munch on

DIRECTOR: Bruno Mattei

2 Knives

PLOT(s): Stupid white people go into the jungle and get eaten.


Bruno Mattei strikes again – twice – with his singular style. One of the great “bad” filmmakers, Mattei has spent decades shocking filmgoers not only with his gory excess but also with his cinematic excess. From derivative and overblown but kinetic and ultraviolent zombie fests like Hell of the Living Dead and Zombi 3 (he took over the helm from Lucio Fulci), to post-apocalyptic buffoonery such as Rats, Mattei has been slinging schlock with the best (worst?) of them for ages now. In 2004 he released a double splat of low-ball, high-cheese violence at which even I am tempted to sling the word “exploitation.” MONDO CANNIBAL is plainly a rip-off … er, remake … of Cannibal Holocaust. In broad strokes, all the high points of the latter are present in the former. Though Mattei lacks the panache of Rugger Deodato, infamous director behind Holocaust, his own shameless get-the-job-done work ethic is as fascinating in its own right as Ed Wood’s sincere hack-work (at least as envisioned by Tim Burton). Low end “so bad it’s good” movies are a fun favorite with me and MONDO certainly satisfies. Besides a crappy digital mien, tired but trotted-out tropes of natives noshing longpork, wretched acting worsened by dastardly dubbing, there are such egregious offenses as misaligned superimposition of images on TV screens in the film (instead of just playing the footage on the TV?), understandable only in the case of the big public TV that Mattei surely wouldn’t have been granted use of for this flick. MONDO CANNIBAL is a wow-inducing paen to workhorse crank-em-out movie artistry. IN THE LAND OF THE CANNIBALS fares about the same, not surprisingly. About the trip into a jungle to rescue an important dude’s daughter, LAND less blatantly does its ripping off, avoiding derivation from a specific film (at least nothing comes to mind). Nevertheless, a mission of dumb whiteys into the jungle to save a daft chick whitey only to run afoul of hungry tribesmen is not really a new idea in the world of spaghetti gutmunchers. It’s morbidly fascinating to watch the notorious Mattei slaving away at a genre way past its prime. Even the natives wouldn’t find it palatable. However, the very brutal “badness” of these films is what gives them entertainment value. Don’t watch them alone. Bring some friends and dip into your favorite intoxicant. Then, have a blast. It’s best if you’re an aficionado of the classic jungle-cannibal movie. This is a poor introduction to the genre for newbies. But it’s riotous fun for seasoned gutmuncher vets. Released by InterVision.

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